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The Alma Fetish - a most Wagnerian opera?

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 18 September 2013 | 9:18:00 am

Kokoschka's "infamous" "Alma Doll
‘It appealed to something vaguely perverse in me, the idea of the living doll, like Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann.” Raymond Deane

“I particularly like the idea that Wide Open Opera’s first project was Tristan und Isolde, and the second one is a kind of parody of Tristan und Isolde.” Fergus Sheil'

"If you see Oskar again, I´ll shoot you dead!" Letter from Kokoschka's mother to Alma Mahler

Last year Fergus Sheil's Wide Open Opera presented Ireland's first performance of Tristan und Isolde in many years. Last night, they performed a concert version of Irish composer Raymond Deane's The Alma Fetish . A bizarre true story of the love affair between Wagner obsessed artist Oskar Kokoschka and equally Wagner obsessed Alma Mahler - the widow of Gustav Mahler.

So obsessed was Kokoschka with Alma that when she left him, he famously had made a life size, anatomically "correct" "doll" in her likeness - or so was the original plan - with whom he lived "intimately" until eventually destroying it.

If you wish to hear Kokoschka talking about Tristan then click this link. And below is a sample of Deane's new work