Music: Columbus in Berlin

The musical news in Berlin last week was a ballet-opera, Columbus. Written by a 50-year-old German composer named Werner Egk, it deals with Columbus' journeys to America and has some mildly metaphysical ideas built into the libretto. But Berlin was less interested in the story than in the style. Composer Egk (rhymes with peck) has his principal singers stand inconspicuously beside the orchestra while ballet dancers enact the story. The chorus is posted behind gauze curtains.

The story picks up Columbus at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella, follows him to America and on his triumphant return to Spain. But another voyage...

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