Thanks to the wonderful folks at the House of Opera (http://www.operapassion.com/) I have now gotten to hear all of George Antheil’s remarkable 1930 opera Transatlantic, and I must say that although I had studied and played through the piano-vocal score in my college years, I wasn’t aware of what a true masterpiece this work was until I heard it. Written during the high-water-mark of the zeitoper period in Germany, Antheil’s opera has the satire, experimental scenery and elements of blues, jazz, tango and foxtrot that we would associate with the genre. But it’s all better, as the score is clearly written by someone who, as an American, was intimately familiar with the style of music he was including. Of further interest is the way in which Transatlantic seems to have been the source material from which nearly all of Antheil’s later “neo-romantic” music of the 1940’s was derived. Also, motives from the early Sonate Sauvage and the infamous Ballet Mecanique are also quoted or reworked in the opera, all of which are starting to lead me to the opinion that Transatlantic might not be merely Antheil’s most successful opera, but perhaps his masterpiece. Certainly the opera cries out for further performances and an official commercial recording. Until then, you can at least hear this amazing work by visiting the House of Opera’s website and purchasing the live performance recording there. 

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