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Going AWOL Pays Off for a Slacker Soldier in Schubert One-Act Opera

An AWOL soldier finds love and forgiveness in Schubert's The Four Year Post on The Lyric Stage this Sunday (9/24) at 8 pm.

This week we feature a Franz Schubert one act, Der vierjhai Posten, The Four Year Post. Later in the program Joyce DeDonato will sing arias by Rossini originally written for Rossini's wife Isabella Colbran.

Schubert wanted success with opera, for money and recognition. But success with opera eluded him, and often the operas did not make it on stage until far past his lifetime. The Four Year Post was only first performed in 1896, 68 years after his death.

It is a singspiel which Schubert wrote in 1815 to a libretto by Theodor Korner originally set to music by another composer.

The plot concerns Duval, who has deserted the army to remain with his wife Käthchen; when troops arrive to arrest him, he persuades the General – with the help of the villagers – that he has spent four years at his sentry post waiting for relief that never came, and he is released.

Helen Donath, Peter Schreir and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau head the cast.

Schubert's contemporary Giachinno Rossini had all of the success with opera that Schubert could only dream of. Rossini fell in love with the Spanish soprano Isabella Colbran, a leading singer of her day, and there followed between 1815 and 1822 most of Rossini's major operas, all with roles for Colbran. Joyce Di Donato will sing two arias from this period.

Mike Harrah is host of The Lyric Stage, which airs Sundays at 8 pm.