Shostakovich’s The Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District has become a modern classic but only after it was the cause, or at least purported cause, of his disgrace under Stalin in which the work was criticised both for the subject matter and the “bourgeios formalism” of the music. A revised version of the work was made into a film under the title Katerina Izmailova in 1966 as part of Shostakovich’s formal rehabilitation in the Soviet Union.
Both Viktor Ullmann and Alexander Zemlinsky were among the group of composers persecuted by the Nazi regime. Ullman would die in Auschwitz, Zemlinsky in exile and obscurity. This 2008 recording from Los Angeles Opera’s “Recovered Voices” series brings together two one act operas; Ullman’s Der zerbrochene Krug and Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg. in productions directed by Darko Tresnjak and conducted by James Conlon.