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General information

Putzi was born as a lyrical reflection on the ambiguous relationships between good and evil in the life of every individual and, in particular, on the difficult ethical commitments that human beings make to survive in our complex everyday world. The result is a visit to the ever-current myth of Faust, this time in a humorous key, casting an understanding, complacent and somewhat ironic look at the somewhat naive and schematic images that we often have of ethical values.

"Eduardo Alonso-Crespo" Putzi
"Eduardo Alonso-Crespo" Putzi

The work was born in 1986 on an idea by Julio Lazarte and from a commission to the composer by the Center for Interdisciplinary Semiotic Studies on the occasion of the centenary of the death of Franz Lizst (whose child nickname was Putzi, boy, kid or lad in Hungarian) for the First City of Buenos Aires Summer Festival held between January and March 1987.

The opera was revised and completed in 2004, then acquiring its final version.

The theme of the opera is based on real and imaginary anecdotes from the life of Franz Liszt, turning them into a humorous version of the Faust myth. As it is known, Franz Liszt had such fragile health as a child that in his early years his parents raised him with a small coffin next to his bed, expecting the worst outcome at any moment. The paradox of the case (and the evident triumph of life) is the fact that Liszt lived one of the longest possible existences by the standards of the time.


The characters in the opera are Franz Liszt (whose childhood nickname was Putzi), Niccolò Paganini (who turns out to be the Devil), Life (a skinny, tall and terribly naive soprano), and Death (a plump, short, and ridiculously evil soprano).

"Eduardo Alonso-Crespo" Putzi
"Eduardo Alonso-Crespo" Putzi

The music tries to be light and sophisticated at the same time, resorting to a subtle play of musical references for the latter. In its course the work weaves an elaborate network of associations in which, of course, the musical visits to Liszt and Paganini, as well as visits to Stravinsky's L'Histoire and to the operatic music of Mozart and Rossini, are not absent. The opera therefore admits more than one level of listening, from a simple and entertaining fable between Life and Death to a complex mirror game with the musical and operatic past.

A short suite for solo orchestra, based mainly on second scene music and entitled Mephisto, is drawn from the opera. It was premiered in January 1997 by the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra, in Lisbon, Portugal, conducted by the composer, with subsequent performances by the Salta Symphony Orchestra, the Tucumán Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Nacional de Música Argentina and the Orquesta Estable de Tucumán in Argentina, and The Point Chamber Orchestra in Italy.


There is a commercial recording of Mephisto by the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra (Overtures and Dances from operas by Alonso-Crespo ), conducted by the composer for Ocean Records (OR101).

"Eduardo Alonso-Crespo" Putzi
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