Sakuntala – Overture for Orchestra, Op. 13 (1865)
A concert overture by Hungarian composer Karl Goldmark (1830-1915), based on the story of Shakuntala from the Indian epic Mahabharata. In this episode of the tale, Shakuntala is the daughter of Vishwamitra and the apsara Menaka, but she is abandoned and reared by the wise sage Kanva, who lives in a secluded hermitage. She grows up to be a lovely, though naive young woman. One day, while Kanva is away on a pilgrimage with the sages of the hermitage, Dushyanta, king of Hastinapura, happens upon the hermitage while out hunting, and he falls in love with Shakuntala. He gives her a signet ring and asks her to come to see him at his court. When the irritable sage Durvasa returns with Kanva from the pilgrimage and discovers what had passed, he curses Shakuntala and casts a spell that causes Dushyanta to forget about her existence. The only way for Shakuntala to reverse the curse is to go directly to the King and show him the signet ring. On her way to the palace, Shakuntala loses the ring while crossing a river. When she arrives at the King’s court, he has no recollection of her and orders her to leave. Alone and disconsolate, Shakuntala returns to the hermitage. Meanwhile, the ring had been swallowed by a fish, and by coincidence, a fisherman caught the fish and brought the ring to the King. He realizes his mistake, but it is too late – he must go to war with the Titans. Many years later, after returning from the war, Dushyanta passes through the same forest; he recognizes Shakuntala playing with their son.
Conductor: András Korodi
Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra