Interview mit Joshua Sobol
What is a Polydrama?
Our experience with the audience
Genesis of the play
Alma - a monster of the 20th century
No creative energy without
sexual energy

Mother figure or femme fatale?
Alma's relation to Judaism
Love at first sight: Alma's men
Alma's sacrifice for Mahler
An epitomy of the 20th century
The curse of Alma's Autobiography
The encounter between
Mahler and Freud


Alma's sacrifice for Mahler

Paulus Manker
Alma was called the most beautiful girl in the city of Vienna, very famous at that time around 1900, at the age of nineteen or twenty. When she went out, she was a star. She was coming out of a famous family, she was always surrounded by all the celebrities of society and the fine arts, and so on. And Mahler was famous, too, but he was shy. And one of the few times he left his home or the opera he went to the Zuckerkandl´s, and there it happened.


With Mahler the most surprising is that he was athletic, he was not a fat, ugly guy, but he was not very convenient in his appearance. But that girl of twenty years fell in love, or decided to fall in love ? I don´t know, if she really fell in love - she decided to fall in love against all odds, against every advise of her friends, and of her mother. Everybody said:"Don´t do it!" - and she probably might have regret it later. But she decided to go together with this lugubrious strange man, that weird guy of forty, so the double of her life at that time, and to give up everything, not only composing but her social life, her ambitions, her friends, in fact everything she appreciated, and she really had a hard time then.


Joshua Sobol
She had a hard time with Mahler, that´s right. We know that she was confined to her appartement, she had to deal with the babies, she was not buying or getting new dresses - she later complained about all this, while Mahler was buying for himself new suits for the premieres of his symphonies. And when he had to conduct in other towns, she was there, stuck at home. She had a very, a very hard time. I think after six or seven months after the marriage she already realized that she had fallen into a trap. And started to develop her depressions, which repeated themselves, bad moods, etc. But I think that she decided to marry him. It was not a coup d´etetes, it was a very deliberate decision. And the prove is, that when Mahler has put to her his very strict conditions for the marriage, and made the demand that she give up her music, she had a whole night to consider it. We know that her mother tried to convince her by all means to give up the idea of marrying Mahler. And against her influential mother, and against everything that young girl - twenty one - makes her very bold decision, saying: "I am going to sacrifice my career, and marry this man. This is more important. I am going to sacrifice myself for him".
I think that Alma had a very clear scale of values. And probably greatness - human greatness, spiritual greatness - weighed more than anything for her. It excited her. And it made her sacrifice all other profits or all other values for the sake of spiritual greatness.