Franz Liszt may be best known for his solo piano work, such as the famous three-part piece 'Liebestraum,' but the accomplished Hungarian composer also worked on numerous operas.

One such abandoned composition was discovered over 10 years ago by David Trippett, a senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge. 

The 111-page manuscript remained forgotten for almost 170 years in a German archive; written mainly in shorthand and with only one complete act, Trippett has spent the last two years working on Liszt’s libretto.

A 10-minute preview from the opera - based on Lord Byron’s Assyrian tragedy Sardanapalus - will debut at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in June, performed by soprano Anush Hovhannisyan.

“It is music born of great ambition, and it sounds like that,” Trippett told the New York Times. “Peeling back the layers when I was deciphering the manuscript was slow work, but I was always sustained by being able to hear the sounds in my head and play through the emerging score at the piano.”

Next year, a critical edition of the first act will be published by Editio Musica Budapest. 

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