Carl Maria von Weber and the Search for a German Opera by Stephen C. Meyer

By Stephen C. Meyer

Stephen C. Meyer information the difficult relationships among the operas Der Freischütz and Euryanthe, and modern discourse on either the ''Germany of the imagination'' and the hot country itself. In so doing, he offers excerpts from a variety of philosophical, political, and musical writings, many of that are little recognized and differently unavailable in English. person chapters hint the multidimensional inspiration of German and ''foreign'' opera via the nineteenth century. Meyer's learn of Der Freischütz locations the paintings in the context of rising German nationalism, and a bankruptcy on Euryanthe addresses the opera's stylistic and topical shifts in gentle of fixing cultural and aesthetic situations. for this reason, Meyer argues that the quest for a brand new German opera used to be no longer in basic terms a classy flow, yet a political and social critique as well.

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61 Herr Seconda, he continues, “now has not only the Court Theater but also free use of the back drops, props, and royal wardrobe, so you can imagine, dear doctor, that our performances are not lacking in outward splendor. ”62 Operatic performances came to a temporary halt after the Battle of Leipzig, when the allies reoccupied Dresden and began to reform the Saxon court. Under the Russian governor Prince Repnin-Volkonsky, the various theatrical and musical groups of the city were consolidated into a single Staatskapelle.

He brought bourgeois opera into the center of the city at the same time as the Mittelstände were asserting themselves as the center of a new community. Politics and aesthetics commingled, and the opera became a many-faceted stage upon which the social transformation from a courtly, aristocratic culture to an aristocratic, bourgeois culture was played out. Of course, the traditions of the eighteenth century did not suddenly disappear. Weber’s German opera occupied a strangely transitional situation: the voice of the Bildungsbürgertum, still dependent on the court society centered around a king, struggling to present a new type of national opera without being able to clearly articulate what that opera should be.

66 Weber’s subsequent importance for the development of German opera makes it dif¤cult not to overestimate the signi¤cance of this event. It is good to remember that German vernacular opera had been performed in Dresden since the 1770s, and that Weber’s company, like many other German opera companies of the period, was very dependent on foreign works. Vitzthum’s invitation to Weber was less of an ideological statement than an effort to shore up the shaky economic foundations of the Hoftheater. It is important to remember that the very term “German opera company” is more of a convenient abbreviation than an accurate description of the men and women that Weber led in Dresden.

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