Der Freischutz (Opera Journeys Mini Guides) by Burton D. Fisher

By Burton D. Fisher

Weber's DER FREISCHUTZ, with important Characters, tale Synopsis, tale Narrative with track Examples, and a entire and insightful research and observation.

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Extra info for Der Freischutz (Opera Journeys Mini Guides)

Example text

Weber had doubts about the effectiveness of opening the opera with the Hermit scene, but librettist Kind insisted on its retention, declaring that without it the work would seem like a decapitated statue. However, Weber consulted his fiancée, Caroline Brandt, an opera singer whose sense of drama and the stage whom Weber respected immensely. She was emphatic in her opinion: “Out with these two scenes! ” Thus fortified, Weber approached Kind again; he pointed out to him the novelty of the Hermit scene, and the fact that the opera would begin by giving too much importance to the minor character of the Hermit; and, he had doubts whether many German theaters had access to so rich a bass voice as he required for the Hermit’s role.

He was buried in London, but 18 years later his body was transferred to Dresden; for this second burial, Wagner wrote special music and delivered the eulogy. The road from the German Romanticism of Weber leads directly to Wagner, as Wagner himself conceded. Before Wagner, more than any composer, Weber made significant use of leitmotifs, and gave greater symphonic importance to the orchestra, and captured the very essence of the German soul in his opera subjects. Weber’s Der Freischütz — as well as Euryanthe — are singspiels that represent a significant bridge between Gluck’s earlier reforms and the more mature innovations of Wagner.

The action of the story takes place during the period following the Thirty Years’ War. Weber was determined to apply a more profound interpretation to the original folk tale. He avoided conflicts with the censorship authorities by recreating elements of the tale, and provided much of the characterization in accordance with his own impulses. Originally, the opera libretto was in four acts, the first act divided into two scenes. The first scene was to take place at the Hermit’s house in a forest; the second before the tavern.

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