View of a performance in Nuremberg, around 1822
|Shape:||Romantic opera in three acts|
|Music:||Carl Maria von Weber|
|Libretto :||Friedrich child|
|Premiere:||June 18, 1821|
|Place of premiere:||Schauspielhaus Berlin|
|Playing time:||approx. 2 ½ hours|
|Place and time of the action:||Bohemia , shortly after the end of the Thirty Years War|
Place in front of a forest tavern
Bauer Kilian is from the countrymen as marksman celebrated (Viktoria, the master should live) . At the same time they mock the hunter's boy Max, otherwise the best shooter far and wide. But he hasn't met anything for weeks. (Another hunter's boy, Kaspar, says thank you to the devil Samiel for this.)
Max wants to marry his bride Agathe, the daughter of the hereditary forester Kuno. To do this, he has to meet the prince and his hunting party tomorrow at the test shot (Kuno to Max: "I am like a father to you, but if you miss the test shot tomorrow, I have to deny you my daughter!") Kuno tells the country folk and hunters the story of the test shot: His ancestor was a bodyguard in a princely hunting party who drove dogs to a deer on which a poacher was forged. This is how the forest violators were punished in olden times. The prince took pity at the sight and promised a hereditary forester who kills the stag without harming the poacher. The bodyguard put on, hit the stag and the forged was unharmed. However, evil tongues claimed that the bodyguard had loaded a free ball . Of seven free balls, six would always hit, but the seventh belonged “to the evil one; he can lead you wherever he likes. "
Humiliating failure and the loss of his bride before his eyes, Max imagines his test (O, this sun) . After the country people went to the forest tavern to dance (waltz) , he desperately remembers happy days (through the woods, through the meadows) . Kaspar invites him to drink (here in the terrestrial valley of tears) . He, Kuno's first hunter's boy, had previously courted Kuno's daughter until she decided in favor of Max (Kaspar to Max while drinking: The maid Agathe should live! She rejected me for your sake ). With Agathe's marriage, Max would also become the heir of Kuno's forestry. For this setback behind the second hunter boy, Kaspar seeks revenge on all three. He lends Max his rifle and urges him to use it to shoot an eagle just as the clock strikes seven. Although the eagle flies well beyond the range of the rifle, it hits Max, whereupon Kaspar explains to him that he shot with a free ball. It was his last, now new ones have to be poured. Max is convinced that free balls could help him out of his situation. He agrees to come to the Wolfsschlucht for watering at midnight and to be silent about everyone so as not to endanger both of them. When Kaspar is alone, he triumphantly boasts of his cunning and vengeance (keep quiet so that no one warns you!) .
1st scene. Entrance hall in the forester's house
In the house of the hereditary forester Kuno, Agathes cousin Ännchen is busy hanging up the picture of the ancestor again (rogue! Hold on!) . Just as the clock struck seven it had fallen from the wall and hurt Agathe. In doing so, Ännchen succeeds in dispelling Agathes dark premonitions and spreading happiness (a slim lad comes out) . But Agathe's brief cheerfulness gives way to concern for Max (How did slumber approach me / Quiet, quiet, pious manner) . When Max finally arrives, he doesn't bring the hoped-for victory bouquet, but a bush of eagle feathers on his hat. He has to get out of the house one more time, says Max, in order to get a big sixteen-man from the Wolfsschlucht, (How? What? Horror!) .
2nd scene. Terrible forest ravine
In the ghostly Wolfsschlucht Kaspar prepares the pouring of the free balls (voices of invisible spirits, the milk of the moon fell on the herb ). At midnight he calls Samiel (Samiel! Samiel! Appear!) And asks him to spare him another three years. In return, he offers Max, Agathe and Kuno as victims. Samiel is to curse the seventh ball, so that it hits Agathe (the seventh be yours! From its reed it steers towards his bride. This will give him despair, him and his father) . Samiel can only gain power through Max if he pours the free balls with Kaspar. Kaspar continues to negotiate (is he enough for you?) And Samiel agrees ambiguously (Let it be. - At the gates of hell! Tomorrow he or you!) . Samiel disappears. Now the disturbed Max appears, who was tormented by wild fantasies on the way (well served!) . When the ball is poured, wild animals and ghosts appear, thunderstorms rage, lightning flashes and the storm howls. When Kaspar pours the last ball, Samiel appears and reaches for Max. The tower clock strikes one - and the spook is over. Exhausted, Max sinks to the floor.
1st scene. Forest
Kaspar and Max divided the seven free balls: Kaspar three, Max four. Max used three of his bullets on a princely hunt. Kaspar shoots his bullets at magpies and the sixth bullet at a fox (there is a little fox running; the sixth in the fur - good for the beautiful bride!) . Now the last one, the devil's ball, is in Max's rifle.
2nd scene. Agathe's room
Dressed as a bride, Agathe prays in her room (and whether the cloud covers her) . In the dream she was shot as a white pigeon by Max, then turned back and the pigeon became the big black bird of prey. To calm her down, her Ännchen tells a funny ghost story (my blessed cousin once dreamed) . The bridesmaids appear and sing their wedding song (We wind the maiden wreath for you) . Startled, they break off: In the box that Ännchen had brought, there is a silver death crown instead of the green bridal wreath. The girls and men are at a loss, but at Agathe's suggestion they simply weave a new wreath from the consecrated white roses that Agathe had received from the hermit .
3rd scene. Romantically beautiful area
Prince Ottokar and his entourage appeared for the test shot of the candidate for the hereditary forestry. The hunters sing about the joys of the hunt (hunter's choir What on earth is like hunting fun), Kaspar is hiding in a tree. Ottokar gives Max the task of shooting a white pigeon from the tree. Max hops, takes aim and pulls the trigger. Agathe, who has just arrived with the bridesmaids, falls to the ground as if hit (look, oh look, he met his own bride) . But the appearance of the hermit at Agathe diverted the seventh free ball: It was not Agathe but Kaspar who was fatally hit. As he dies, he curses the sky. The prince demands an explanation from Max, who confesses to having fired free balls. Prince Ottokar angrily forbids marriage and banishes Max from the country. Even when Max, Kuno and Agathe beg for leniency, the prince remains tough. Finally the hermit appears and stands up for Max ( who puts such a severe spell on him! A misstep, is he worth such a penance? ): Only love for Agathe and fear of losing her misled Max. The happiness of two people should not be made dependent on a test shot. After a year of probation, Max should marry Agathe. To the cheers of everyone, Ottokar agrees with this judgment. The final choir praises God's gentleness towards those who are pure in heart.
The orchestral line-up for the opera includes the following instruments:
- Woodwinds : two piccolo flutes , two flutes , two oboes , two clarinets , two bassoons
- Brass : four horns , two trumpets , three trombones
- Incidental music : clarinet, two horns, trumpet, strings ( violin , cello )
The plot of Freischütz largely follows August Apel's story Der Freischütz. A folk tale that is the first story in the ghost book . It appeared in 1810 and with the same reprint, except for the year and a comma after the place of publication, 1811.
Magic in ball casting already appears in earlier stories, for example in Otto von Graben zum Stein . His ghost story contains neither a bride and her parents nor a test shot in front of a prince and not even the word free ball . Today's pleasurable paintings even name the city, Taus, as if it were a documented incident.
Apel's story takes place in Lindenhayn near Leipzig and ends tragically: Max (in the story Wilhelm) kills his bride during a test shot and goes mad.
Friedrich Kind, who worked closely with Weber, moved the story to Bohemia, shortly after the end of the Thirty Years' War, at a time when bullets were still being cast for muzzle-loaders. In the end, the hermit, a person newly introduced to the story, protects Agathe from the devil's ball and Max from the prince's wrath and thus leads the story to a happy ending.
Originally, Kind and Weber had the hermit appear at the beginning, but on the advice of Weber's fiancé Caroline Brandt , everything was canceled before the shooting festival; Weber to Caroline: You first got the bold idea of throwing away the whole first act, and also the hermit - away! path! you always screamed. Now he's not completely gone! But he only appears when Agathe sinks into his arms, apparently hit by the shot, and the whole thing reconciles and heals.
The tragedy Der Freischütz by Franz Xaver von Caspar , composed in Munich in 1812 and modified in 1813, is also based on Apel's story. It is a play with music (overture, choirs, ballet and inter-act music) by Carl Neuner , but not an opera with arias. It was never performed and did not appear in print until 1825. How should Kind and Weber know about it in 1817? It is true that there is a hermit among the children and Caspar. But that does not make Kind's statement "after the folk tale" (Caspar: "after a folk tale" ) the concealment of an essential source. Hermits keep appearing in ghost stories and are in the public domain. This has not prevented dishonorable counter-claims.
In the description of his father's life, Max Maria von Weber reports that the ghost book fell into the hands of Carl Maria and his friend Alexander von Dusch in the summer of 1810 at Neuburg Abbey . They immediately became enthusiastic about the Freischütz saga and started plans for a libretto. Friedrich Wilhelm Jähns describes the memories of Dusch in a similar way .
But there is no confirmation of this anywhere in Weber's diaries and letters. Weber stayed at Stift Neuburg from August 14th to 15th, 1810 after giving a concert in Heidelberg. In a letter he reports in detail that a family from Mannheim had come and left for the concert on August 13th in Heidelberg and that on the return trip to Darmstadt on August 15th he missed two cars in Heidelberg. But he never mentions Neuburg Abbey, Dusch or the ghost book . In 1813 Weber's advertisement in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung shows that he did not have a libretto, but was looking for one. At that time he was faced with the task of setting up the Deutsche Oper theater in Prague.
On January 13, 1817, Weber arrived in Dresden, where he was to establish the Deutsche Oper as court conductor. Eight days later he is with Kind for the first time for poet tea. On February 19, Weber wrote to his fiancée
“Tonight in the theater I spoke to Friedrich Kind. I got him so excited yesterday that he started an opera for me today. I'm going to see him tomorrow to sort out the plan. The subject is excellent, gruesome and interesting, Freyschütze. I don't know if you know the old folk tale. "
On February 21st he noted a conference with a child about the trial shot , on the 23rd he received the first act, on the 26th read the second act, on March 3rd he bought child the rights to the book Die Jägersbraut for the next 5 years and writes Caroline that child has already finished the whole opera.
Four months later, in a letter, Kind wrote that he was working on an opera based on the popular tale Der Freischütz . At first he did not want to work on an existing story, but Weber put a fuse on the powder chamber for him during the conversation . When he, child, thought back and forth afterwards, there was an explosion and the opera was finished in 8 days .
Decades later, Kind remembers that Apels Freischütz was the last story in a pile that he had put together for Weber in 1817 and that they sifted through in search of material for a joint opera. But the all too tragic ending made Apel's story unsuitable in their judgment. That night, child, the solution for a happy ending occurred to him. Modified like this, with a treacherous vengeful Kaspar and a cheerful young Ännchen instead of a serious mother Agathes, the Freischütz delighted both of them.
After the lively first work in 1817, he wrote the peasant waltz and in April 1818 the aria Durch die Wälder, durch die Auen . Work on the opera dragged on because of Weber's other obligations. In 1819 Carl Graf von Brühl , the general manager of the royal theaters in Berlin, urged the opera to be completed for the opening of the newly built theater in Berlin, and in September discussed the progress of the work with Weber at his country residence at Schloss Seifersdorf near Dresden.
Finally, on May 13, 1820, Weber reported in his diary
“The hunter's bride overture is complete, and with it the whole opera.
Praise be to God and glory to him alone. "
A few days later, at the request of Count von Brühl, the opera was renamed Der Freischütz . Shortly before the premiere, Ännchen's aria Einst däumte my blessed base is inserted.
World premiere and reception
The Freischütz premiered on June 18, 1821 in the Königliches Schauspielhaus Berlin under the directorship of Brühl with unprecedented success. The overture and the song of the bridesmaids had to be repeated da capo, 14 of the 17 pieces of music were loudly applauded.
“Kinds and Weber's Freischütz is also a genuinely German opera. Yes, in a certain sense one can say that in itself it presented the first purely German national opera in every respect. The older phenomena in the field of German opera (of course only the important ones are mentioned here) had almost all something strange, non-German about them, be it in music or in books. "
Heinrich Heine describes in his second letter from Berlin in March 1822 that one can not escape the bridal song Wir winden der Jungfernkranz , which is trilled everywhere and even barked by dogs. In parts the letter reads like a literary forerunner of the grotesques by Mark Twain , Jerome Jerome or Ephraim Kishon .
“Haven't you heard from Maria von Weber's 'Freischütz'? No? Unhappy man! But haven't you at least heard the 'Song of the Bridesmaids' or the 'Maiden's Wreath' from this opera? No? Lucky man! ...
You now understand, dear, why I called you a happy man if you haven't heard that song. But do not think that the melody is bad. On the contrary, it is precisely because of its excellence that it has achieved that popularity. The whole of Freischütz is excellent and certainly deserves the interest with which it is now being received throughout Germany. This is perhaps the 30th time it has been offered here, and it is still surprisingly difficult to get good tickets for a performance. It is also causing a sensation in Vienna, Dresden and Hamburg. ...
About the value of the text and the music of the free shooter, I refer you to the great review by Professor Gubitz in the partner . This witty and astute critic has the credit for being the first to develop in detail the romantic beauties of this opera and most definitely foretell its great triumphs. "
Heine's satire must have come close to reality. In the 1830s, a Bremen merchant from Brazil and the West Indies reported that sugar boxes and sacks of coffee were loaded into the ships to the tune of the maiden wreath and the hunters' choir .
The Freischütz not only triggered the feverish effort to stage it on large and small stages, but the story of the test shot and the hellish spectacle of bullet casting has been parodied many times. The mutilation by the Viennese censors, which, in order not to endanger the viewers morally, replaced bullets with arrows as a precautionary measure and Samiel deleted it without further ado, may seem like a parody. Marionette theater or were meant less seriously
- The wild hunter , parody of the Wolfsschlucht by Franz Grillparzer , 1822
- The Freischütz or Staberl in the Löwengrube by Carl Carl , Isartortheater Munich 1823
- Samiel or Die Wunderpille, Parody of the Freischützen, Verlag Gottfried Basse, Quedlinburg and Leipzig, 1824
He Fries-it, or the seventh Charmind Pancake in the Coburg Theater London, 1824
there pancakes were baked (the seventh enchanted or charred) instead of balls poured
- Der Freischütz in Cameroon, romantic-comic operetta by Karl Höpfner, 1877
- A slim lad comes out, Singspiel by Otto Höser, Eisenach 1918
Der Hamburger Freischütz or De Bruut Schuss, Hamburgische Staatsoper (Opera stable), 1978
opera parody by Michael Leinert , Low German text by Hanne Heinz, music by Gerhard Jünemann,
The play was re-enacted by Theater Bremen and produced as a radio play by Radio Bremen / NDR.
At Phonogram (Polygram) De Bruut Schuss appeared on record.
- Der Freischütz - or: Wia a Jaager in a very neat way to seim Wei kemma is from Paul Schallweg
Interpretations and historical impact
In the program from Wallenstein to Napoleon. The author sees Der Freischütz, a mirror of German history , in the place and time of the action, Bohemia, shortly after the end of the Thirty Years' War , as the key to the interpretation of the opera.
There is no indication of this in the libretto: the war is only mentioned by Kaspar and only incidentally, on the one hand to excuse the fact that he learned picaresque songs from the war people, and on the other hand that the King of Sweden was hit by free balls at Lützen , which is their effectiveness supporting documents.
A parallelization of the events of 1648 and 1815 ... as an allusion to a national rebirth of Germany ... which is even provided with religious consecrations in the opera at the end can be found in the Cologne program booklet, but not in a comprehensible representation of history or a staging that is true to the work: What is the parallelization of events, to which national rebirths allude in 1648 or 1815 or their parallelization, where does the end of the opera endow the national rebirth with religious consecrations?
The fact that the Berlin premiere took place on June 18, 1821, on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, shows that this day of the liberation of Europe from French hegemony was celebrated. The Prussian court stayed away from the performance. Like all traditional monarchies, he was suspicious of national movements. According to Heine's second letter from Berlin, the nobles were fans of Gaspare Spontini's operas with elephants on the stage and bombastic music that could be used to test the stability of new buildings.
The Freischütz founded the style of German opera in contrast to French or Italian opera, which had prevailed until then with Francesco Morlacchi in Dresden and Gaspare Spontini in Berlin. Weber, who worked with both of them, avoided anything that could hurt her through mockery (e.g. about elephants on stage) even in exuberant cheers.
The Freischütz with spoken German text, intimate songs ( Leise, leise , pious wise ), romantic music and folktale-like action in forests and meadows is national not in a political sense, but in an aesthetic sense
"I call the national spirit of a people the similarity and agreement of their opinions and inclinations in matters about which another nation thinks and feels differently."
For example, a rifle festival with a rifle king to be honored outside of Germany, the Netherlands or Switzerland requires explanation. The Freischütz productions in Paris and London were viewed by German reviewers as mutilation, even if the audience there was enthusiastic. Taste can be different.
Conversely, because of the musical suggestions that Weber experienced in his Prague years from 1813 to 1816, the Prague daily Národní listy (in the translation Die Presse, 1861, no. 299 ) complained that all the junk that the world was talking about was "German music" calls that Czech music is. One of the contradictions of national movements is that one boasts of the influence on others, while at the same time emphasizing one's own particularity and claiming for oneself what one dismisses as “junk” with others.
The Freischütz touched the Germans and united them in their love for this work, whether they lived in the Baltic Hanseatic cities, Schleswig, Bohemia, East Prussia or one of the 39 states of the German Confederation .
The review of the Stuttgart premiere in 1822 by Ludwig Börne expresses the problem of the German national movement, which was to persist for almost fifty more years:
“If you have no fatherland, invent one! The Germans have tried in all sorts of ways ... and since the free shooting, they have also been doing it with music. They want a hat under which all German heads can be brought. One can let the poor indulge in making amends with such patriotic surrogates. "
Such a review mockingly and condescendingly evaluates the audience, their longings, their powerlessness, but not the opera. Börne writes about the opera itself:
“Opinions are divided, but most of them, including me, enjoyed the music very much. It is German folk music that we don't actually have yet. Imagine a German Don Juan, not one from the educated, but from the lower class of the people - and there you, for example, the kind and dignity of music, stuck to Mozart's opera. There is a lot of originality in it, and a lot of singable things. The pieces will all become alley songs. "
This is not the judgment of an impartial contemporary witness, but of someone who carries on any gossip if it is only detrimental to Weber, and also does not forget to add that Weber is lame . Weber is handicapped from birth due to a malformation of the hip.
Unlike, for example, Schiller's play Wilhelm Tell (1804) or Auber's opera Die Stumme von Portici (1828), Der Freischütz nowhere contains political terms such as German, national or fatherland or historical allusions. Nevertheless, he strengthened national solidarity like no other stage work.
For Richard Wagner the melody is the basis of Weber's Volksoper,
"It is free of all local-national peculiarities, of broad, general expressions of feeling, has no other ornament than the smile of the sweetest and most natural intimacy, and thus speaks, through the force of undistorted grace, to the hearts of people, no matter what national peculiarity it like to belong, precisely because the purely human comes to the fore in such an uncolored way. "
- In 1841, for the Opéra de Paris, Hector Berlioz orchestrated Weber's invitation to dance for a ballet that preceded the Freischütz and composed French recitatives to replace the spoken text. Richard Wagner rebuked them as an ingredient that completely disfigured the original dimensions . The production at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow in 1873 , which inserted this ballet before the third act and instead deleted the hermit, Tchaikovsky criticized as tasteless and stupid.
- In 1961 Bohumil Herlischka staged the Freischütz in Düsseldorf. His composure outraged many, as Herlischka resorted to Apel's folk tale in the ghost book and let the play end tragically. His portrayal of the traumatization of people by the Thirty Years' War had little reference to Weber's opera.
- In the middle of the 19th century, Claudio S. Grafulla arranged melodies from the opera for a Freischutz Quick Step , which among other things. was used by Ken Burns as background music for his nine-part documentary The American Civil War .
- In 1987 the film Der Freischütz in Berlin was not an adaptation, but the creation of the opera up to its first performance; Frank Lienert (Carl Maria von Weber), Kathrin Waligura (Caroline von Weber), Ekkehard Schall (Spontini), Klaus Piontek (Graf von Brühl), Márta Rafael (Mrs. Beer)
- In 1990, The Black Rider : The Casting of The Magic Bullets , a stage musical by William S. Burroughs , Robert Wilson and Tom Waits based on Apel's novella Der Freischütz in the Ghost Book, premiered in Hamburg . This resulted in the Austrian television production The Black Rider (also directed by Robert Wilsons).
- In 2010 a film adaptation by Jens Neubert came to the cinema. The recordings took place in Dresden and Saxon Switzerland in 2009. There sang and played: Franz Grundträger (prince), Benno Schollum (Kuno, princely hereditary forester), Juliane Banse (Agathe, his daughter), Regula Mühlemann (Ännchen, his young daughter), Michael Volle (Kaspar, first hunter's boy), Michael König (Max, second hunter's boy), René Pape (hermit) and Olaf Bär (Kilian, a rich farmer) as well as the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Harding and the Rundfunkchor Berlin conducted by Simon Halsey .
- In 2011 the Harald Rüschenbaum Trio released the CD Swing frei, Schütz on the Munich label Downhill Records, a version of Weber's Freischütz for a jazz trio and a speaker, Harald Rüschenbaum (drums), Daniel Mark Eberhard (piano), Andreas Kurz (double bass) and the Eutinian literary scholar Wolfgang Griep (speaker). The arrangements are by Daniel Mark Eberhard.
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- English translation of Tchaikovsky's review of the Bolshoi production . Retrieved June 7, 2020.
- Bohumil Herlischka . Retrieved March 30, 2020.
- The Freischütz in Berlin . Retrieved March 30, 2020.
- Hunter's Bride . Retrieved June 7, 2020. The singers' images on the DVD and its case do not match the names below.
- Benno Schollum . Retrieved June 7, 2020.
- Michael König . Retrieved June 7, 2020.
- free, Schütz . Retrieved June 7, 2020.