Operas in German: A Dictionary

Operas in German: A Dictionary

Operas in German: A Dictionary

Operas in German: A Dictionary

Synopsis

"Griffel has prepared a valuable guide to German opera that can be used profitably by both scholars and amateur devotees of opera. The main body of the dictionary provides a discussion of about 380 operas composed to a German text. The alphabetically organized entries include information on German premieres, as well as first performances in Britain and the US, brief plot summaries, listings of major roles, and occasional historical and analytical remarks. . . . Operas in German will, no doubt, serve as one of the major reference sources for any type of research on German opera. Highly recommended." Choice

Excerpt

Although a sizable number of opera dictionaries and encyclopedias are available, those devoted exclusively to operas in a single language are extremely rare. The present dictionary addresses itself wholly to operas written to a German text, whether from a source originally in German or from a German translation. The main body of this dictionary provides entries on the operas themselves, rather than musical terms, characters, composers, performers, and other personages: in this way each of the roughly 380 operas can be given a thorough treatment. This principal section is augmented by an appendix of some 1250 additional opera titles, and appendices on composers, librettists, authors, sources, and a chronology, and indexes of characters and performers.

Almost all of the composers represented here were born in German-speaking countries or areas controlled by Germany or the Austro-Hungarian Empire before 1919. Among the few notable exceptions is the Italian-born Ferruccio Busoni, all of whose operas were written to German texts and received premieres in German-speaking cities. Composers who wrote operas in more than one language are represented by their German works only. One example is Kurt Weill, who was born in Dessau but died in New York. He wrote his first operas to German librettos but his later ones to English texts; this dictionary covers just his German works. Mozart, Haydn, Handel, and Henze are other composers who wrote operas in more than one language. This volume excludes works that received their premieres in German but were meant to be performed in another language (e.g., Milhaud's opéras-minutes, first given at Baden-Baden in German, and the first part of Berlioz Les Troyens, which had its premiere in Karlsruhe as Die Eroberung Trojas). The earliest opera in the dictionary is Heinrich Schüs Dafne, considered the first German opera (1627, Torgau). The latest entry, Willy Decker's Ein Mitternachtstraum, dates from May 1989.

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