The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Hugo Wolf; Henry Pleasants | Go to book overview

83. The Marriage of Figaro

May 2, 1886

It was on May I, 1786, that The Marriage of Figaro first came across the footlights, and today. April 30, 1886, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of this masterpiece's premiere. Inevitably, we look back to the time in which such a work could originate, and then cast a critical glance at the present, which still -- or, if you prefer -- only now enjoys the works of Mozart.

These general reflections we owe to an article, "Das Publikum in Zeit und Raum" [ The Public in Time and Space]1 by Richard Wagner. Among other matters it contains a detailed discussion of the precarious position of Mozart's works in Mozart's own time and of their no less precarious position in ours. I pass some of it along herewith.

Calling attention initially to the fate of works for the musical theater as determined by the strong fluctuations of public taste, Wagner says: "In Mozart's operas we can plainly see that what raised them above their own time placed them in the curiously disadvantageous position of going on to live outside it, deprived of the social circumstances that determine their conception and performance. All other works by composers of Italian opera were spared this curious destiny. None survived the time to which alone it belonged and from which it sprang. With The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni it was otherwise. They could not be regarded as tailored only to the requirements of a few Italian opera seasons. The stamp of immortality was impressed upon them. Immortality! -- a fateful votive offering! To what a torturous existence is the departed soul of such a masterpiece not exposed when dragged forth by a modern theater medium for the edification of a latter-day public! Attending a performance of The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni today. would we not wish for the work that it might once have lived completely and fully, leaving us its memory as a lovely saga, instead of which we see it forced into a life utterly alien to it like a martyr resurrected for further maltreatment. In these works of Mozart are united the elements of the full bloom of Italian musical taste with the spatial circumstances of the Italian opera house to form an utterly definitive idiom, beautifully and amiably expressing the spirit of the closing years of the last century. Wrenched from their native environment, and transplanted to our own time and circumstances, the eternal element in these artistic creations suffers a distortion that we vainly seek to correct through new disguises and conversions of their realistic form."

-210-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 291

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.