Zdenek Fibich: Sarka (1897)

Opera in three acts. Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes. With a libretto written by the mistress of the composer, this can be termed a sexy opera. The title character, a Czech warrior maiden, falls destructively in love with her victim, the male warrior Ctirad, to the point of causing the deaths of her sisters […]

Louis Spohr: Jessonda (1822)

Grosse Oper im drei Akten. Running Time: 2 hours 6 minutes. Jessonda was an answer to Der Freischutz, specifically because Spohr disliked the usage of spoken dialogue that plagued German opera for over a century. The scenario was actually devised by Spohr himself, although the libretto was written by a Eduard Gehe. It incorporates a thicker orchestration than […]

A Word on Hansel und Gretel.

If Rienzi is the best opera Meyerbeer wrote, is Hansel und Gretel the best opera Wagner wrote? I recently showed Hansel and Gretel (the Met production from 1982) to my eighth grade history class and for the most part they really enjoyed it. Looking back on it, I feel that over the years I have […]

Ferdinand Herold: Zampa (1831)

Opera Comique en trois actes. Running Time: 2 hours 29 minutes. Devoid of lower voices, this opera boasts four tenor roles with a lonely soprano and mezzo-soprano. There are thirteen musical numbers not counting the overture. The music for the soprano is exceptionally slow moving, with an air of the 18th century about it. SETTING: […]

Karl Goldmark: Merlin (1886)

Opera in three acts. Running Time: 3 hours 7 minutes. As with Die Königin von Saba, here Goldmark is moving a bit more towards Wagner, yet only slightly. The decade between his first and second opera led to a composition that, although borrowing from Wagner even more heavily, is still within the Meyerbeerian grand opera of the mid-19th century […]

Karl Goldmark: Die Königin von Saba (1875)

Opera in four acts. Running Time: 3 hours 9 minutes. In honor of the 104th birthday of my favorite actress of all time, Olivia de Havilland, I present this new post, a work which has given me more inspiration and joy than any other German-language opera. SETTING: Jerusalem and the surrounding desert, 10th century B.C.E. […]