Singspiel (Ger.: ‘sung play’)
- Peter Branscombe
- and Thomas Bauman
An opera, usually comic and in German with spoken dialogue.
The German Singspiel, in the normal sense of that term, was developed from a variety of predecessors. Apart from medieval mysteries and church plays, important sources of the Singspiel are to be found in secular plays of all kinds. The tragedies and comedies of the travelling troupes frequently contained a number of songs (often with many verses, and sung to a popular melody) as well as instrumental music – dances, marches, flourishes for royal entrances, battles, hunting scenes. The songs were usually given to the principal comic character (Jean Potage, Jack Pudding, Pickelhäring, later Hans Wurst), whose part was in the early days often taken by the only actor fluent in the language of the country where the performance was taking place. The ...