Zauberoper (Ger.: ‘magic opera’)
- Peter Branscombe
(Ger.: ‘magic opera’)
A term, used more often by music and theatre historians than by contemporary librettists and composers, for a Singspiel with spoken dialogue that relies to an unusual extent on stage machinery and spectacular effects. In theory the term could be applied to any opera that employs magic; but in practice its use is normally restricted to the kind of magic Singspiel that was a staple of the Viennese popular repertory during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Philipp Hafner’s Megära, die förchterliche Hexe (a ‘Zauberlustspiel’, 1763) is an early example, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte the most famous one. The Wenzel Müller-Perinet adaptation, Megera (1806) is actually subtitled ‘Zauberoper’. Müller’s Kaspar der Fagottist, and Wranitzky’s and Weber’s adaptations of Wieland’s Oberon, are typical examples of the recurrent motif of the hero being granted supernatural aids to enable him to rescue a woman in peril. The Kauer-Hensler Das Donauweibchen (...