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date: 03 April 2020

Verwandelten Weiber, Die [Die verwandelten Weiber, oder Der Teufel ist los, erster Theil (‘The Metamorphosed Wives, or The Devil to Pay, Part 1’)locked

  • Thomas Bauman

Extract

[Die verwandelten Weiber, oder Der Teufel ist los, erster Theil (‘The Metamorphosed Wives, or The Devil to Pay, Part 1’)

Comische Oper in three acts by Johann Adam Hiller to a libretto by Christian Felix Weisse , based on Charles Coffey’s ballad opera The Devil to Pay, or The Wives Metamorphos’d (1728) and Michel-Jean Sedaine ’s opéra comique from the same source; Leipzig, Theatre in Quandt’s Court, 28 May 1766.

The gruff cobbler Jobsen Zeckel lords it over his long- suffering wife Lene, while in the manor Frau von Liebreich plagues her husband and servants. The itinerant magician Mikroskop, out of pity for Lene, transforms each wife into the other. After a violent collision of wills, Jobsen and ‘Lene’ (Frau von Liebreich) repent and Mikroskop undoes the spell.

Hiller’s first operatic triumph at Leipzig, composed as a favour to the theatre principal Heinrich Gottfried Koch, adapted the most popular German musical farce of the mid-century, Der Teufel ist los, set by Johann Standfuss; he retained some of Standfuss’s tunes, but his own music assured the popularity of the work for the rest of the century. Lene’s ‘Ohne Lieb und ohne Wein’ (by Hiller) became a virtual folksong throughout Germany....

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