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date: 15 November 2019

Schauspieldirektor, Der (‘The Impresario’)locked

  • Julian Rushton

Extract

(‘The Impresario’)

Singspiel in one act, K486, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie the younger; Schönbrunn, Orangery, 7 February 1786.

Der Schauspieldirektor was performed on 7 February 1786 at Schönbrunn Palace as part of an Imperial entertainment for the Governor-General of the Nether lands. It was played (at the opposite end of the room) before Salieri’s Prima la musica; three public performances followed.

Frank (spoken role, originally Stephanie), the impresario, and Puf (bass, though no singer; Josef Weidmann) are assembling a company of actors and singers, who squabble over pre-eminence and pay. There are five other spoken roles, including a banker. Besides Mozart’s music, extracts from three plays were used for the ‘auditions’.

The overture is a sonata allegro with full development. Frank auditions actors, then Mme Herz (soprano, Aloysia Lange): the pathetic style (‘Da schlägt des Abschieds Stunde’), yields to a brilliant conclusion. There follows Mlle Silberklang (soprano, Catarina Cavalieri) with an elegant rondò (‘Bester Jüngling’). Unfortunately they cannot both be prima donna, and they argue in a hilarious trio (‘Ich bin die erste Sängerin’), with Vogelsang, the company’s tenor (Valentin Adamberger), keeping the peace (Mme Herz displays her ...

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