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Barbier von Seville, Der (‘The Barber of Seville’)locked

  • Thomas Bauman

Extract

Komische Oper in four acts by Friedrich Ludwig Benda (see Benda family, §3) to a libretto by Grossmann, Gustav Friedrich Wilhelm, adapted from Beaumarchais, Pierre-Augustin’ play Le barbier de Séville; Leipzig, Theater am Rannstädter Tor, 7 May 1776.

Grossmann originally translated Beaumarchais’ play more or less faithfully for the Seyler company. Seyler persuaded him to adapt it as a comic opera and it was in this form, with Benda’s music, that the play was generally performed in Germany during the 18th century. Unlike the simple tunes Beaumarchais had gathered and published with the original text, Benda’s vocal numbers – 13 in all – have nothing Spanish about them. Italianate showpieces for the company’s best voices predominate; the part of Rosina (soprano) is particularly ornate and virtuoso, a vehicle for the prima donna Josepha Hellmuth....

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