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date: 06 April 2020

Verschworenen, Die [Der häusliche Krieg (‘Domestic Warfare’)] (‘The Conspirators’)locked

  • Elizabeth Norman McKay

Extract

[Der häusliche Krieg (‘Domestic Warfare’)] (‘The Conspirators’)

Singspiel in one act by Franz Schubert to a libretto by Ignaz Castelli after Aristophanes ’ plays Lysistrata and Ecclesiazusae; Frankfurt, 29 August 1861.

Die Verschworenen dates from 1822–3, the period between Schubert’s two grand romantic operas Alfonso und Estrella and Fierrabras. At the end of 1823 the rejection of each of his latest operas and the failure of the play Rosamunde, for which he had written incidental music, led Schubert to abandon composing for the theatre for several years; and in fact he completed no other opera. Ironically, after its first performance in a concert version in Vienna, in March 1861, it became immensely popular in the theatre and was widely performed throughout Europe. The humour of Castelli’s text, of a kind in vogue in Austria about 1820, is too naive for modern audiences, but the play is well-structured and the Singspiel is still occasionally performed.

The libretto, which has long stretches of spoken dialogue, was the work of an able poet and playwright who wrote the piece as a challenge to composers of German opera who were deploring the inferior quality of opera texts. It is based on the ...

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