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date: 12 November 2019

Günther von Schwarzburglocked

  • Paul Corneilson

Extract

Singspiel in three acts by Ignaz Holzbauer to a libretto by Anton Klein; Mannheim, Hoftheater, 5 January 1777.

Based in part on an episode from German history, Günther von Schwarzburg is set in 1349 and focusses on Karl (tenor), King of Bohemia, and his rival Günther (tenor), who struggle for control of the Holy Roman Empire. With the support of the Count Palatine Rudolf II (bass) of the Wittelsbach house, Günther is crowned in Frankfurt. Karl loves Anna (soprano), the countess palatine and daughter of Rudolf, but Asberta (soprano), the dowager queen and mother of Karl, is more intent on gaining the empire for her son. She tries through a variety of intrigues to destroy Günther, finally poisoning him and taking her own life. Anna and Karl are united as the chorus mourns the fallen hero, Günther.

The opera, written for a distinguished cast featuring Anton Raaff in the title role, Franziska Danzi as Anna, Ludwig Fischer as Rudolf, Barbara Strasser as Asberta and Franz Hartig as Karl, was one of the first attempts to revive German serious opera. The commission to Klein and Holzbauer to write a German opera for Mannheim followed the successful performances of Wieland and Schweitzer’s ...

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