Prinz von Homburg, Der (‘The Prince of Homburg’)
- Andrew Clements
(‘The Prince of Homburg’)
Opera in three acts by Hans Werner Henze to a libretto by Ingeborg Bachmann after Heinrich von Kleist’s Prinz Friedrich von Homburg; Hamburg, Staatsoper, 22 May 1960.
In 1957, when working with Henze on the first production of his ballet Maratona di Danza, Luchino Visconti urged the composer to consider Kleist’s drama as the basis for an opera. At Henze’s suggestion Ingeborg Bachmann saw a stage production of Prinz Friedrich von Homburg in Paris and realized that, for all its preoccupations with Prussian militarism, it was a text that commanded respect. She prepared the libretto, drawing arias, ensembles and linking recitatives from Kleist’s text, and in the process removing many of the more overtly nationalistic references in the original. Henze completed the music in 1958. The première was conducted by Leopold Ludwig and produced by Helmut Kautners; the cast included Vladimir Ruzdjak as the Prince, Liselotte Fölser as Natalie, Helmut Melchert as the Elector and Heinz Hoppe as Hohenzollern. In ...