Trompeter von Säkkingen, Der (‘The Trumpeter of Säckingen’)
- Peter Franklin
Opera in a prologue and three acts by Viktor E(rnst) Nessler to a libretto by Rudolf Bunge after J. V. von Scheffel’s poetic epic; Leipzig, 4 May 1884.
When the Baron von Schönau (bass) learns that his trumpeter Werner Kirchhofer (tenor) seeks the hand of his daughter Maria (soprano), he banishes Werner and consigns Maria to marriage with the cowardly but noble-born Damian (tenor). Werner then returns with troops to save the Baron from a peasant uprising. A mark on Werner’s arm reveals that he is of noble birth after all, and his union with Maria is permitted. Nessler combined stock characters with formula-composed numbers, some of which, like Werner’s Act 2 farewell to Maria, ‘Behüt dich Gott, es wär so schön gewesen’, became popular. The opera’s success was attributed by critics to Scheffel’s well-known poem, with its mixture of German history and romantic sentimentality, rather than to the deliberate ‘Volkstümlichkeit’ of Nessler’s score....