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Roksanda Pejović

(b Sombor, 1794; d Belgrade, 1870). Serbian composer and conductor of Jewish origin. He taught music in Šabac and held a conducting post in Novi Sad. Invited in 1831 to the court of Prince Miloš Obrenović, he founded and directed the prince’s Serbian Orchestra, which played in his Serbian Theatre in Kragujevac and Belgrade. In 1840 he moved with the court to Belgrade, where he was active until 1864. He was the outstanding figure of early Serbian stage life and composed and arranged music for several plays, containing overtures and vocal and instrumental numbers: many of the songs were influenced by Serbian or oriental folktunes and achieved wide popularity. Owing to its musical richness Ženidba cara Dušana (‘The Marriage of Tsar Dušan’; 1840, Kragujevac) is regarded as an opera, although Šlezinger conceived the music to accompany Atanasije Nikolić’s play.

S. Ðurić-Klajn: ‘Razvoj muzičke umetnosti u Srbiji’ [The Development of the Art of Music in Serbia], in ...

Article

A. Dean Palmer

(‘The Templar and the Jewess’)

Grosse romantische Oper in three acts by Heinrich August Marschner to a libretto by Wilhelm August Wohlbrück after various plays, themselves based on Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe; Leipzig, Stadttheater, 22 December 1829.

After reviewing a performance of J. F. von Auffenberg’s play Der Löwe von Kurdistan, based on Sir Walter Scott’s The Talisman, Marschner decided – with his librettist Wohlbrück – to write an opera based on one of Scott’s novels. They chose Ivanhoe. By eliminating non-essential characters and simplifying the plot, Wohlbrück developed the libretto from J. R. Lenz’s play Das Gericht der Templer (Breslau, 7 May 1824), which Lenz had based on one or more of several English plays, particularly W. T. Moncrieff’s Ivanhoe! or, The Jewess (London, 24 January 1820), that were performed in England after the publication of Scott’s book.

Universally considered during the 19th century as Marschner’s most popular opera, Der Templer und die Jüdin...

Article

Tito  

Carl B. Schmidt

(‘Titus’)

Melodramma in three acts by Antonio Cesti to a libretto by Nicolò Beregan ; Venice, Teatro di SS Giovanni e Paolo, 13 February 1666.

Beregan probably formed the outline of his plot from Flavius Josephus’s account of the Jewish War and C. Suetonius Tranquillus’s account of Emperor Titus in The Lives of the Twelve Caesars. The opera deals with the future Roman emperor’s conquering of Jerusalem in ad 70, and his subsequent love for the conquered Palestinian princess Berenice. After numerous complications, woven into the plot by a cast of 15 characters, Polemone, whom Berenice has claimed as her brother, is revealed to be her husband, and Titus abandons his quest for love in favour of his former militaristic ways. Three characters, Titus (soprano castrato), Berenice (soprano) and Domitian (soprano castrato), are drawn from history and another, Polemone (tenor), portrayed as the King of Licea, is probably the equivalent of Polemon, the priest-king of Olba in Cilicia. The fictional character Martia Fulvia (soprano) may have been inspired by the historical Marcia Furnilla, daughter of a noble Roman family, whom Titus married but subsequently divorced. The remaining cast of generals, servants, pages and sorceresses remind us of Racine’s famous dictum ‘Toute l’invention consiste à faire quelque chose de rien’....