Théâtre des Champs Élysées

Der Freischütz

Carl Maria von Weber

A stellar cast performs this grand German Romantic opera with Véronique Gens as Agatha

Opera in three acts (1820)
Libretto by Johann Friedrich Kind

Thomas Hengelbrock  direction

Véronique Gens  Agathe
Nikolai Schukoff  Max
Christina Landshamer  Annette
Yorck Felix Speer Kouno
Miljenko Turk  Ottokar
Franz-Josef Selig  The Hermit
Dimitry Ivashchenko  Gaspard

NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg
WDR Rundfunkchor Köln
NDR Chor Hamburg

Der Freischütz, a work defying classification in which the supernatural and magic play an important role, is the cornerstone of German Romantic opera. Wagner was the first to adopt this legacy, and Berlioz and Debussy expressed their unreserved admiration for it. Ever since the seminal Orfeo by Monteverdi, the supernatural has played a significant role in opera. However, Weber offers an alternative interpretation. There are no victorious gods or heroes in this piece, but a fantastical realm attuned to the human world. It is as much about supernatural forces as freedom. Musicians must consciously conjure up the effect of orchestral writing imbued with an expressive power which is rarely ever heard. The extraordinary overture is a brilliant illustration both of the major themes and the “blend of styles” which will be developed throughout the work. However, the fact that Der Freischütz defies classification lies in its taste for popular melodies and the importance of the role attributed to the chorus, which is a truly dynamic force. The work combines a quest and an initiation, and had an enormous impact on intellectual and artistic elites in the period following its creation in 1821. An entire generation was inspired by it.


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