1833 Wagner Die Feen Overture

THURSDAY, July 23, 2020

Wagner Die Feen Overture: 1833

Young Wagner was heavily influenced by Carl Maria von Weber and other composers of the time, but although this is yet again the writing of a teenage – Wagner was only 20 years old at the time he wrote this – you can already hear ideas that are thoroughly Wagnerian.

The first completed opera, never performed in his lifetime…

Die Feen (The Fairies) is an opera in three acts. It was was Wagner’s first completed opera, but remained unperformed in his lifetime. It receives occasional performances on in Germany, but otherwise you will probably never hear any of it other than this overture.

An earlier abandoned opera…

The year before he started Die Feen, Wagner had abandoned his first attempt at writing an opera, Die Hochzeit (The Wedding).

He wrote the words…

German-language opera in the 1830s had a problem. The words to most of the operas written at the time had poor quality libretti (words for the operas), so Wagner wrote the libretto for Die Feen himself. Authorities in Germany and Austria feared that opera performances in  German would attract nationalist and revolutionary followers. This habit of writing his own words started early and lead to his doing the same thing much later for The Ring.



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