WIELAND'S CONCEPT OF 'GERMAN' SINGSPIEL: BETWEEN TRADITION AND MODERNITY (ILLUSTRATED BY THE EXAMPLE OF ANTON SCHWEITZER'S MUSICAL ADAPTATION OF 'ALCESTE')
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The experimental singspiel 'Alceste' by C.M. Wieland and A. Schweitzer, performed in 1773 at the theatre of Weimar, by the company of Seyler is one of the outstanding landmarks regarding the development of the German Singspiel during the second half of the 18th century. It is commented by Wieland himself in a series of articles and 'letters' and indeed, considering the inner dramatic structure of the obviously modest dramatic work, the application of modern sceneries as well as its relation to modern developments of 'Rührung' and 'Empfindsamkeit', this singspiel is to be regarded as an example for future productions. The dramatic conception is only to be understood (?) in the ambitious aim of Wieland, to create an example of new opera, which will be on the same level as Metastasio's opere serie, but which will put an end to the critical points of the old genre. As a new category, the aesthetics of Truth, in discussion with Algarotti's 'Saggio sopra l'opera in musica' it gains importance as the 'broken passion'. As Algarotti's important article was deeply studied at Weimar, so Esteban Arteagas 'Storia dell'Opera Italiana' was immediately recepted and translated into German by J.N. Forkel. Furthermore Wieland integrates brandnew dramatic scene-types, as the scene of death, of vision, of 'pazzia', of 'ombra' in the structure, partly via exhausting monologues - a keen task for the composer. Indeed, the composer Anton Schweitzer is going far beyond the aims of Wieland, delivering a most interesting and particular interpretation by proper musical means, which focus on the irreality, or furthermore show irreality as a strong alternative to reality. With this, in a certain sense, the border to the 20th century is touched.
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