Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Fuhrmann, Christina. “Continental Opera Englished, English Opera Continentalized: Der Freischütz in London, 1824.” Nineteenth-Century Music Review 1 (June 2004): 115-42.

In July of 1824, the English Opera House staged its first production of Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz, and within a few months, seven other London theaters had produced their own versions. All of these productions, however, changed Weber’s original score and text to some degree, and these changes reflected the many practical and aesthetic issues of London’s opera business in the 1820s. Some productions added numerous speaking parts and ballads to conform to audience tastes and English theater conventions, while others amplified the opera’s melodramatic, comic, and supernatural elements so that it conformed more to their usual repertoire. Although many adaptations were heavily modified, some retained most of Weber’s original score, and these less modified versions were soon favored by audiences and critics alike. The numerous London versions of Der Freischütz ultimately reflect an increasing vogue for foreign opera in the city, as well as the aesthetic and cultural issues of transplanting a foreign opera onto an English stage in the nineteenth century.

Works: Weber: Der Freischütz (115-42).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew G. Leone

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