A Long Journey of German Opera through History

Many German courts were heavily influenced by both Italian and French opera traditions. The Habsburg Empire which had its headquarters in Vienna was also influenced in an equally significant manner. In fact, great German composers such as Handel and Johan Sebastian succeeded because of their synthesis of these two opera traditions.

Hamburg had time for opera that was composed in German. This scenario remained this way during Handelís brief stint in the opera performances. Emperor Joseph II tried in 1780 to introduce a German opera tradition. Through these attempts, Mozart was able to rise to fame but in the end the emperorís attempts did not bear any fruits.

German Dresden Opernhaus

German Dresden Opernhaus

German Singspiel is the one that has a much longer history. It parallels well with the Italian and French popular comedy. This genre led to the diminishing between serious and comedic opera in Germany. German language opera soon emerged, sometimes in spoken form, covering various topics. A classical example is the Zauberflote or The Magic Flute of Mozart.

Mozart Amadeus Wolfgang was a famous Austrian composer who many opera commentators rank in the same category with the likes of Wagner Verdi. He was a child prodigy whose first works were performed when he was only 11.  Germans who were successful at this time were Don Giovanni who was an instant success in Germany but who did not quite make it in Vienna.

It was the classical style of Mozart through his 600 works that carried all the operatic influence of the 18th century. These compositions consisted of a number of concertos, instrumental combinations and vocal shows. Although Mozartís career was rather unsuccessful, he remains one of the greatest geniuses of European civilization despite his early death that left behind many unfinished symphonic works.

Vienna was influenced by both German and Italian opera. Gluck and Calzabigi brought about some changes in Vienna although elements of French theatre influenced this Vienna strand of opera. This came in the form of some opera comique traditions. The cultural adjustments of the late 19th century brought about remarkable changes in German opera. Composers like Marschner, Lortzing and Spohr were part of this change.

Operetta was very typical of Vienna throughout the 19th century. The work of Johan Strauss exemplifies this new opera strand. Other champions of operetta were Franz von Suppe and Franz Lehar together with their other contemporaries. In the early 20th century, the operetta was being drastically being wiped out by comedic opera.

[ad#downcont]Wagner easily overshadows all those who immediately succeeded him, a clear indication that his influence was very enormous. Richard Strauss was one of the most real successors of Wagner. Most elements that he borrowed from his successor were evident in both harmony and orchestration and were evident even in his last opera, titled Capriccion, which was staged for the first time in 1942 in Munich.

Contemporary opera in Germany continues to thrive, and numerous provincial operas in both German and Austria have enabled the public to maintain a great opera tradition.