Carl Maria von Weber and the Search for a German Opera

Carl Maria von Weber and the Search for a German Opera

Stephen C. Meyer
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/17/2003
Format: Hardback 2 b&w photos, 17 figures, 1 bibliog., 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-34185-3
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Stephen C. Meyer details the intricate relationships between the operas Der Freischütz and Euryanthe, and contemporary discourse on both the "Germany of the imagination" and the new nation itself. In so doing, he presents excerpts from a wide range of philosophical, political, and musical writings, many of which are little known and otherwise unavailable in English. Individual chapters trace the multidimensional concept of German and "foreign" opera through the 19th century. Meyer’s study of Der Freischütz places the work within the context of emerging German nationalism, and a chapter on Euryanthe addresses the opera’s stylistic and topical shifts in light of changing cultural and aesthetic circumstances. As a result, Meyer argues that the search for a new German opera was not merely an aesthetic movement, but a political and social critique as well.

Author Bio

Stephen C. Meyer has published in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Opera Quarterly, and Cambridge Opera Journal. In addition to his scholarly work, he maintains an active career as a singer.


“Meyer strikes a remarkable balance between historic and cultural sources relating to German nationalism, visual arts (paintings), and musico—dramatic analysis. As a result, this book is of interest to historians, German literature scholars, opera scholars, as well as musicologists.”
 — Net Review

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Table of Contents



1. Introduction: Inventing German Opera
2. The Native and the Foreign: Models for the German Opera
3. Der Freischütz and the Character of the Nation
4. Euryanthe: Reconfiguration and Transformation
5. Epilogue: Institutions, Aesthetics and Genre after Weber's Death

Appendix 1: Synopsis of Das unterbrochene Opferfest
Appendix 2: Comparative Table: Versions of Das unterbrochene Opferfest
Appendix 3: Synopsis of Méhul's Joseph
Appendix 4: Comparative Table: Versions of the Joseph Finale
Appendix 5: Synopsis of Euryanthe