Monday, 9 May 2016

AUTHOR'S CHOICE: 4 SCHILLER-INSPIRED ARIAS Feat. DID YOU KNOW? ANOTHER MISSING SKULL & NAZI GERMANY

Scroll down to view my selections!
Today’s AUTHOR’S CHOICE entry is made in honor of 18th to early 19th century poet, playwright, historian and physician, Friedrich Schiller - arguably one of Germany’s greatest exports of political and philosophical minds, who also happens to hold the much coveted distinction of frequently sourced and internationally renowned contributors to art and authorship.

Schiller, who died this day on the 9th of may, 1805 at the tender age of 45, was a pioneer of the famed Weimar Classicism movement - producing a litany of his most beloved stage-plays in the late 18th - early 19th centuries.

Much like Schiller’s contemporary and close companion, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (who, alongside Schiller, became the most famous of the movement: Goethe would pen his famous Faust during this period), the German polymath would become one of Western Classical Music’s most favored authors on which to source material for constructing libretti (one could, in this instance, refer to Schiller as the German Shakespeare, although he operated at a far less output than the Bard and is thusly less sourced by comparison. It is highly probable Schiller would have continued writing, were it not for his untimely demise).

I have selected for the reader four of my favorite Schiller-inspired arias from the world of Opera, all of which are based on the works of this most revered master of Gestalt:


I) ELLA GIAMMAI M'AMO – DON CARLOS – GIUSEPPE VERDI
BASED ON: the play Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien (Don Carlos, Infante of Spain; produced 1787) 

as sung by German Bass René Pape:




II) QUANDO LE SERE AL PLACIDO – LUISA MILLER – GIUSEPPE VERDI
 BASED ON: the play Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love; premiered 1784)

as sung by Italian Tenor Placido Domingo



III) QUANDO DI LUCE ROSEA – MARIA STUARDA – GAETANO DONIZETTI
BASED ON: the play Maria Stuart (premiered 1800) 

as sung by Spanish Slovak coloratura soprano Edita Gruberova



IV) SOMBRE FORÊT– GUILLAUME TELL – GIOACHINO ROSSINI
BASED ON: William Tell (published 1804)

as sung by Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé:



Peruse more of my articles on operatic (and orchestral) works inspired by famous playwrights/writers:

  • 5 Shakespeare-inspired Arias & Orchestral Masterpieces (AUTHOR’S CHOICE - William Shakespeare)
  • Arrigo Boito's Mefistofele (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
  • Various Composers of Faust: Book Reviews (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Discover more (external links):



Did You Know?


Our featured writer Friedrich Schiller is certainly in good company amongst Classical Music's Elite:
after being illegally excavated from a mass grave in 1826 (Schiller's burial was notoriously hasty and without airs - the poet did not have a family plot, and as such was buried in a cheaply made coffin, which burst, causing the corpse to spill into an adjoining mass grave), the German polymath's skull (in addition to several other potential skulls alleged to be the cranium of the famous playwright) played host to both the German SS (when it was almost destroyed by leading Officials of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich) and the Allied Forces alike (the latter being allegedly - DNA testing performed in 2008 at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Rockville, Maryland would prove the skull (and another purported to be the playwrights) to be a negative match.

One is reminded of the heisted skulls of the maestros Haydn and his apprentice Mozart, and the 19th century composer Beethoven (whose skull is also said to have passed through Nazi hands). 

Schiller's close mate Johann Wolfgang von Goethe must also be mentioned: he once alleged to have briefly held in his possession the skulls of both Mozart and Beethoven, and, in proper fashion, also laid claim to the skull of his one-time mate Schiller after he stole it from the collection of skulls amassed from the illegal exhumation (which had been secretly ordered by the town's mayor!) 

The skull would later be repossessed by the ducal vault of Weimar ("Weimarer Fürstengruft") alongside another Schiller-cranium candidate, which would both later prove to be imposters though modern DNA testing.

Discover more about the missing craniums of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven (and catch up on your Resurrectionist History while you're at it) by perusing my articles on the topics below:



BONUS Did You Know?

.. that the text to Ludwig van Beethoven's "An Die Freude" (better known in the English-speaking world as the "Ode to Joy" chorus) from the 19th century German composer's famous 9th Symphony was sourced from the pen of Friedrich Schiller's 1785 ode, originally published in Schiller's own periodical Thalia?

The An Die Freude, arguably Beethoven's most famous chorus piece, is composed of and re-arranged from segments of Schiller's original poem!

See: Schiller's "An Die Freude"  (at The Schiller Institute)

-Rose.

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