Der Freischütz

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Der Freischütz is a German opera, with spoken dialogue, in three acts by Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826), with a libretto by Friedrich Kind (1768-1843). (Op. 77, J. 277).

The original text

Based on a story in the Gespensterbuch [Book of Ghosts] by August Apel and Friedrich Laun (Berlin, 1810) First performed on 18 June 1821 at the Schauspielhaus Berlin.

Translations and adaptations

Der Freischütz, or The Seventh Bullet

An English translation by "Livius" (possibly W. McGregor Logan), entitled Der Freischütz, or The Seventh Bullet, was first performed at the English Opera House (Lyceum), under the direction of William Hawes on 22 July 1824. Published by Thomas Dolby in 1825 and John Cumberland in 1826.

The main title is often translated as The Marksman or The Freeshooter.

Performance history in South Africa

1831: Performed in English under the title Der Freischütz, or The Seventh Bullet by All the World's a Stage under the management of Mr Booth in the African Theatre 29 October, 1831. As afterpiece they had Animal Magnetism, or A Cure for the Hydrophobia (Inchbald). According to Jill Fletcher (1994), this production of Weber's work marked the first indigenous production of an opera in the true sense.

1831: Repeated on 17 December, 1831 with as afterpieces the "ballet- dance" of The Lawyer in the Sack (Booth) and The Spectre Bridegroom (Moncrieff).

1990: Presented by CAPAB Opera (1–15 September)


Opera in London: Views of the Press, 1785-1830 by Theodore Fenner[1]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [2]: pp. 203, 217-219, 374, 381.

Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis. Go to ESAT Bibliography

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