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Richard Wagner - Die Feen, Ouvertüre 1/2

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Uploaded on Jun 26, 2010

"Die Feen", Ouverture, german opera in three acts. Music and text by Richard Wagner (1813-1883).
Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch & Bavaria State Orchestra.

"Die Feen" (The Fairies) was Wagner's first completed opera, composed in 1833, when he was 20 years old and working as chorus master in Würzburg. He gave it the description of "Grosse romantische Oper" (grand romantic opera). The year before he started composition, Wagner had abandoned his first attempt at writing an opera, "Die Hochzeit" (The Wedding). There were a number of difficulties facing new German-language opera in the 1830s. First there was deemed to be a lack of good quality libretti to set. This may have influenced Wagner's decision to write the libretto for "Die Feen" himself. Second, there was a fear among the authorities in Germany and Austria that the performance of operas in German would attract nationalist and revolutionary followers. This would have added to the difficulties faced by a novice composer seeking an opportunity for his new opera to be performed.
Wagner revised the score of "Die Feen" in 1834, when he hoped for a production. Among the changes in the 1834 version was the rewriting from scratch of Ada's grand scene "Weh' mir, so nah' die fürchterliche Stunde". However, it remained unperformed during his lifetime .
Although Gozzi's "La donna serpente" was the source for Wagner's plot, he took the names of "Die Feen"'s two principal characters, Ada and Arindal, from "Die Hochzeit". The libretto also introduced a fantastic theme that was not in the original play. The libretto displays themes and patterns that were to recur in Wagner's more mature works. These include redemption, a mysterious stranger demanding that their lover not ask who they are, and long expository narratives.

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