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Subject: Re: The most influential opera to impact our own time is:
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 24 Jan 2018 23:23:09 -0500
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Well thanks Bob, I'm glad you missed me.

The answer is straightforward:

Der Freischutz, the very first German Romantic opera, which premiered in 1821 
made a huge splash in London in 1824 leading to four adaptations of it there, and 
even bringing Weber to London to conduct it and to create an opera  for the British 
stage, Oberon. 

Those adaptations of Der Freischutz which played in the main London theaters and 
all around the UK and in English speaking countries were presented on bills along 
with pantomimes, short plays, even Shakespeare. The many subsequent ballet 
extravaganzas which had magical themes were all influenced by Der Freischutz and 
those works made their way to the United States. So did the most prominent 
Agathe of the 19th Century, Jenny Lind.

But where Der Freischutz made the most direct impact in the United States which is 
still being felt today, was the appearance in 1866 of a hodgepodge musical "The 
Black Crook" which is considered by most historians to be the birth of the American 
Broadway Musical and thus, the link between Der Freischutz and works like 
Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, and Hamilton is direct. 

Those who know the plot of Der Freischutz will recognize the similarities. Here is 
the Wikipedia description of the history and plot of "The Black Crook":

"The musical is set in 1600 in the Harz Mountains of Germany. It incorporates 
elements from Goethe's Faust, Weber's Der Freischütz, and other well-known 
works. Evil, wealthy Count Wolfenstein seeks to marry the lovely village girl, Amina. 
With the help of Amina's scheming foster mother Barbara, the Count arranges for 
Amina's fiancé, Rodolphe, an impoverished artist, to fall into the hands of Hertzog, 
an ancient, crook-backed master of black magic (the Black Crook). Hertzog has 
made a pact with the Devil (Zamiel, "The Arch Fiend"): he can live forever if he 
provides Zamiel with a fresh soul every New Year's Eve. As innocent Rodolphe is led 
to this horrible fate, he discovers a buried treasure and saves the life of a dove. The 
dove magically transforms into human form as Stalacta, Fairy Queen of the Golden 
Realm. She rewards Rodolphe for rescuing her by bringing him to fairyland and 
then reuniting him with his beloved Amina. Her army defeats the Count and his evil 
forces, demons drag Hertzog into hell, and Amina and Rodolphe live happily ever 
after."

Now being the direct ancestor to the creation of the American Musical Theater 
elevates Der Freischutz to a place that no other traditional opera can claim, not 
even The Beggar's Opera (another important antecedent).

So that's it.  And please, name me another traditional opera that has any real 
impact on the mainstream American culture of today....


James Camner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lq1JzXT1akM

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