Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie

Last updated
Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie
Opera by Giselher Klebe
Giselher Klebe 2008.jpg
The composer in 2008
TranslationThe Fairy Tale of the Beautiful Lily
LibrettistLore Klebe
Based on The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
15 May 1969 (1969-05-15)

Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie (The Fairy Tale of the Beautiful Lily), Op. 55, is an opera in two acts by Giselher Klebe, with a libretto by Lore Klebe, based on Goethe's fairy tale Das Märchen . On a commission by the SWR for the Schwetzingen Festival, it was premiered on 15 May 1969 at the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen, staged by Oscar Fritz Schuh and conducted by Hans Zender. The opera was published by Bärenreiter.

In musical composition, the opus number is the "work number" that is assigned to a composition, or to a set of compositions, to indicate the chronological order of the composer's production. Opus numbers are used to distinguish among compositions with similar titles; the word is abbreviated as "Op." for a single work, or "Opp." when referring to more than one work.

Opera artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

Giselher Klebe German composer

Giselher Wolfgang Klebe was a German composer, and an academic teacher. He composed more than 140 works, among them 14 literary operas, eight symphonies, 15 solo concerts, chamber music, piano works, and sacred music.



Klebe composed the opera on a commission of the broadcaster Südwestrundfunk for the opening of the Schwetzingen Festival. [1] He based the opera on classical literature, as also in some of his earlier operas such as Die Räuber after Schiller (1957), Die tödlichen Wünsche after Balzac (1959) and Alkmene after Kleist (1961). [2] His wife, Lore Klebe, wrote the libretto based on the fairy tale Das Märchen , part of the novella Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. [3]

Südwestrundfunk is a regional public broadcasting corporation serving the southwest of Germany, specifically the federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The corporation has main offices in three cities: Stuttgart, Baden-Baden and Mainz, with the director's office being in Stuttgart. It is a part of the ARD consortium. It broadcasts on two television channels and six radio channels, with its main television and radio office in Baden-Baden and regional offices in Stuttgart and Mainz. It is the second largest broadcasting organization in Germany. SWR, with a coverage of 55,600 km2, and an audience reach estimated to be 14.7 million. SWR employs 3,700 people in its various offices and facilities.

Schwetzingen Festival music festival

The Schwetzingen Festival is an early summer festival of opera and other classical music presented each year from May to early June in Schwetzingen, Germany.

<i>Die Räuber</i> (opera) Klebe opera based on Schiller play

Die Räuber, Op. 25, is an opera in four acts by Giselher Klebe who also wrote the libretto based on the play by Friedrich Schiller.

Stage of the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen Schwetzingen Schlosstheater Blick zur Buhne 1.jpg
Stage of the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen

Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie premiered on 15 May 1969 at the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen. [2] The night before, Marianne Hoppe recited Goethe's Märchen. [4] The opera production of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein was directed by Oscar Fritz Schuh on a stage designed by Heinrich Wendel, and conducted by Hans Zender. [2] The opera was published by Bärenreiter. [3] The first performance in the German Democratic Republic was staged in Weimar in 1988, where Goethe had written his text. [5]

Schlosstheater Schwetzingen palace theatre in Schwetzingen, Germany

Schlosstheater Schwetzingen is a court theater in Schwetzingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The historic building, opened in 1753, is part of Schloss Schwetzingen and since 1952 the principal venue of the Schwetzingen Festival. It is also called Hoftheater, Hofoper, and Comoedienhaus. The frequently applied name Rokokotheater is misleading, because it shows also neoclassical elements, added in 1762.

Marianne Hoppe German actress

Marianne Hoppe was a German theatre and film actress.

Deutsche Oper am Rhein opera company with houses in Düsseldorf an Duisburg, Germany

The Deutsche Oper am Rhein is an opera company based in Düsseldorf and Duisburg. The opera also has an associated classical ballet company. Axel Kober has been its Music Director since 2009. The resident orchestra, the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, play both opera and symphonic repertoire.


Goethe titled his art fairy tale like the genre, Märchen, indicating that it was a typical example of the genre in symbolic purity (in symbolischer Reinheit). He characterised it as at the same time significant and without specific meaning ("zugleich bedeutend and deutungslos"). Hugo von Hofmannsthal described it as an uninterpretable inner music of beautiful images and life contexts ("eine undeutbare innere Musik aus schönen Bildern und Lebensbezügen"), in other words: an abstract art. [6]


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 15 May 1969
Conductor: Hans Zender [7] [8]
Schlange soprano Rachel Yakar
Frausoprano Judith Beckmann
1st GirlsopranoRachel Mathes
2nd GirlsopranoBrigitte Dürrler
Schöne Lilie mezzo-soprano Rose Marie Freni
3rd Girl contralto
The Youth tenor
Man with the Lamp baritone Kurt Gester  [ de ]
Ferry Manbaritone Leif Roar  [ de ]
Giant bass Helmut Fehn
Golden Kingbass Eike Wilm Schulte
Silver Kingbass Peter-Christoph Runge  [ de ]
Iron Kingbass
Mixed Kingbass


Klebe's music is scored for soloists and a chamber orchestra of 30 players, including alto saxophone, harp and two pianos. Instruments in the low register dominate: there are a basset clarinet and three bassoons but no violins. Klebe used leitmotifs, chord motifs, twelve-tone tone rows and chromaticism. [1] [2] The music has been described as boldly turning backwards in music history and full of esoteric, beautiful sound. [2]

Alto saxophone type of saxophone

The alto saxophone, also referred to as the alto sax, is a member of the saxophone family of woodwind instruments invented by Belgian instrument designer Adolphe Sax in the 1840s, and patented in 1846. It is pitched in E, and is smaller than the tenor, but larger than the soprano. The alto sax is the most common saxophone and is commonly used in concert bands, chamber music, solo repertoire, military bands, marching bands, and jazz. The fingerings of the different saxophones are all the same so a saxophone player can play any type of saxophone.

Harp class of musical instruments

The harp is a stringed musical instrument that has a number of individual strings running at an angle to its soundboard; the strings are plucked with the fingers. Harps have been known since antiquity in Asia, Africa and Europe, dating back at least as early as 3500 BC. The instrument had great popularity in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, where it evolved into a wide range of variants with new technologies, and was disseminated to Europe's colonies, finding particular popularity in Latin America. Although some ancient members of the harp family died out in the Near East and South Asia, descendants of early harps are still played in Myanmar and parts of Africa, and other defunct variants in Europe and Asia have been utilized by musicians in the modern era.

The basset clarinet is a clarinet similar to the usual soprano clarinet but longer and with additional keys to enable playing several additional lower notes. Typically a basset clarinet has keywork going to a low (written) C or B, as opposed to the standard clarinet's E or E, and is most commonly a transposing instrument in A, although basset clarinets in C and B also exist, and Stephen Fox makes a "G basset clarinet/basset horn". The similarly named basset horn is also a clarinet with extended lower range, but is in a lower pitch ; the basset horn predates, and undoubtedly inspired, the basset clarinet.

Related Research Articles

Ödön von Horváth Austro-Hungarian writer

Edmund Josef von Horváth was a German-writing Austro-Hungarian-born playwright and novelist. He preferred the Hungarian version of his first name and published as Ödön von Horváth.

Boris Blacher German composer

Boris Blacher was a German composer and librettist.

<i>The English Cat</i> opera

The English Cat is an opera in two acts by Hans Werner Henze to an English libretto by Edward Bond, based on Les peines de coeur d'une chatte anglaise by Honoré de Balzac. The opera was first performed in a German translation by the Stuttgart Opera at the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen at the Schwetzingen Festival on 2 June 1983. The French premiere was at the Opéra-Comique, Paris in 1984. The first performance using the original English text was at Santa Fe on 13 July 1985. The UK premiere was at the Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, on 19 August 1987. A revised version was performed at Montepulciano in 1990 and this was given in London in 1991.

The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was story recounted by the Brothers Grimm

"The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was" or "The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear" is a German folktale collected by the Brothers Grimm. It is tale number 4 in the collection. It was also included by Andrew Lang in The Blue Fairy Book (1889).

The following is a list of the major publications of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832). 142 volumes comprise the entirety of his literary output, ranging from the poetical to the philosophical, including 50 volumes of correspondence.

Günter Bialas was a German composer.

<i>Jacobowsky und der Oberst</i> (opera) opera

Jacobowsky und der Oberst, Op. 49, is an opera in four acts by Giselher Klebe who also wrote the libretto based on the 1944 play of the Jacobowsky und der Oberst by Franz Werfel.

<i>Der Rauchfangkehrer</i> opera by Antonio Salieri

Der Rauchfangkehrer, oder Die Unentbehrlichen Verräther ihrer Herrschaften aus Eigennutz is an opera in three acts by Antonio Salieri to a German libretto by Leopold Auenbrugger. Originally designated as a Musikalisches Lustspiel, the work has the characteristics of both a German Singspiel and an Italian opera buffa.

The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily book

The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily is a fairy tale by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published in 1795 in Friedrich Schiller's German magazine Die Horen. It concludes Goethe's novella rondo Conversations of German Emigrants (1795). Das Märchen is regarded as the founding example of the genre of Kunstmärchen, or artistic fairy tale. The story revolves around the crossing and bridging of a river, which represents the divide between the outer life of the senses and the ideal aspirations of the human being.

Peter Rühmkorf German writer (1929-2008)

Peter Rühmkorf was a German writer who significantly influenced German post-war literature.

August Kindermann German opera singer

August Kindermann was a German bass-baritone singer and regisseur, particularly noted for his performances in the operas of Richard Wagner.

Der Töpfer is a singspiel, described as a komische Oper, in one act by Johann André. The libretto was by the composer. The work was one of the first German operas to be published in full score.

Jan Müller-Wieland is a German composer and conductor of classical music and an academic teacher. He is known for his operas.

<i>Bluthochzeit</i> opera

Bluthochzeit is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Fortner. The libretto, also by Fortner, is based on Enrique Beck's German translation of García Lorca's 1933 play Bodas de sangre. It premiered at the Cologne Opera on 8 June 1957.

Eike Wilm Schulte is a German operatic baritone. A member of the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden,from 1988 the Bayerische Staatsoper, he made an international career, singing more than 100 parts at major opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, and at festivals including the Bayreuth Festival. He participated in several premieres of contemporary opera.

Hermann Linde German painter

Hermann Linde was a German painter in the Symbolist style. He specialized in "Oriental" themes.

<i>Melusine</i> (Reimann) opera

Melusine is a 1971 German-language opera by Aribert Reimann, on a libretto by Claus H. Henneberg after Melusine, a 1920 play in four acts by Yvan Goll which transposes the legendary water-spirit to Goll's time. The opera was written for the Schwetzingen Festival, where it premiered in May 1971. It was recorded in 2010.

<i>In seinem Garten liebt Don Perlimplin Belisa</i> opera

In seinem Garten liebt Don Perlimplin Belisa is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Fortner. The libretto, also by Fortner, is based on Federico García Lorca's play Amor de don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín. It premiered at the opening of the 1962 Schwetzingen Festival.

Rudolf Sellner, born Gustav Rudolf Sellner, was a German actor, dramaturge, stage director and intendant. He represented in the 1950s a radical Instrumentales Theater. After decades of acting and directing plays, he turned to staging operas, and was a long-time intendant of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1961, when the Berlin Wall was built. He staged notable world premieres, including Ernst Barlach's play Der Graf von Ratzeburg in 1951, Ionesco's Mörder ohne Bezahlung in 1958, Giselher Klebe's Alkmene in 1961 for the opening of the Deutsche Oper, and Aribert Reimanns opera Melusine in 1971.


  1. 1 2 "Wirklich alles". Der Spiegel (in German). 19 May 1969. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Herbort, Heinz Josef (23 May 1969). "Es ist an der Zeit / Klebes Märchen von der schönen Lilie in Schwetzingen". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  3. 1 2 Klebe, Giselher. Biografie & Werkverzeichnis (in German). Giselher Klebe. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  4. "14.05.1969 bis 09.06.1969 / Schwetzinger Festspiele". ARD (in German). 1969. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  5. Thiel, Klaus (July 1988). "Wirklich alles". Theater der Zeit (in German). Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  6. Borchmeyer, Dieter (1998). Weimarer Klassik: Portrait einer Epoche (in German). Beltz/Athenäum. pp. 249–252. ISBN   978-3-40-732124-4.
  7. Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie, premiere cast" . L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
  8. Griffel, Margaret Ross (2018). Operas in German: A Dictionary. Rowman & Littlefield. p.  315. ISBN   9781442247970.