Frederica - Operatic Society version
Composer: Lehár, Franz 1870-1948
Operatic Society version - translation by Bernard Dunn/Harry Pepper, music adapted by Ronald Hanmer
Franz Lehár’s Friederike (1928) is an example of so-called biographical operetta, a genre popular in the early twentieth century, in which a historical figure was the protagonist in a bittersweet love affair. Lehár had previously explored the genre in Paganini (1924-1925), and its success prompted the composer to continue in this direction of historical drama, producing first Der Zarewitsch (1926) and then, soon after, Friederike (1928). Choosing the poet Goethe as the subject matter for an operetta was a daring move - intellectuals and cabaret fans thought the scenario ridiculous, while most of the public looked forward to the new production. The controversy helped to sell out the house when Friederike was premiered in October 1928.
SYNOPSIS: 1771 and 1779, Sesenheim and Strasbourg, France. Friederike tells the story of the young Johann Wolfgang Goethe, the celebrated German poet, and his doomed love for Friederike, daughter of the Vicar of Sesenheim. Anxious not to stand in the way of Goethe’s career, Friederike sacrifices her love for him.
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