Martha, oder Der Markt zu Richmond (in three volumes with German libretto)
Flotow, Friedrich von
Friedrich von Flotow
Martha, oder Der Markt zu Richmond (Martha, or Richmond Fair)
Comico-romantic opera in four acts on a libretto by W. Friedrich
(b. Teutendorf, Mecklenburg, 27 April 1812 – d. Darmstadt, 24 January 1883)
“Equally fortunate in his profession as in his material circumstances, Flotow lives partly in Paris, partly on his paternal estate in Mecklenburg, occupied with composing. If one is unable to concede any actual depth to his comic operas – for only in this genre does he function with felicity – that which he gives us is nevertheless agreeable, fresh and appealing, characteristic, and most ingratiating for the performers.” (Allgemeine deutsche Real-Encyklopädie für die gebildeten Stände, 10th edn., vol. 5 (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1852), p. 120.)
Thus the slightly stiff-necked view, from musically conservative Leipzig, of the most successful German opera composer of the mid-nineteenth century. At the time it was written (1852) Friedrich von Flotow had just turned forty and had more than half of his creative life still before him. Yet at his death three decades later, in 1883, little needed to be added to Brockhaus’s summation, except that the estate in Mecklenburg had been augmented by another near Vienna and yet another near Darmstadt.
Friedrich von Flotow was, along with Heinrich Marschner, Albert Lortzing, and Otto Nicolai, the leading composer of German opera between Weber and Wagner in a period known to cultural historians as the Biedermeier Era. Yet unlike his confederates Lortzing and Nicolai, both of whom died early and in poverty, he was free of material cares and could basically do as he pleased. Born into one of the most venerable families of Germany’s landed aristocracy, he was initially destined by his father for a diplomatic career. Convinced by his son’s remarkable talent for music, he took the boy at the age of sixteen to Paris to study with Anton Reicha. The experiment proved formative for young Friedrich’s future: not only was he confirmed in his determination to become a composer, to the end of his days he sought success on the French stage and spent much of his life in Paris writing operas in French. In this endeavor he was only thwarted by the vicissitudes of history: the Revolution of 1830 drove him back to his family’s estate; the Revolution of 1848 put a temporary end to his initial triumphs in Paris; and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 kindled an anti-German sentiment in France that made further performances of his works there unthinkable. By that time, however, he had long become a figure of international renown, and each of his new stage works were guaranteed performances wherever European musical theater had taken hold.
Read full preface / Komplettes Vorwort lesen > HERE