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14 May 2020 (Thu), 19:00 Brilliant Classical Stanislavsky Ballet and Opera theatre (established 1887, founded by Stanislavsky) - ! PREMIERE ! Opera Carl Maria von Weber "Der Freischütz" (Romantic opera in 3 acts)

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (till 21:30)

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for Carl Maria von Weber "Der Freischütz" (Romantic opera in 3 acts) 2020

Director: Alexander Titel
Composer: Carl Maria von Weber
Chorus Master: Stanislav Lykov
Libretto: Johann Friedrich Kind
Music Director: Fabrice Bollon
Set Designer: Yury Ustinov
Costume Designer: Irina Akimova

Weber translates their fears and passions with a broad palette of effects and a great deal of imagination: rousing choruses, graceful solos, frightening scenes where voices echo the sound of a macabre orchestra (the terrible Wolf's Glen). The daring score, which was admired by Wagner, remains one of the most brilliant examples of German Romanticism. It also marks the birth of German opera.

The story takes place in a forest in 17th-century Bohemia. The young hunter Max, who was once an excellent marksman, seems to have lost his abilities. However, if he does not win a shooting competition organised the following day, he will not be able to marry his true love, Agathe. Through the sinister Kaspar, Max concludes a pact with Zamiel, the dark ranger, who will help him cast a set of magic bullets. However, he does not know that the last bullet is destined for Agathe. This is the doing of Kaspar, who takes part in casting the magic bullets in the macabre Wolf's Glen. At the shooting competition the following day, Max uses the bullets, including the seventh one, which, thanks to the intervention of an old hermit, misses Agathe at the last minute. The evil bullet hits Kaspar instead, whose soul is immediately appropriated by Zamiel. To punish Max for making a pact with the Devil, the assembly condemns him to a probationary period, at the end of which he can marry Agathe.

World premiere: June 18, 1821
Schauspielhaus, Berlin

Russian premiere: May 12, 1824,
Bolshoi Theatre, St. Petersburg

Premiere: May 14, 2020
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre


Place: Kingdom of Bohemia
Time: 1648, at the end of the Thirty Years' War

Act 1

At a practice target shooting, the assistant forester Max loses to a young peasant, Kilian, who is proclaimed "King of marksmen" (Chorus: Viktoria! Der Meister soll leben—"Victory! Long live the master"). Kilian sings a good-natured song mocking him (Schaut der Herr mich an als König—"Let him gaze on me as king").

Max is in love with Agathe, daughter of the head forester Kuno, and desires to become Kuno’s successor as head forester. However, a test of skill in marksmanship is required, with the trial to be held the following day.

As Max has had ill luck for several days, he easily falls under the influence of Kaspar, who persuades Max to cast seven magic bullets to be used in the contest. Kaspar, whose soul is to be sold to the devil the following day, hopes to obtain three more years of grace by substituting Max in his place (Trio of Kuno, Kaspar, and Max; chorus: O diese Sonne—"O the sun").

Left alone, Max sinks into a deep melancholy at the thought of losing Agathe by failing the shooting contest (Aria: Durch die Wälder—"Through the woods"). Kaspar, with incantations, tries to imbue him with courage (Hier im ird'schen Jammerthal—"Here in this vale of tears").

He hands Max his gun, loaded with a magic bullet—Max kills an eagle soaring at a great height, to his own astonishment. He resolves to go with Kaspar at midnight to the terrible Wolf's Glen to cast the magic bullets, which will kill anything the shooter wishes, in order to win the prize. Kaspar, left alone, triumphs (Aria: Schweig! damit dich Niemand warnt—"Silence, let no one warn him").

Act 2

Agathe's chamber

At the moment when Max shoots the magic bullet, a picture of Agathe's ancestor hanging on the wall falls to the floor, slightly wounding her. Agathe's cousin and companion Ännchen replaces it (Duet: Schelm, halt fest!—"Rogue, hold fast!"). Agathe is still more disturbed, but Ännchen endeavours to cheer her with jests (Ännchen: Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen—"Comes a pretty boy this path"). Agathe is filled with sad forebodings, singing of meeting with a hermit in the forest, who told her that in some danger which menaced her, she would be protected by her bridal wreath.

Agathe, left alone, awaits Max with the news of his success, which she interprets as a favourable omen (Recitative and aria: Wie nahte mir der Schlummer…Leise, leise—"How did slumber approach me…Low, low").

Max arrives, acknowledging that while he has not been the victor, he has killed a deer and will bring it this evening from the Wolf's Glen. Notwithstanding the prayers of Agathe and Ännchen, Max departs (Trio: Wie? Was? Entsetzen!—"How? What? Oh, horror!").

The Wolf's Glen at night

Kaspar calls upon Samiel, the Black Huntsman, for assistance in preparing the casting of the magic bullets. Max arrives and is warned by the spirit of his mother to abandon the project. Samiel conjures up the shape of Agathe, representing her as drowning herself in despair at Max's ill success, whereupon he plunges into the glen. With demoniacal noise, the casting of the bullets has begun.

Act 3

Agathe's chamber

Agathe is praying (Aria: Und ob die Wolke sie verhülle—"Through clouds obscure"), her doubts having returned owing to a dream of ill omen. Ännchen again cheers her with laughter and song. (Romance and aria, subsequently added by Weber: Einst träumte meiner sel'gen Base—"My deceased cousin had a dream"). The bridesmaids arrive with the bridal wreath (Song: Wir winden dir den Jungfern-Kranz—"We wind round thee the bridal wreath"), but Ännchen opens the box, she finds within a funeral wreath, further increasing her misgivings. She is somewhat comforted by the memory of the hermit's promise that she will be protected by her bridal wreath.

The meeting of the marksmen

Having split the seven bullets between them, Max has used two and Kaspar has used three. Max demands that Kaspar give him his last bullet to use in the final shooting contest, but Kaspar refuses. As Max leaves, Kaspar shoots a fox, thus making Max's bullet the seventh and controlled by the Evil One.

The prize shooting

Prince Ottokar awaits Max at his tent (Chorus of foresters: Was gleicht wohl auf Erden—"What excels the pleasures of the chase"). Max is now to shoot a dove, but as he takes aim, Samiel, the black huntsman, guides the bullet and causes Max to fire at Agathe, who is apparently wounded (Finale: Schaut, o schaut—"See, oh see"). Agathe falls, but her bridal wreath has deflected the bullet, which strikes Kaspar. Agathe revives from her faint and Kaspar, seeing a holy hermit by her side, realizes that he has failed. Samiel grasps him instead of Max, whereupon Kaspar expires with a curse upon his lips. Prince Ottokar orders the corpse to be thrown into the Wolf's Glen, then demands and receives an explanation from Max. In spite of pleas from Kuno, Agathe, peasants, and huntsman, the infuriated Prince pronounces the sentence of banishment. Before this can be carried out, however, the hermit enters into their midst. The Prince acknowledges the holy man, and asks for his counsel. The hermit explains that the combined effects of love for Agathe, and fear of losing her should he fail the shooting trial are what caused Max to stray from a life that was formerly without fault. The hermit goes on to condemn the trial shot, suggests a probationary year as penalty, and asks who among the assembled has looked into their own heart and would be willing to cast the first stone. If Max lives a faultless life, he will gain forgiveness and be permitted to marry Agathe. The Prince commends the hermit for his wisdom, saying a higher power speaks through him. The Prince ends his pronouncement by saying that he himself will place the hand of Agathe in that of Max when the probation is over. The opera ends with the ensemble singing prayers of thanks.

Schedule for Carl Maria von Weber "Der Freischütz" (Romantic opera in 3 acts) 2020

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