German opera from its primitive origins up to Wagner is the subject of this wide-ranging history, the only one of its kind in any language. It traces the growth of the humble Singspiel into a vehicle for the genius of Mozart and Beethoven, together with the persistent attempts at German Grand Opera. Seventeenth century Hamburg opera, the role of the travelling companies and Viennese Singspiel are all explored. Discussions that from early days absorbed Germans concerned for the development of a national art are followed, together with the influence of new critical thought at the start of the nineteenth century. The many operas studied are placed in their historical, social and theatrical context, and attention is paid to the literary, artistic and philosophical ideas that made them part of the country's intellectual history. Warrack assesses the contributions of Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann, as well as Weber and Hoffmann, among others.
'It is impossible to imagine this ground being covered more expertly or succinctly.' Michael Tanner, International Record Review 'Warrack's elegant synthesis of prior scholarship employs subtle and engaging writing ... In the course of the book he retells, always clearly and often drolly, the plots of about 200 mostly little-known operas ... anyone interested in German opera will learn a great deal from Warrack's welcome and accomplished study.' BBC Music 'This latest volume in the Cambridge Studies in Opera [series] is self-recommending, but it can be commended equally to that mythical but good-hearted soul, the general reader who should be educated, diverted and made curious in about equal measure.' Opera 'A brilliantly achieved masterpiece.' Gramophone