DER FREISCHÜTZ celebrates its online premiere on 13 February
An old, dark folk tale, which was already told by the Brothers Grimm in their collection of fairy tales, forms the model for Carl Maria von Weber's romantic opera Der Freischütz. The libretto is largely based on August Apel's novella from his Gespensterbuch. But in the adaptation by the composer and his librettist Friedrich Kind, the tragedy becomes a drama with a dubious happy ending. The new production of Der Freischütz, in a staging by Dmitri Tcherniakov and under the musical direction of Antonello Manacorda, celebrates its premiere online on 13 February with a free live broadcast on STAATSOPER.TV. In the main roles you will experience Pavel Černoch (Max), Golda Schultz (Agathe), Anna Prohaska (Ännchen) and Kyle Ketelsen (Kaspar).
The young marksman Max wants to marry Agathe, the daughter of the hereditary forester. However, following an old ritual, he has to earn his bride and the forester's estate with a test shot. Recently his aim has failed him and so he is persuaded by his fellow hunter Kaspar to seek help with black magic. During a diabolical summoning ritual by the "Black Hunter" Samiel, Max and Kaspar cast magic bullets in the Wolf's Glen that never miss their target. Max is supposed to use them to pass the test shot. But the sinister pact exacts its price. Six of the seven magic bullets obey their shooter, but Samiel directs the last one. In the original by August Apel, the bride is shot by the ominous seventh bullet and the young hunter ends his life in an insane asylum. In the opera, on the other hand, a hermit appears whose intervention seems to have changed everything for the better.
According to its composer, the opera was celebrated "with the most incredible enthusiasm" by the audience at its premiere in Berlin in 1821. In the following decades, the work, which at the time was perceived as folk-romantic, quickly advanced to become the most frequently performed opera on German stages. In searching for cultural and national opportunities for identification, many found a projection surface for the ideal community in the opera’s plot. In Tcherniakov's work, the entire action takes place at Agathe and Max's wedding party in a swanky skyscraper suite, where the test shot becomes a brutal recording ritual into the wealthy and important family of Kuno that psychologically wears Max down.