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David Schirmer's Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena (1650): An Example of Early German Musical Drama

Sara Smart

Any discussion of German musical drama in the seventeenth century needs to be prefaced by a reminder that it is a complex phenomenon that defies generalisation and neat categorisation. This is linked to the fact that musical drama reflects the geographical and cultural diversity of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation at this time. Its development has long been associated with the rise of princely absolutism characteristic of this period. Certainly musical drama within the Empire was largely, but not exclusively, a product of court society and princely patronage, its various forms testifying to the cultural orientation of the courts that promoted it. While the southern Catholic and italianate courts of Vienna and Munich fostered Italian opera, the Hannoverian court favoured French musical theatre, while the tradition of musical theatre in the neighbouring territory of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel is characterised both by the court's openess to French and Italian influences and its endeavours to produce a German equivalent.[1] Another factor adding to the complexity of this picture is the staggered development of musical drama, a fact that is demonstrably linked to the destructive impact of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Although the first musical drama within the Empire, a performance of an Italian opera, possibly Monteverdi's Orfeo, took place in Salzburg in 1618 at the court of Prince Archbishop Marx Sittich von Hohenems, it was not until after 1650 that the cultivation of musical drama became more firmly established in the Empire as a whole. Two details point to this general process; a reference in a Bavarian courtier's report of 1651 to a 'welsche Comoedie von unsern Musicy gehalten', alludes to the first performance of Italian musical drama in Munich, while the staging in 1657 of Amelinde, represents the beginning of the tradition of the German Singspiel atthe court of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel.[2] A further feature of Early German Musical drama is the problematic relationship between text and music. In an important and persuasive article, Wolfgang Steude, an expert on the life and works of Heinrich Schütz, has challenged the long-established view that Opitz's Dafne, with music by Schütz, which was performed in 1627 to celebrate a marriage within the electoral house of Saxony, is the first German opera. The fact that Opitz's text is based on Rinuccini's libretto for the first Italian opera, Peri's Dafne,explains in part why generations of scholars have been of the opinionthat the Saxon performance represented the first German attempt to imitatethe innovative Italian art form. Steude demonstrates that at the time the work was performed Schütz, who was Kapellmeister at the Dresden court, had not yet encountered Italian musical drama, that he did not set the whole of Opitz's text to music, and that the work did not therefore aim to reproduce the stile recitativo.[3] Rather did Schütz's contribution amount to the composition of music for songs and a dance scene introduced into a piece of mainly spoken drama. Steude's article highlights the complicated issue of terminology used to describe early German musical drama, a point recently made by Werner Braun, who explains that the term opera post-dated the development of the genre and that it 'remained long unused among German speakers', while, by contrast, the term Singspiel became widely used over the course of the seventeenth century.[4] Steude draws attention to the fact that the synonymous use by later generations of the terms Oper and Singspiel goes some way to account for the readiness of scholars to assume that seventeenth-century Singspiele were sung throughout. This, he argues, is an inaccurate assumption for in the seventeenth century the term Singspiel referred to a composite form of entertainment: '"Singe-Spiel", "Singe-Com(o)edia", "Musicalische Com(o)edia" meint ... Schauspiel (des Sprechtheaters) mit Gesangs- bzw. Musikeinlagen'.[5] The uncertainty surrounding the relationship between music and text is only exacerbated by the fact that while many libretti remain extant, the accompanying scores have frequently been lost. As a result there is often no sure way of ascertaining which parts of the text were sung and which spoken.

This article is concerned with a work which survives only as a printed text and which was performed in the period immediately after the Thirty Years' War. Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena marks the resumption of the tradition of musical drama fostered by the electoral Saxon court in Dresden. It was performed in 1650 to celebrate the double marriage of the two sons of Elector Johann Georg I (1611-1656), Christian and Moritz, to the Princesses Christiane and Sophie Hedwig of Schleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg. In order to explore the form and character of this example of early German musical drama, this article will focus on four particular aspects of the work. Firstly, its position within the tradition of early musical drama at the Dresden court.As an electoral court and the home of the leading Lutheran prince in the Empire, Dresden was a major cultural centre. This is manifested in its tradition of staging festivities, particularly tournaments, and in its cultivation of music: on his appointment as Kapellmeister in 1618/19, Schütz became 'director of the largest and most important musical establishment in Protestant Germany'.[6] Following the custom of the time, Johann Georg I had undertaken in his youth a Kavallierstour, and in 1601-02 had travelled in Italy. Sponsel, in his seminal survey of court festivities in Dresden, speculates on the impact on the Elector of his experience in Italy, linking this to his preference for Italian culture over French.[7] This predilection for Italian art is possibly reflected in his readiness to support Schütz's second sojourn in Italy (1628-29), when he worked with Monteverdi. Saxon festive culture was the product of a fruitful mix of native and foreign influences and reflected the period's awareness of the correspondence between lavish festivities and political prestige. It is entirely typical that the politically significant marriage in 1627 between the Elector's eldest daughter, Sophie Eleonore, and Georg Landgrave of Hessen-Darmstadt, a major Lutheran ally, was marked by twelve days of celebrations, which included a tournament - running at the ring -, a bear hunt, ballet, performances by English players or Comoedianten, as well as the staging of Opitz's Dafne, if not the first German opera, then nonetheless a major example of German musical drama of the period.[8] As Saxon involvement in the Thirty Years' War increased, the festive culture of the court was severely interrupted. The next major event was in 1638 when Schütz composed the music for the second important piece of musical theatre to be staged at court, Orpheo und Eurydice, with a libretto by August Buchner, Professor of Poetics at Wittenberg University. The work was performed on the occasion of another important marriage within the electoral house, that of Johann Georg I's eldest son, the Electoral Prince, Johann Georg II, to Magdalena Sybille of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. The relationship between these two examples of early German musical drama and Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena will be explored in this article, which will examine the points of similarity and difference and consider what these suggest about the development of this form of entertainment.

The second aspect on which the article will focus is the work's combination of dance and song, an interest which stems from the inclusion of the term ballet in the title. This brings us once more to the issue of terminology. The degree of flexibility with regard to the terminology used to describe early musical drama in German is evident in the Saxon performances. In the Saxon Hofdiarium of 1627 Opitz's Dafne is described as a Pastoral Tragicomoedie while the only technical term referred to in the libretto is Geticht.[9] Buchner's work was referred to in a contemporary report as 'ein stattliches Ballet mit unterschiedenen Abwechslungen und 10 Balleten, auch einer wohl disponirten Action von dem Orpheo und Euridice'.[10] It may well have been that this description of Buchner's work set the precedent for the title of Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena, particularly as the text was supplied by Buchner's pupil, David Schirmer. Critics of later centuries have, however, taken issue with the appellation. Gottsched, one of the leading literary figures of the German Enlightenment, came to the unequivocal conclusion that Schirmer's work was not a ballet but an opera and that it had exercised an influential impact on all future German operas.[11] This view has in part been recently echoed by Judith Aikin who argues that the work is an opera on the basis of its structure and form.[12] Yet she also uses the more flexible term of opera-ballet, while Anthony Harper describes the work as a ballet-opera.[13] The importance of this debate is that it points to the hybrid character of early German musical drama and the difficulty of applying a precise label to it. Like Dafne and Orpheo und der Eurydice, Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena comprises scenes of song and dance. This article will therefore explore the composite quality of the work and the relationship between operatic and balletic elements.

Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena is a piece of occasional theatre, or theatre performed for a specific courtly occasion, a hallmark of such theatre being its celebration of the ruling house. As the third point of focus, the article will identify ways in which this musical drama lent itself to the glorification of the electoral house. The fourth and final aspect of the performance to be considered is the context within which the musical drama was staged; the article will seek to establish whether there are any links between the musical drama and the other entertainments organized to celebrate the double wedding and to assess whether there is any indication that the musical drama enjoyed special status.

There are two sources that serve as the basis of this investigation. The first is a substantial, partially bound file in the Saxon State Archive in Dresden of 365 pages of material relating to the celebration of the double wedding, and the second is the libretto by David Schirmer (1623-1686). Schirmer, who had been educated in the patriotic linguistic circles of the period, was a protégé of Buchner who had brought him to the attention of Johann Georg I.[14] His association with the Dresden court began in 1650, from which time he fulfilled the duties of court poet, although this title was not officially bestowed on him. His dedicatory poems and his texts for festivities to celebrate important events within the electoral house, including the text for the 1650 ballet, were published in a collection entitled Poetische Rauten-Gepüsche in 1663.[15] The rue in the title was a reference to the symbol of the electoral dynasty. Details about the music that accompanied the performance are much less precise. The identity of the composer is unknown and the score has not been found; the only fact that is certain is that it was not Schütz. It is possible that a court dancing-master was responsible for the music, the composition of music for ballets being among the duties asssociated with this post.[16]

The archive file provides an ideal source for the last of the four concerns in that it provides 'allerhandt nachricht beym Beylagern Anno 1650. waß in denselben von Tage zu Tage fürgangen undt hierbey zumercken nothwendig gewesen'.[17] It tells us that the festivities began on Thursday 14 November and ended nearly a month later on Wednesday 11 December. As one would expect the wedddings, celebrated on Tuesday 19 November, were accompanied by banquets, dancing and hunting parties. In addition there were three performances by the Englische Comoedianten, including the Tragico-ComediaVom König von Cyprus und Herzog von Venedig. A firework display presented in four acts the struggles of Jason to capture the Golden Fleece, while a Ballet von Amazonen was performed; the report suggests that the wife of Johann Georg II led the dancing. Given the Dresden court's enthusiasm fortournaments, the programme predictably included foot-tournamants and running at the ring. That the tournament in the Early Modern Period served simultaneously as practice for warfare, sport for the nobility, and as court festivity has been authoritatively demonstrated.[18] The latter aspect fostered an element of theatricality and it was common for the equestrian exercises to be endowed with an element of plot which in turn encouraged the appearance of riders in magnificent costume. Often groups of knights appeared in costume linked with a specific theme or Invention. The Dresden file refers, for example, to the Invention von Castor und Pollux and the Invention von Hercule und Admeto.[19]

What this general outline of the programme of events indicates is that the performance of Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena is just one element in a festive kaleidoscope. Yet there is evidence to suggest that there was an intention to inject an element of thematic coherence into these disparate forms of court entertainment. The archive file refers for example to the appearance in a tournament of a group of horseman attired as Trojan knights. The fall of Troy is the subject of the fourth act of Das Balletvon dem Paris und der Helena. The question as to why the Trojan War should be chosen as subject matter for the festivities is easily answered if one considers Saxony's recent past. The theme of war links to Saxony's involvement in the Thirty Years' War which had been concluded only two years previously by the Peace of Westphalia. Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena is composed of five acts. While the first three acts are characterized by their celebratory mood or liveliness, the third scene of Act IV is distinguished by its tragic and desperate tone. In it Hecuba, Andromacha, and Cassandra express their grief at the destruction of Troy and the deaths occasioned by the war. It seems feasible that the striking intensity of suffering expressed within the mythological framework touches upon the experiences of the audience. The stress on destruction is equally pronounced. The act is set against the backdrop of 'das brennende Troja' (Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena, p.87) and flame imagery remains a constant throughout the act, with the concluding chorus commenting that the flames of Troy have annihilated the city, its gods, and its fatherland.

The imagery of conflagration occurs elsewhere in the festivities. One of the tournaments involved the appearance of Pax, an allegorical figure represented by Duke Christian, one of the bridegrooms. Contained among the documents in the file is a printed appeal addressed by Pax to the judges of the tournament in which she describes the horror ofthe Thirty Years' War. This is presented as a divine punishment, a sign of God's 'gerecht[er] Zorn / welchen Er über das wertheste Deutschland / nun so viel Jahr an einander / in voller Gluth brennen lassen'.[20] Pax's address celebrates the heroic role played by the Elector who as her constant protector has striven tirelessly to control the flames: 'Nicht allein Anfangs / da niemand eyfriger sich bezeugt / die ietzo außschlagende Flamm bald in der ersten hohe zudempffen: Sondern nach der Zeit auch / da die unsehligen Waffen ergreiffen / und alles in Brand gestecket worden ist'. These events are all seen from the perspective of the present as past evils and the mood is one of celebration rejoicing in the return of peace. This mood is enforced by a Friedenslied sung by the Muses, members of Pax's entourage. In this the return of peace is associated with the renewed fertility of spring, an image that informs the presentation of the rue, which in this instance is depicted not as a shrub but as a flourishing tree under whose branches the Muses can find peace and protection.The mood of rebirth, the celebration of peace and of the electoral house as the guardians of peace are themes that also occcur in the final act of DasBallet von dem Paris und der Helena. This takes the form of a prophecy sung by Apollo in which he predicts that the fall of Troy will be followed by the founding of Rome by Aeneas and the emergence of a new and omnipotent empire. The belief in the cyclical nature of Empire is developed by a tacit allusion to the idea of translatio imperii, the belief that the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was direct heir to the Roman Empire. Significantly the emphasis is not so much on the Habsburgs, the Holy Roman Emperors, but on Johann Georg I and his house, the Wettins. Once again we encounter the idea of the electoral house as a thriving natural force: according to Apollo's prophecy the rue will continue to blossom throughout eternity, its sturdy, vigorous branches offering protection to all Germany.

These parallels in mood and imagery reinforce the view of a thematic coherence linking genres as disparate as the tournament and the musical drama. Taken together the libretto and the address by Pax suggest that while an acute awareness of the Thirty Years' War penetrated the festivities, these, naturally enough, reflected the optimism of the immediate post-war period. The double wedding provided the opportunity for the first major celebration after the years of war and provided the ideal occasion to celebrate the restoration of peace. Predictably both tournament and musical drama served to glorify the role of Johann Georg I as the heroic guardian of peace. Arguably this corresponds to historical fact. When, immediately before the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War, the Protestant nobility in Bohemia were searching for a leader for their rebellion against the Habsburgs, particularly the Jesuit-educated Ferdinand of Styria, King Designate of Bohemia and Hungary and future Emperor, they invited Johann Georg I to take the Bohemian throne, but the Elector, keen to avoid war, refused. Nor when war broke out did Johann Georg I take up arms on behalf of Friedrich of the Palatinate, who was Calvinist, the argument being that the hostility with which the Lutheran Elector regarded Catholics was outmatched only by his antipathy towards Calvinists. At this early stage in the war Johann Georg I remained loyal to the Emperor in an effort to pursue the path of peace.[21] Yet the implicit message of Apollo's analogy that just as Rome under Aeneas's influence emerged from the ashes of Troy, so will a new Empire dominated by Saxony emerge from the chaos ofthe Thirty Years' War, highlights the role of the festivity to paint a favourable gloss on the facts and the gap between the festive world and the political sphere. Saxony did not emerge as a triumphant power from the war. Johann Georg I's fundamental reluctance to become a major player in the war resulted in his steering a course that led ultimately to the devastation of Saxony. While Catholic Habsburg intransigence forced him to side with the Swedes in 1631, after the defeat of the Swedes at Nördlingen in 1634 he made peace with the Emperor, becoming a signatory to the Peace of Prague (1635).[22] The Swedes, who regarded the treaty as an act of treachery by their former ally, took their revenge with the result that the devastation of the economy and agriculture experienced by Saxony after 1635 was greater than any war damage that had occurred in the course of Saxon involvement prior to this date. It was Brandenburg under Elector Friedich Wilhelm I, who, recognizing that the Emperor was unable to protect him, made an alliance with the Swedes in 1640 and won the support of the French in the negotiations leading to the Peace of Westphalia, that was to develop into the burgeoning new force in the Empire.[23]

Although the performance of Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena was just one entertainment among many others, the programme of events in the archive suggests its special status. The programme entry for Monday 2nd December states that after a banquet 'hielten auff dem Riesen Sahl Ihr Chur Prinzl: Durchl: das Ballet vom Paride und Helena'.[24] We can infer from this that the work was staged at the instigation of the Electoral Prince, Johann Georg II, the sizeable and newly refurbished Riesensaal, or Giants' Hall, of the electoral residence providing a suitably imposing setting for the performance.[25] Because of the war, Johann Georg II, unlike his father, had not travelled to Italy but had received careful musical tuition and was active as a musician. Just as his taste for innovative music is reflected in the orchestra he created, which contained a number of Italian musicians, his name is associated with a significant stage in the development of music in Dresden. It is entirely consonant with his interests that he should have commissioned a musical drama for the double wedding. In addition to the archive reference there is further material that allows us to speculate on the Electoral Prince's role in the composition of Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena. In a preface written by Schirmer to another series of festivities staged in 1655 he discusses the organisation of a group of ballets. Addressing the reader of the report he writes:

Die Ballette wirst du dir gefallen laßen / sintemal ihre Erfindung von solchen Personen herrühret / bey Denen man / ohne hohe Ungenade / der Wahrheit nicht leichtlich widersprechen kan. Die Ausarbeitung magst du nach deinem guten Verstande urtheilen.[26]

If we unravel the code it emerges that the Erfindung, theoriginal idea, which one is well advised not to criticise, was Johann Georg II's, while the Ausarbeitung, or the realization of that idea on stage, fell to Schirmer. Yet the extent to which the Electoral Prince also controlled the Ausarbeitung is indicated further on in the preface where Schirmer states that 'das Gnädigste Belieben', in other words the wishes of Johann Georg, determined the order in which the scenes were arranged.

On the basis of the archive reference and these remarks we can conclude that Johann Georg II chose the subject matter of the 1650 performance. It also seems likely that he exercised a determining influence over its presentation on stage. There are various indicators to suggest that Schirmer was required to present a particularly grandiose musical spectacle. The cast list, contained in the archive file, reveals a cast if not of thousands, then at least of parts for 117 performers - the first act alone involved 37 roles.[27] Performers included the bridegrooms and the Electoral Prince, courtiers, the court dancing-master and court musicians. The scale of the production becomes clear when one compares it to the numbers involved in the performance of Dafne, which required eight performers supported by two choruses, while Orpheus und Eurydice, a longer and more complex work than Dafne, appears to have involved about 40 roles. The story of Paris and Helen is depicted in such a way that the potential for spectacle is developed to the full. The performance begins with the enactment of the marriage between Thetis and Peleus, an event which allows for the presentation of a lavish wedding banquet at which all the gods are present who unite in a powerful chorus in honour of the married couple. In addition, the exploitation of stage technology allows for the appearance of flying cupids in the opening scenes. The judgement of Paris, depicted in the second act, shows Paris surrounded by a chorus of shepherds and shepherdesses while another group of shepheds performs a ballet, after which Mercury appears 'wie ein Blitz' (Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena, Act II, Scene 3, p. 70); presumably stage machinery was once again in operation. The abduction of Helen, subject of the third act, does not dwell on the development of the relationship between Paris and Helen. Rather, scenes are introduced which permit display. The act is not set, as one might expect, in Menelaus's home, but in a magnificent temple dedicated to Venus, while Helen's abduction involves the performance of a ballet followed by the enactment of a sea battle. These brief descriptions give us some idea of the scale and grandeur of the occasion, of the employment of stage sets and machinery, of chorus and ballet, to amaze and delight the senses. In this respect Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena anticipates the development of future German opera and Gottsched's claim that the work acted as an impetus is correct. Writing in the early eighteenth century, Barthold Feind and Christian Hunold, known as Menantes, two librettists and theorists of German opera, whose works analyse the character of German opera and offer guidelines for its construction, maintain that magnificence and liveliness are distinctive and necessary qualities of the opera stage. The librettist should create opportunities to allow 'schöne Vorstellungen', while endorsement is given to the employment of choruses and scenes of ballet, the latter providing opera with 'ein treffliches Ansehen'.[28]

If the work points to the future, how does Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena relate to earlier works performed at the Dresden court? It is certainly a much more exuberant work than Dafne which not only involved many fewer performers, but its choruses are limited to one at the end of each act and there is only one scene of dance; this is combined with the final chorus and takes the form of a dance performed by nymphs and shepherds around Dafne, now transformed into a laurel tree. Opitz's libretto betrays no particular interest in scenery or stage effects, nor is his treatment of the plot complex. While both Dafne and Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena are divided into five acts, the level of action in the earlier work is so limited that the subdivision into scenes is not required. Each act focuses on one particular event, be it Apollo's slaying of the monster, his first meeting with Dafne, or her metamorphosis into a tree. By contrast there is much more going on in each act of Schirmer's work. The first act is illustrative of this: it depicts three separate incidents and so requires subdivision into three scenes, the first depicts the wedding between Thetis and Peleus, in the second the uninvited and therefore angry Eris enters with the apple of discord, and in the third Jupiter makes his decision that Paris should judge to which goddess the apple should be awarded. The degree of similarity between Orpheus und Eurydice and Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena is much greater and despite the twelve-year gap between the two performances it seems that Buchner's work exercised a decisive influence on Schirmer. Buchner did not limit the introduction of the chorus to the end of acts, and choral scenes appear at the beginning and middle of acts as well. In order to create an immediately engaging opening Buchner introduced choruses of nymphs and shepherds into the first scene of the first act. As already commented, ballet scenes are an important component of Buchner's work. These appear, if not in all acts, then at regular intervals. In the first act, for example, the enlivening impact of the choruses is complemented by three scenes of ballet, while in Act IV, which celebrates Orpheus's return from the underworld, there are four danced scenes: Orpheus's influence over trees and stones, animals, and birds is illustrated in three scenes of ballet, and the attack of the Thracian women is also depicted in dance. In Buchner's libretto we find a number of events occur in each of the five acts, and although the use of stage scenery is not as pronounced in Orpheus und Eurydice as it is in Schirmer's work, the contrast between the initial arcadian setting and the scenes in the underworld, the savagery of the Thracian women, and Orpheus's metamorphosis into a star in the final act anticipate the later work's concern with spectacle.

This analysis points to the increased importance in ballet scenes and song, evident in the regular use of choruses in the later works, and calls for a closer inspection of these elements and their function in the 1650 performance. The fluidity of boundaries between various genres at this time has already been commented on. In an article discussing the relationship between German ballet and opera, Werner Braun points to the fact that as the century advanced, elements of opera, be it recitative or chorus, appeared in ballet, just as scenes of dance occurred in opera.[29] He argues that the crucial disctinction between the two genres is that opera was concerned with the depiction of a story and had a discernible plot, whereas ballet was concerned with the illustration of a theme. What is meant by the latter can be clearly demonstrated by reference to a ballet performed later in the 1650s at the court of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. Ballet der Zeit, written in 1655 by Duchess Sophie Elisabeth to celebrate the birthday of her husband, Duke August of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, consisted of an introductory song performed by a symbolic figure representing time, followed by a series of scenes involving disparate figures representative of those who abuse time. The final scene involved song and dance celebrating the Duke's exemplary use of time.[30] According to Braun's definition, the absence of a storyline and the representation of theme mean that this work qualifies as a ballet. If we apply the above criteria to Schirmer's work, we must categorize it as an opera in that it depicts a story using acts and scenes, although admittedly at certain points the coherence of the storyline has been sacrificed for the sake of spectacle. A large proportion of the fourth act, for example, which depicts the fall of Troy, is taken up with a horse ballet and the enactment of a foot tournament. Arguably at this point the work is illustrating the theme of war rather than telling a story. It is feasible that this loss of plot coherence points to Schirmer's response to the wishes of his patron. Just as he was required in his capacity as court poet to dedicate much of the final act to the eulogy of the Wettin dynasty, so the opening scenes of the fourth act testify to the pressure on him to produce magnificent spectacle, rather than to Schirmer's inability to fashion an engaging storyline.

Evident elsewhere in the text is Schirmer's ability to develop the dramatic potential of his material and to create exciting or moving scenes exploiting the potential of voices set to music. For example in the penultimate scene of Act IV, where Hecuba, Andromacha and Cassandra bewail the fall of Troy, he introduces a combination of duet, trio and chorus passages with refrains to punctuate Cassandra's either spoken or recitative account of death and suffering:

Andr. u. Hecu.: O Weh / und Ach / ist auch ein Joch /
Das wir nicht haben müßen tragen?
Fang an / O Volck / mit uns zu klagen /
Schlag an die Brust / rauff aus das Haar /
Du Uber-Rest der nun gefangnen Schaar.
Chor 8 Trojaner: Polyxena! O du Zeitlose!
Du Blumen-Gold! du edle Rose!
Nun ist dein Stachel-Dorn verbrannt.
Wohl dir / daß du bist so gestorben /
Weil auch zugleich mit dir verdorben /
Dein Vater / und dein Vaterland!
Cassandra: Ja / Vaterland! zwar nicht mehr Vaterland!
Ich sah dein Joch zuvor / eh es fing an zu drücken /
Wolltstu es auch erblicken?
Wo Gott abstraffen will mit seiner schweren Hand /
Da wird das Hertze blind.
Das Feuer ist nun angezündt. Dardanien / das nicht mehr ist / doch war /
War Opfer und Altar.
Alle 3: O Weh! und Ach! ist auch ein Joch!
Das wir nicht haben müßen tragen?
Fang an / O Volck / mit uns zu klagen /
Schlag an die Brust / rauff aus das Haar /
Du Uber-Rest der nun gefangnen Schaar!
Chor Trojaner: O Troja / Du nicht mehr Heldinne /
Vor sahen auff dich unsre Sinne /
Nun bist du selbst in dir verbrant.
Wohl dir / daß du so bist gestorben /
Weil auch zugleich mit dir verdorben
Die Götter / und dein Vaterland!

(Das Ballet Paris und Helena, Act IV, Scene 3)

Schirmer's sensitivity to the capacity of combinations of the human voice to achieve emotional impact encourages the intensification of the mood of suffering. Indeed the striking intensity of emotion expressed in this scene as a whole is suggestive of what was to become one of the chief features of German opera; both Menantes and particularly Feind stressed the importance of opera as a medium ideally suited to the expression of the affects or passions.[31] A hallmark of early German musical drama is the use of the Lied or song, often called Arie, although it bears no resemblance to the da-capo aria importedfrom Italy later in the century. It comprises a series of stanzas, usually of between four or eight lines, and is used by Opitz, Buchner, and Schirmer. Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena reflects Schirmer's versatility in this area, particularly his capacity to develop both the potential of the song for stage performance and the musical possibilities of having numerous performers on stage; a characteristic of Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena is the introduction of songs for more than one voice .Take for example his treatment of this song in which Helen in the company of two friends reflects on her love for Paris. It comprises seven quatrains and acts as a vehicle for the introduction of various combinations of three voices:

Helena: Mutter / deine Liebs=Flammen
Haben einmahl mich entzündt /
Laß nun ferner auch beysammen
Sie auff Felsen seyn gegründt.
1. Gespielin: Du hast aller Menschen Hertzen /
Als wie einen Ball / vor dir.
2. Gespielin: Wo du wilst im Schertz und Schmertzen /
Allda geht dein Wollen für.
An die blauen Himmels-Auen
hast du deinen Stern gesteckt
Alle zusammen: Laß ihn uns nur glücklich schauen /
Wenn er diese Welt entdeckt.
Helena: Gib den Zierrath deiner Zeiten /
1. Gespielin: Rosen durch das grüne Thal /
2. Gespielin: Blumen umb das Haar zu spreiten /
Alle: Und bekränz uns allzumahl.
Helena: Kläre das Crystall-Gewässer /
Hel. & 1. G.: Bringe Purpur-Muscheln ein.
Beyde G.: Umb die Gold und Silber-Flösser /
H. & beyde G.: Laß die Myrten fruchtbar seyn.
Hel. allein: Kröne Berge / Thal / und Hügel /
Hel. & 1. G.: Mach die Schatten-Püsche grün /
Beyde Gesp.: Und laß unter dem Geflügel
Deinen bundten Frühling blühn.
Alle: Sollen wir zum meisten gehen /
So kom selbst zu helffen her /
Es muß dir zu Dienste stehen
Himmel / Erde / Lufft / und Meer.

Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena, Act III, Scene 1)

If this song is indicative of Schirmer's readiness to provide his audience with vocal variety, a reference to the performance in the archive file suggests that he was also aware of how vocal effects could be combined with stage design so as to develop further the potential of musical drama to impress its audience: the file reports that towards the end of the performance 'Apollo singet eine Aria, worinnen die letzten drey Zeilen iedes mahl durch einen Chor im Himmel wiederholet werden'.[32]

While the above analysis points to the developing vocal texture of German musical drama and Schirmer's contribution to this, the ballet scenes occupied an important position in the performance. Each act includes at least one scene of dance, and there are seven scenes of dance, referred to as ballets, in the work as a whole. The archive file refers to a concluding 'Haupt Ballet' that is not mentioned in the printed libretto.[33] Given that both the length of the libretto and the length of the performance are known - a contemporary newspaper reported that the performance lasted from 7 o'clock in the evenening to I o'clock in the morning -, it can be deduced that these scenes of dance were not short affairs, but probably lasted longer than the other scenes involving song.[34] It is possible to ascribe at least four functions to the ballets. At the most obvious level, they were introduced to offer an element of diversity by providing a contrast with the scenes depicting the action and involving song, and serve a decorative function. It was in this principally decorative role that ballet remained a component of German opera until the eighteenth century.[35] Other ballets, while clearly enlivening the performance, complement Schirmer's text in that they contribute to the storyline. An example of this type of ballet is 'Das Ballet der Eris' in the second scene of Act I, in the course of which Eris throws the apple of discord among the assembled gods. The role of Eris was danced by Gabriel Möhlich, the court dancing-master who had been sent to train in Paris in the 1620s. At the end of Act IV Möhlich appeared as Aeneas and, according to the archive report, in the company of seven other dancers, depicted the flight from Troy. This ballet acts as link between the subject of Act IV, the fall of Troy, and Act V, Apollo's prophecy of the founding of Rome. Arguably a third function of the ballet scenes is that they contribute towards the sense of coherence uniting the disparate forms of festivity involved in the marriage celebrations as a whole, in that the court's enthusiasm for the tournament finds expression in balletic form. Act IV opens with 'der Roß-Thurnier wohl zu sehen in einem hierzu gesetzten Ballet' (Das Ballet von dem Paris undder Helena, Act IV, Scene 1, p. 87). There is no indication given in the libretto whether this refers to a mock or real equestrian ballet, yet a study of the cast list suggests that the latter possibility is in fact the case. The performers were not professional dancers, but six aristocrats, therefore by definition skilled horsemen who attired as Greeks and Trojans appeared 'zu Pferde'.[36] Moreover, the boldness of design in bringing horses onto the stage is consonant with the spectacular quality of the performance in general. The extent to which the electoral court's enthusiasm for the tournament penetrates the sphere of musical drama is also evident in the following scene, a foot tournament enacted to the accompaniment of drums. The performers were once again aristocrats. Yet on this occasion the term ballet is not applied to the scene. This suggests that the sport had been transported wholesale from the tiltyard to the stage, an understandable shift given the close connection between the levels of dexterity required in both dancing and fencing: the foot tournament may well have provided a spectacle similar in grace and skill to the ballet.Members of the electoral house, Johann Georg II, and the bridegrooms, Christian and Moritz, also appeared in the ballet scenes. They were among the Trojan knights who abducted Helen in Act III - Johann Georg assumed the role of Paris -, while they also appeared as triumphant Greek knights in the concluding Haupt Ballet. This leads to a discussion of the fourth function of the ballet scenes. In these instances, Johann Georg II employed ballet as a vehicle to display himself and his brothers in an heroic manner to his future subjects. The use of ballet as a means of celebrating the ruler and his dynasty was a characteristic feature of the French ballet de cour and the English masque. It was, however, a new departure for the electoral court. In the 1620s, when ballet was introduced into Dresden, it had been an exclusively female preserve, the pattern being that while male courtiers rode in tournaments during the day, ballets in the evening provided the opportunity for ladies of the court to perform.[37] The practice of entirely male ballet performed by members of the ruling dynasty links the Saxon ballet scenes with the very earliest German ballets performed at the courts of Darmstadt and Stuttgart before the Thirty Years' War. The similarities are striking: in the early ballets the members of the ruling houses presented themselves as knights, and in Stuttgart such scenes regularly brought performances to an end. Indeed an indication of the character of the Haupt Ballet can perhaps be inferred from a comparison with the Stuttgart ballets in which in the final scenes provided a grandiose conclusion to the work as the ruler and his brothers, attired in magnificent costume, appeared as knights and performed majestic, often intricate dances lasting for half an hour.[38]

In allowing for the grandiose self-presentation of the Prince Elector and the bridegrooms, the scenes of ballet contribute to one of the major functions of the the performance, the celebration of the electoral house. The way in which the work endorses the Elector's authority and vaunts the status of his house within the Empire as a whole has already been outlined. To complete the analysis of the work's eulogistic function and to conclude our analysis of the performance as a whole, we shall focus on the presentation of the bridal couples, an aspect which ties in closely with the role of musical drama as a vehicle of morality.

A striking feature of early German musical drama from Dafne onwards is its moral character. Feind, writing in 1705, argues that the power of music to move the soul combined with moral sentiments of poetry make an uplifting impact on even the most hardened individual.[39] In order that the moral message of Orpheus und Eurydice should achieve its full impact, Buchner draws the audience's attention to this in a series of verses in which the content of each act is described and interpreted. These were handed to the audience at the beginning of the performance. In the final verse, for example, which deals with Orpheus's immortalization as a result of his constancy, the conclusion is drawn that virtuous acts are accompanied by enduring fame. This technique is taken over by Schirmer who writes a similar series of descriptive verses to accompany the performance of Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena. The verse accompanying the fourth act warns against the negative impact of 'böse [...] Brunst' (Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena, p. 52) which has brought about the destruction of Troy. The work conveys the message that the love of the newly-weds represents the antithesis of this negative emotion. The contrast between blind, destructive passion and the positive love based on reason and virtue, a characteristic feature of seventeenth-century literature, is thus used here to celebrate the marriages within the electoral house. In this instance Schirmer is emulating a celebratory technique employed by Opitz in Dafne. Opitz prefaces his libretto with an address to the bridal couple in which he celebrates their virtues. The groom is the 'bildtnüß aller Tugendt', the 'preiß der Zeit', his bride the 'liecht der jugendt / Deß grossen Vaters lust / der werthen Mutter Ziehr' (Dafne, Aii recto). Having established their exemplary status, he goes on to draw the distinction between their ideal love based on duty, judgement, and reason, and the love of Apollo for Dafne. This contrast is developed in the prologue, a song of seven stanzas, sung by Ovid, who distinguishes between the love of the bridal couple and Apollo's doomed relationship based purely on his own pleasure. In similar fashion Schirmer focuses on the negative behaviour of Paris, whose judgement is depicted as utter folly. In Schirmer's presentation Venus is a lascivious figure whose charms lead Paris to behave irrationally so that he rejects the gifts of wisdom and reason offered by Pallas as well as Juno's promise of wealth, which Schirmer associates with the wealth of the state: in short, Schirmer's Paris is so misled by his passions that he is ready to act against the good of the state. It is stressed in Act III that his abduction of Helen is the direct result of 'Hitz' und Brunst', which bring in their wake 'Blitz / Donnerschlag / und Krachen', the fall of Troy, the destruction of the state (Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena, Act III, Scene 4, pp. 85-86). The contrasting behaviour of the bridal couples is a theme developed in both Apollo's prophecy in the final act and in the explanatory verse accompanying the act. In contradistinction to Paris's destructive passion, the love of the couples is an expression of their faith in God and is blessed by heaven, it is based on virtue and characterized by its purity. Above all, it is associated with the health and growth of the dynasty. As a result of these marriages based on values endorsed by society the branches of the Saxon rue will continue to blossom and grow in perpetuity:

Apollo: Der frische Rauten-Stock wird an den Himmel gehn /
Die Pflantzen werden umb den Strand der Elbe günen /
Die Zweige hin und her zu süßen Schatten dienen;
Das Zeichen keuscher Brunst wird stets voll Liebe seyn /
Und / wie mein Lorber-Krantz / viel Siege tragen ein.
Der Rauten-Stam schlägt weiter aus /
Dein hochgesetztes Strahlen-Hauß
Mit Sternen zu bewachen.
Ich sehe schon / wie die Wurtzel grünt /
Die wieder Gifft und Galle dient /
Gantz Deutschland zu erquicken.
Wohlan / Es ist der Götter Schluß:
Der grüne Rauten-Stam der muß
Sich ewig laßen blicken!

(Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena, Act V, p. 101 & p. 103)


[1] For a discussion of the development of opera at the courts in Vienna, Munich and Hanover see Herbert Seifert, Die Oper am Wiener Kaiserhof im 17. Jahrhundert, Wiener Veröffentlichungen zur Musikwissenschaft (Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1985); Eberhard Straub, Repraesentatio Maiestatis oder churbayerische Freudenfeste: Die höfischen Feste in der Münchener Residenz vom 16. bis zum Ende des 18 Jahrhunderts (Munich: Stadtarchiv, 1969); Rosenmarie E. Wallbrecht, Das Theater des Barockzeitalters an den welfischen Höfen Hannover und Celle, Quellen und Darstellungen zur Geschichte Niedersachsens, 83 (Hildesheim: August Lax Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1974); Sara Smart, Doppelte Freude der Musen: Court Festivities in Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel 1642-1700, Wolfenbütteler Arbeiten zur Barockforschung, 19 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1989).

[2] See Straub, op. cit., p. 171.

[3] Wolfram Steude, 'Heinrich Schütz und die erste deutsche Oper', in Von Isaac bis Bach: Studien zur älteren deutschen Musikgeschichte. Festschrift Martin Just zum 60. Geburtstag, edited by Frank Heidelberger et al. (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1991), pp. 169-79.

[4] Werner Braun, 'Opera in the Empire', in Spectaculum Europaeum: Theatre and Spectacle in Europe (1580-1750), edited by Pierre Béhar and Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999), pp. 437-64 (p. 438).

[5] Steude, op. cit., p. 174.

[6] Joshua Rifkin & Colin Timms, 'Heinrich Schütz', in The New Grove: North European Masters, Schütz, Froberger, Buxtehude, Purcell, Telemann, edited by Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan Papermac, 1985), pp. 1-150 (p. 14).

[7] Jean Louis Sponsel, Der Zwinger: Die Hoffeste und die Scloßbaupläne zu Dresden , 2 vols (Dresden: Stengel, 1924), I, 24.

[8] See Günter Barudio, 'Die Elbe in Flammen: Fürstenhochzeit Georg von Hessen-Darmstadt und Sophie von Sachsen im Jahre 1627', in Das Fest: Eine Kulturgeschichte von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, edited by Uwe Schultz (Munich: Beck, 1988), pp. 175-85 for a discussion of the festivities accompanying this wedding. Further information can be found in Moritz Fürstenau, Zur Geschichte der Musik und des Theaters am Hofe zu Dresden, reprint of original edition of 1861-62, edited by Wolfgang Reich, 2 vols (Leipzig: Edition Peters, 1971), I, 161.

[9] The quotation from the Hofdiarium is taken from Fürstenau, op. cit., p. 98. The details of the title page of Opitz's librettoare as follows: 'Dafne. Auff dess Durchlauchtigen / Hochgebornen Fürstenund Herrn / Herrn Georgen / Landtgrafen zu Hessen / Grafen zu Catzenelnbogen / Dietz / Ziegenhain und Nidda; Und Der Durchlauchtigen / Hochgebornen Fürstinn und Fräwlein / Fräwlein Sophien Eleonoren / Hertzogin zu Sachsen / Gülich / Cleve und Bergen / Landtgräfinn in Thüringen / Marggräfinn zu Meissen / Gräfinn zu der Marck unnd Ravenspurg / Fräwlein zu Ravenstein Beylager: Durch Heinrich Schützen / Churfürstl. Sächs. Capellmeistern Musicalisch in den Schawplatz zu bringen/ Auß mehrentheils eigener erfindung geschrieben von Martin Opitzen. In Vorlegung David Müllers / Buchführers in Breßlaw'. The reference is to be found on Aii verso. This copy is in the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, under the catalogue reference 65.6 Poetica.

[10] This quotation is to be found in the notes accompanying a nineteenth-century edition of the text: 'August Buchner: Orpheus und Eurydice', Weimarisches Jahrbuch für deutsche Sprache, Literatur und Kunst, edited by Hoffmann von Fallersleben & Oskar Schade, 2 (1855), 1-39 (p. 39).

[11] Johann Christoph Gottsched, Nöthiger Vorrath zur Geschichte der deutschen dramatischen Dichtkunst oder Verzeichniß aller deutschen Trauer- Lust - und Singe-Spiele, 2 vols (Leipzig: J. M. Teubner, 1757-65), I, 203.

[12] Judith P. Aikin, 'The Musical-Dramatic Works of David Schirmer', Daphnis: Zeitschrift für Mittlere Deutsche Literatur, 26, no. 2-3 (1997), 401-35 (p. 405).

[13]]Ibid. See Anthony J. Harper, David Schirmer A Poet of the German Baroque, Stuttgarter Arbeiten zur Germanistik, 32 (Stuttgart: Akademischer Verlag Hans-Dieter Heinz, 1977), p. 108.

[14] Schirmer, the son of a clergyman of the same name who was also active as a poet, was educated at the Gymnasium in Halle where he was taught by Chritian Gueintz, a patriotic linguist and noted grammarian. As a student in Wittenberg he attended Buchner's influential lectures on German poetics. Testimony to the impact of this education is Schirmer's acceptance in 1647 into the Deutschgesinnte Genossenschaft, a Sprachgesellschaft set up by the philologist and poet, Philipp von Zesen, with the aim of regeneratingboth the German language and German cultural values.

[15] The details of the title page of this work are as follows: 'David Schirmers Churfürstlichen Sächsischen Bibliothecarii Poetische Rauten-Gepüsche in Sieben Büchern herausgegeben'. Dreßden / verlegt von Andreas Löfflern / Buchhändlern / und gedruckt bey Melchior bergen / Churf. Sächs Hoff-Buchdr. 1663'. Das Ballet von dem Paris und derHelena can be found in the first book, pp. 50-103. Act and scene references will be supplied in brackets in the text of the article.

[16] See Wolfram Steude, 'Zur Musik am sächsischen Hof in Dresden während der Regierung Kurfürst Johann Georgs II', Dresdner Hefte: Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte, 11. Jahrgang, 33, no. 1 (1993), 69-79 (p. 73) for discussion ofthe likely composer of Das Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena.

[17] The full title of the report is as follows: 'Beylager des Hertzogs Christiani zu Sachßen mit Frl: Christianen Hertzogin zu Schleßwig Hollstein / Ingleichen Hertzog Moritzens zu Sachßen / mit Frl: Sophien Hedwigen / Hertzogin zu Schleßwig Hollstein / in Dreßen / Anno 1650. und anders mehr'. It is to be found in the Staatsarchiv Dresden under the reference Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10. The quotation is on Blatt 58.

[18] See Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly, Triumphall Shews: Tournaments at German-speaking Courts in their European Context 1560-1730 (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1992), pp. 13-35 for a discussion of the relationship between the tournament and military action.

[19] Staatsarchiv Dresden, Oberhofmarschallamt B No. 10, Blatt 73.

[20] Staatsarchiv Dresden, Oberhofmarschallamt B No. 10, Blatt 163-64.

[21] See The Thirty Years' War, edited by Geoffrey Parker, second edition (London/New York: Routledge, 1997) for discussion of Ferdinand's education and his role as a leader of the Counter-Reformation (p. 76), of Johann Georg I's concern to maintain peace and his attitude towards the Emperor (p. 85) and of his antipathy towards Calvinists (p. 103).

[22]Ibid., pp. 108-13 for discussion of the circumstances leading to the entry of Saxony into the Thirty Years' War in support of the Swedes under Gustavus Adolphus. See Rudolf Kötzschke, Hellmut Kretzschmar, Sächsische Geschichte (Augsburg: Weltbild Verlag, 1995), pp. 247-49 for details ofJohann Georg I's negotiations with the Emperor in 1634 and the devastation of Saxony by the Swedes.

[23] See Parker, op. cit., p. 164 for discussion of the rise of Brandenburgas a consequence of the Peace of Westphalia.

[24] Staastsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 74.

[25] See Walter May, 'Die höfische Architektur in Dresden zur Zeit Johann Georgs II', Dresdner Hefte: Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte, 11. Jahrgang, 33, no. 1 (1993), 42-52 for discussion of the refurbishment of the Riesensaal under Johann Georg I. See also Fürstenau, op. cit., p. 109, who reports that 'der Saal war sehr groß: 17 Ellen hoch, 100 Ellen8 Zoll lang und 23 Ellen breit'.

[26] This reference is contained in a preface to the description of a series of festivities held to celebrate the visit to Dresden of Johann Georg I's daughter, Sophie Eleonore, and her husband, Landgrave Georg of Hessen-Darmstadt. See David Schirmer, op. cit., fourth book, pp. 283-84.

[27] Staatsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 182-184. See Fürstenau, op. cit., pp. 119-26 for a published record of this cast list.

[28] See Barthold Feind, Deutsche Gedichte / Bestehend in Musicalischen Schau-Spielen / Lob-Glückwünschungens-Verliebten und Moralischen Gedichten / Ernst- und schertzhafften Sinn- und Grabschrifften / Satyren / Cantaten und allerhand Gattungen. Sammt einer Vorrede von dem Temperament und Gemüths-Beschaffenheit eines Poeten / und Gedancken von der Opera (Stade: H. Brummer, 1708), p. 112 for discussion ofthe importance of enlivening stage effects. See Menantes, Die Allerneueste Art / Zur Reinen und Galanten Poesie zu gelangen. Allen Edlen und dieser Wissenschaft geneigten Gemüthern / zum Vollkommenen Unterricht / Mit überaus deutlichen Regeln / und angenehmen Exempeln ans Licht gestellt (Hamburg: G. Liebernickel, 1707:), p. 407 for a discussion of the importance of the introduction of scenes of ballet into opera. See Sara Smart, 'Die Oper und die Arie um 1700. Zu den Aufgaben des Librettisten und zur Form und Rolle der Arie am Beispiel der Braunschweiger und Hamburger Oper', in Studien zum deutschen weltlichen Kunstlied des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, edited by Gudrun Busch & Anthony J. Harper, Chloe Beihefte zum Daphnis, 12 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1992), pp. 183-212 for an assessment of the theories of Feind and Menantes.

[29] Werner Braun, 'Zur Gattungsproblematik des Singballets', Kieler Schriften zur Musikwissenscaft, 26 (1982), 41-50.

[30] See 'Ballet der Zeit / Wie nemblich dieselble übel und wol angeleget werde / getantzet / Als Der Durchläuchtige Fürst und Herr / Herr Augustus / Hertzogen zu Brunswyg und Lunäburg / Seinen sieben und siebentzigsten Geburts-Tage begienge Den 1. May, Im 1655 Jahre', in Sophie Elisabeth, Herzogin zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg Dichtungen Erster Band: Spiele, edited by Hans-Gert Roloff, Europäische Hochschulschriften, Reihe 1, Deutsche Literatur und Germanistik, 329 (Frankfurt a. M./ Bern/Cirencester: Lang, 1980), pp. 67-84.

[31] See Feind, op. cit., p. 108.

[32] Staatsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 186.

[33] Staarsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 186.

[34] Fürstenau, op. cit., p. 126 includes the report in the Frankfurter Relationen which also points to the potential danger involved in staging such a spectacular work: 'Montags drauf den 2 December wurde nach 7 Uhr Abends das fürstliche Ballet vorzustellen angefangen, wobey eine große Menge Volks gewesen, das hat gewähret bis nach 1 Uhr gegen Morgen und ist alles wohl ohne Schaden abgegangen, welches dann bey so vielem Feuer und Licht Männiglich Wunder genommen'. See Harper, op. cit., p. 108 for assessment of the duration of the scenes of ballet.

[35] See Sara Smart: 'Ballet in the Empire', in Spectaculum Europaeum, pp. 547-70 (p. 558).

[36] Staatsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 183.

[37] See Smart, 'Ballet in the Empire', p. 551.

[38] As part of the festivites to celebrate the marriage of Duke Johann Friedrich of Württemberg in 1609 a ballet was performed which concluded with the appearance of the bridegroom and his brothers as embodiments of knightly values who performed a dance of thirty minutes' duration. The practice ofintroducing a concluding scene danced bymale members of the ducal family is a characteristic feature of Georg Weckherlin's ballets of 1616, 1617, and 1618, all of which were performed to celebrate marriages or births within the ducal house. Weckherlin described the final scene of the 1618 ballet in the following terms: 'die Ritter ... verrichteten ihr Balleth mit sonderlicher / unvermehrlicher zierlichkeit / und künstlicher geschwindigkeit und disposition'. See Stuttgarter Hoffeste, Texte und Materialien zur höfischen Repräsentation im frühen 17. Jahrhundert, edited by Ludwig Krapf & Christian Wagenknecht (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1979), p. 307.

[39] See Barthold Feind, Die Römische Unruhe. Oder: Die Edelmüthige Octavia Musicalisches Schauspiel (Hamburg, 1705), Hiii recto.

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Aurifex, Department of English & Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, SE14 6NW, UK

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