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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Buchner's work was referred to in a contemporary report as 'ein stattliches
mit unterschiedenen Abwechslungen und 10 Balleten, auch einer wohl
disponirten Action von dem Orpheo und
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
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.
Yet she also uses the more flexible term of opera-ballet, while Anthony
Harper describes the work as a ballet-opera.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Dresden file refers, for example, to the Invention von Castor und Pollux
and the Invention von Hercule und Admeto.
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.
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'.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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'.
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
||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.
||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!
||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. 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:
||Mutter / deine Liebs=Flammen
Haben einmahl mich entzündt /
Laß nun ferner auch beysammen
Sie auff Felsen seyn gegründt.
|| 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.
||Gib den Zierrath deiner Zeiten /
| 1. Gespielin:
||Rosen durch das grüne Thal /
| 2. Gespielin:
||Blumen umb das Haar zu spreiten /
||Und bekränz uns allzumahl.
||Kläre das Crystall-Gewässer /
|Hel. & 1. G.:
||Bringe Purpur-Muscheln ein.
||Umb die Gold und Silber-Flösser /
|H. & beyde G.:
||Laß die Myrten fruchtbar seyn.
||Kröne Berge / Thal / und Hügel /
|Hel. & 1. G.:
||Mach die Schatten-Püsche grün /
||Und laß unter dem Geflügel
Deinen bundten Frühling blühn.
||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)
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'.
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.
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.
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
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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:
||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!
Ballet von dem Paris und der Helena, Act V, p. 101 & p. 103)
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:
See Straub, op. cit., p. 171.
Wolfram Steude, 'Heinrich Schütz und die erste deutsche Oper', in
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.
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
Steude, op. cit., p. 174.
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).
Jean Louis Sponsel, Der Zwinger: Die Hoffeste und die Scloßbaupläne
zu Dresden , 2 vols (Dresden: Stengel, 1924), I, 24.
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,
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.
The quotation from the Hofdiarium is taken from Fürstenau,
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.
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).
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),
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).
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.
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
up by the philologist and poet, Philipp von Zesen, with the aim of regeneratingboth
the German language and German cultural values.
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
be found in the first book, pp. 50-103. Act and scene references
will be supplied in brackets in the text of the article.
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.
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.
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.
Staatsarchiv Dresden, Oberhofmarschallamt B No. 10, Blatt 73.
Staatsarchiv Dresden, Oberhofmarschallamt B No. 10, Blatt 163-64.
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).
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.
See Parker, op. cit., p. 164 for discussion of the rise of Brandenburgas
a consequence of the Peace of Westphalia.
Staastsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 74.
See Walter May, 'Die höfische Architektur in Dresden zur Zeit Johann
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,
cit., p. 109, who reports that 'der Saal war sehr groß: 17 Ellen
hoch, 100 Ellen8 Zoll lang und 23
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.
Staatsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 182-184. See Fürstenau,
cit., pp. 119-26 for a published record of this cast list.
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.
Werner Braun, 'Zur Gattungsproblematik des Singballets', Kieler Schriften
zur Musikwissenscaft, 26 (1982), 41-50.
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.
See Feind, op. cit., p. 108.
Staatsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 186.
Staarsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 186.
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.
See Sara Smart: 'Ballet in the Empire', in Spectaculum Europaeum,
pp. 547-70 (p. 558).
Staatsarchiv Dresden Oberhofmarschallamt B Nr. 10, Blatt 183.
See Smart, 'Ballet in the Empire', p. 551.
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.
See Barthold Feind, Die Römische Unruhe. Oder: Die Edelmüthige
Octavia Musicalisches Schauspiel (Hamburg, 1705), Hiii recto.
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