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Picture of Jephtas Gelüdbe Oper in drei Aufzügen

Jephtas Gelüdbe Oper in drei Aufzügen

Author(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier

Book Description

Meyerbeer’s first opera, Jephtas Gelübde, has a libretto by the German academic Alois Schreiber, based on a Biblical theme taken from chapters 11-12 of the Book of Judges. The conflict between paternal love and love of country intrinsic to this scenario was also chosen by Meyerbeer as the basic theme of his opera, and is reflected in the overture, a symphonic anticipation of the essential features of the action.

The opera, whose final rehearsals were conducted by the composer in person, was admirably produced by the Munich Court Opera on 23 December 1812, but on account of its novelty met with indifference, so that it was withdrawn. A newspaper report did, however, observe: “A delicate sensibility, united to a profound and mature insight into the workings of the impassioned human heart, is manifested throughout in a grand and elevated style that gives promise of something great in the future.” This score contains the seeds of the whole of Meyerbeer’s future development. It is impossible to conceive of Meyerbeer's progress to mastership without the Jephta score.

Meyerbeer was responding to the heritage of his predecessors—the Handel of the oratorios (in the depiction of grandiose biblical drama), and the Gluck of the tragédie lyrique (in the depth of both public and private emotional exploration), but also alert to issues in contemporary opera, like the Rescus Motif and development of the villain. There is also evidence of Meyerbeer’s famed orchestral virtuosity and imagination already at work. In his psychological exploration, Meyerbeer already begins to use thematic tagging and forshadowing most imaginatively, and points the way far beyond Gluck, in the direction of Weber-Wagner.


ISBN-13: 978-1-8471-8463-4
ISBN-10: 1-84718-463-4
Date of Publication: 01/02/2008
Pages / Size: 690 / A4 portrait
Price: £79.99


Robert Ignatius Letellier was born in Durban on 11 August 1953, and educated in Grahamstown, Cambridge, Salzburg, Rome and Jerusalem. He is a member of Trinity College (Cambridge), the Salzburg Centre for Research in the Early English Novel (University of Salzburg), the Maryvale Institute (Birmingham), and the Institute for Continuing Education at Madingley Hall (Cambridge). Publications include books and articles on the late-seventeenth-, eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novel (particularly the Gothic novel and Sir Walter Scott), the Bible, and European culture—with special emphasis on the Romantic opera and ballet, particularly the work of Giacomo Meyerbeer (a four-volume English edition of his diaries, a collection of studies, a reading of the operas, and a guide to research).