1st Edition

Medievalism and Nationalism in German Opera Euryanthe to Lohengrin

By Michael S. Richardson Copyright 2021
    200 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    200 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Medievalism, or the reception or interpretation of the Middle Ages, was a prominent aesthetic for German opera composers in the first half of the nineteenth century. A healthy competition to establish a Germanic operatic repertory arose at this time, and fascination with medieval times served a critical role in shaping the desire for a unified national and cultural identity. Using operas by Weber, Schubert, Marshner, Wagner, and Schumann as case studies, Richardson investigates what historical information was available to German composers in their recreations of medieval music, and whether or not such information had any demonstrable effect on their compositions. The significant role that nationalism played in the choice of medieval subject matter for opera is also examined, along with how audiences and critics responded to the medieval milieu of these works.

    In this book, readers will gain a clear understanding of the rise of German opera in the early nineteenth century and the cultural and historical context in which this occurred. This book will also provide insight on the reception of medieval history and medieval music in nineteenth-century Germany, and will demonstrate how medievalism and nationalism were mutually reinforcing phenomena at this time and place in history.

    Chapter 1: German Opera, the Rediscovery of the Middle Ages, and the Building of a
    Chapter 2: Medieval Song I: Diegetic Portrayals of Minnesang in Weber’s Euryanthe and Wagner’s
    Chapter 3: Medieval Song II: Folk Song and the Lied in Schubert’s Fierrabras
    Chapter 4: Christianity: Church Music as a Signifier of “Pastness” in Schumann’s Genoveva
    Chapter 5: Chivalry: Masculinity and Nation in Marschner’s Der Templer und die Jüdin and Wagner’s
    Chapter 6: The Drive Toward Unification, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Modern


    Michael Richardson completed his PhD in Music History and Theory from Stony Brook University, USA in 2015. He received a DAAD grant to conduct dissertation research in Germany for the 2012/13 academic year under the guidance of Annette Kreutziger-Herr. His research interests include late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German, French, and Russian opera, nineteenth-century European folklorism and nationalism, medievalism and medieval music reception. He has given talks at a number of domestic and international conferences, including at AMS Milwaukee in 2014, Oxford University, and St. Petersburg, Russia.