Carl Maria von Weber – Euryanthe, Op. 81
Euryanthe is a German “grand, heroic, romantic” opera by Carl Maria von Weber, first performed at the Theater am Kärntnertor, Vienna on 25 October 1823. Though acknowledged as one of Weber’s most important operas, the work is rarely staged because of the weak libretto by Helmina von Chézy (who, incidentally, was also the author of the failed play Rosamunde, for which Franz Schubert wrote music). Euryanthe is based on the 13th-century French romance L’Histoire du très-noble et chevalereux prince Gérard, comte de Nevers et la très-virtueuse et très chaste princesse Euriant de Savoye, sa mye.
Only the overture, an outstanding example of the early German Romantic style (heralding Richard Wagner), is regularly played today. Like Schubert’s lesser-known Alfonso und Estrella, of the same time and place (Vienna, 1822), Euryanthe parts with the German Singspiel tradition, adopting a musical approach without the interruption of spoken dialogue characteristic of earlier German language operas such as Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Beethoven’s Fidelio, and Weber’s own Der Freischütz.