Bastien und Bastienne

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Bastien und Bastienne (Bastien and Bastienne), K. 50 (revised in 1964 to K. 46b) is a one-act singspiel, a comic opera, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Bastien und Bastienne was one of Mozart's earliest operas, written in 1768 when he was only twelve years old. It was allegedly commissioned by Viennese physician and 'magnetist' Dr. Franz Mesmer (who himself would later be parodied in Così fan tutte) as a satire of the 'pastoral' genre then prevalent, and specifically as a parody of the opera Le devin du village by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.[1] The German libretto is by Friedrich Wilhelm Weiskern, Johann Heinrich Friedrich Müller (de) and Johann Andreas Schachtner, based on Les Amours de Bastien et Bastienne by Justine Favart and Harny de Guerville (fr). After its supposed premiere in Mesmer's garden theater (that is only corroborated by an unverified account of Nissen), it was not revived again until 1890. It is not clear whether this piece was performed in Mozart's lifetime. The first known performance was on 2 October 1890 at Architektenhaus in Berlin.[2]

The opera is written in both French and German manners. Many of the melodies are French in manner, but Bastienne's first aria is true German lied. This melody is also used in Mozart's Trio in G for Piano, Violin and Violoncello, K. 564 (1788). Another purely German lied is Bastienne's aria "I feel certain of his heart".[1] Mozart utilizes the orchestra sparingly, with the exception of the reconciliation scene.[1]

Mozart's overture uses the same opening theme as Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, the Eroica.[1] It is doubtful that Beethoven was familiar with this then unpublished piece. A likely explanation is that both composers took the theme from another unknown source.

Although he was very young, Mozart already had excellent vocal writing skills and a knack for parody and whimsy which would reach full flower in his later works. Bastien und Bastienne is possibly the easiest to perform of Mozart's juvenile works.

Roles[edit]

Shepherd and Shepherdess Reposing (1761), François Boucher
Role Voice type Premiere cast, 2 October 1890
(Conductor: – )
Bastienne, a shepherdess soprano
Bastien, her lover tenor
Colas, a quack magician bass

Synopsis[edit]

Place: A pastoral village
Time: Indeterminate

Bastienne, a shepherdess, fears that her "dearest friend", Bastien, has forsaken her for another pretty face, and decides to go into the pasture to be comforted by her flock of lambs.

Before she can leave, however, she runs into Colas, the village soothsayer. Bastienne requests the help of his magical powers to help win back her Bastien. Colas (being a soothsayer) knows all about the problem, and comforts her with the knowledge that Bastien has not abandoned her, rather, he's merely been distracted lately by 'the lady of the manor'. His advice is to act coldly towards Bastien, which will make him come running back.

Bastien is heard approaching, so Bastienne hides herself. Bastien swaggers in, proclaiming how much he loves Bastienne. Colas informs him that Bastienne has a new lover. Bastien is shocked and asks the magician for help.

Colas opens his book of spells and recites a nonsense aria filled with random syllables and Latin quotations. Colas declares the spell a success and that Bastienne is in love with Bastien once more. Bastienne, however, decides to keep up the game a bit longer and spurns Bastien with great vehemence. Bastien threatens suicide, which Bastienne merely shrugs off.

Finally, the two decide that they have gone far enough and agree to reconcile. Colas joins them as they all sing a final trio in praise of the magician.

Noted arias[edit]

Recordings[edit]

Year Cast
(Bastien, Bastienne, Colas)
Conductor,
Orchestra
Label[3]
Catalogue number
c. 1940[4] Paul Derenne
Martha Angelici
André Monde
Gustave Cloëz
Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris
78rpm set: L'Anthologie Sonore
Cat: FA 801-806[5]
1952 Waldemar Kmentt
Ilse Hollweg
Walter Berry
Sir John Pritchard
Wiener Symphoniker
LP: Philips
Cat: ABL 3010
1956 Richard Holm
Rita Streich
Toni Blankenheim
Christoph Stepp
Münchner Kammerorchester
CD: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: 474 738 2
1957 Three soloists of Wiener Sängerknaben Edouard Lindenberg
Wiener Kammerorchester
LP: Philips
1965 Peter Schreier
Adele Stolte
Theo Adam
Helmut Koch
Kammerorchester Berlin
CD: Berlin Classics
Cat: 0091292 BC
1969 Thomas Lehrberger
Ileana Cotrubaș
Peter van der Bilt
Leopold Hager
Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg
CD: ORFEO
Cat: C 705061 B
1976 Claes H. Ahnsjo
Edith Mathis
Walter Berry
Leopold Hager
Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg
LP: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: 2537 038
1976 Adolf Dallapozza
Brigitte Lindner
Kurt Moll
Eberhard Schoener
Bayerisches Staatsorchester
LP: EMI Electrola
Cat: 1C 065 30231
1986 Three soloists of Wiener Sängerknaben:
Dominik Orieschnig
Georg Nigl
David Busch
Uwe Christian Harrer
Wiener Symphoniker
CD: Philips
Cat: 422 527-2
1989 Vinson Cole
Edita Gruberová
László Polgár
Raymond Leppard
Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
CD: Sony Classical
Cat: 45855
1990 Ralph Eschrig
Dagmar Schellenberger
René Pape
Max Pommer
Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig
CD: Berlin Classics
Cat: 0010102BC
1991 Dongkyu Choy
Eva Kirchner
Thomas Müller De Vries
René Clemencic
Alpe Adria Ensemble
CD: Nuova Era
Cat: 7344
2006 Bernhard Berchtold
Evmorfia Metaxaki
Radu Cojocariu
Elisabeth Fuchs
Junge Philharmonie Salzburg
DVD: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: 000440 073 4244 2

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Bastien et Bastienne (Media notes). Paul Derenne, Martha Angelici, André Monde, Gustave Cloëz orchestra. L'Anthologie Sonore. 1940. FA 801-806. 
  2. ^ History of the opera from opera.stanford.edu
  3. ^ "Bastien und Bastienne discography". www.operadis-opera-discography.org.uk. Archived from the original on 14 October 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Roberge, Pierre-F. "W. A. Mozart: Bastien et Bastienne". Medieval Music & Arts Foundation. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ Settlemier, Tyrone (March 7, 2012). "L'Anthologie sonore 78rpm numerical listing discography". The Online Discographical Project. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 

Sources

External links[edit]