Don Quixote (opera)

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Don Quixote, Op. 50 is an opera in three acts by Wilhelm Kienzl. The libretto, written by the composer, is based on the novel by Miguel de Cervantes.[1]

Composition history[edit]

Kienzl composed the opera in 1896, completing the full score on 9 October 1897, the 350th birthday of Cervantes (according to the composer's note in the score Cervantes was born on 9 October 1547). He dedicated the opera to "den Manen des grossen Cervantes" ("the Manes of the great Cervantes").[2][3] The score was published by Musikverlages Bote & G. Bock Berlin GmbH, now part of Boosey & Hawkes.[4]

Performance history[edit]

The opera was first performed at the Neues Königliches Opernhaus (Königliche Hofoper) in Berlin on 18 November 1898 with Carl Muck conducting.[4] It was not favourably received by the audience, nor by the Berlin press, and only four more performances followed. The fifth performance was (and still remains) the last fully staged one of the complete unabbreviated work, which takes over three hours (without intermission). Kienzl abbreviated the work for a performance the same year at the Neues Deutsches Theater in Prague; again the reception was divided. Although a production run in Graz in 1905 met with greater success, the opera was not staged again for almost thirty years. A new abbreviated version was premiered in Graz on 1 May 1934, and then at the Vienna State Opera on 22 November 1936.[3]

The only production in a non-German speaking country was in Moscow in 1911.[3]

The opera was revived in a concert performance conducted by Gustav Kuhn at the Konzerthaus Berlin on 22 March 1998. (see also section Recordings)


Role[2] Voice type[2] Premiere Cast[3]
18 November 1898
(Conductor: Carl Muck)
Alonzo Quixano, an elderly squire, named "Don Quixote de la Mancha" character baritone Hermann Bachmann
Mercedes, his niece mezzo-soprano
Sancho Pansa, a peasant buffo tenor Julius Lieban
The duke lyric tenor Robert Philipp
The duchess high soprano Therese Rothauser
Don Clavijo, the duke's chamberlain bass Rudolf Krasa
Carrasco, barber lyric baritone Paul Bulss
Tirante, innkeeper buffo bass Emil Stammer
Maritornes, his daughter, a waitress soprano Emilie Herzog
Aldonza, a waitress contralto
A messenger bass
Kitchen boy soprano
Frasquita, Rosita, Marieta, Juanita, the duchess's maids soprano & contralto Marie Dietrich, Thessa Gradl


The orchestral score requires:


In 2002 CPO released a recording made during rehearsals and concert performance (19–22 March 1998) of the revival in Berlin with Gustav Kuhn conducting the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. The principal roles were sung by Thomas Mohr (Don Quixote), Michelle Breedt (Mercedes) and James Wagner (Sancho Pansa).[5][6]


  1. ^ Kienzl, Wilhelm (1897). Don Quixote. Berlin: E. Bote & G. Bock.
  2. ^ a b c "Don Quixote, Op.50 (Kienzl, Wilhelm)". IMSLP / Bote & G. Bock Berlin. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Peter P. Pachl (2002). Don Quixote (CD liner). Wilhelm Kienzl. Germany: CPO. 999873-2.
  4. ^ a b c "Wilhelm Kienzl - Don Quixote - Opera". United Kingdom: Boosey & Hawkes. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Kienzl - Don Quixote - review". BBC Music Magazine. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  6. ^ Robert Levine. "Kienzl - Don Quixote - review". Classics Today. Retrieved 19 August 2010.