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Der Prinz von Homburg

Der Prinz von Homburg

Oper in drei Akten und neun Bildern nach dem Schauspiel von Heinrich von Kleist

für Musik eingerichtet von Ingeborg Bachmann

Französische Textfassung von Janine Reiss


  • Edition: performance material
  • Language: German • French
  • Order No.: LS 2074-02

Description
The setting is near Fehrbellin and Berlin in the year 1675. The young Prince of Homburg experiences one of his periodical somnambulistic states in which he sees himself as the victor of the approaching battle. Whilst still caught up in his dreams, he misinterprets a joke made by the Elector and imagines that the latter has brought him together with the Elector’s niece Natalie with whom he is passionately enamoured. In a state of bewilderment following his rejection by Natalie, he omits to hear the Field Marshall’s order not to intervene in the battle until the Elector gives a specific command. The Prince observes the progress of the battle and issues an independent order to attack to his regiment. The battle concludes with a glorious victory; the Elector is however believed to have been killed in action. While the Prince is assuring Natalie and the Electress of his support, the Elector appears unexpectedly; his horse had been shot under him in battle. He has the Prince arrested on charges of insubordination. 
The court martial sentences the Prince to death. There are plans for Natalie to be given in marriage to the King of Sweden as a security for peace. The Prince pleads for mercy from the Electress and Natalie appeals to the Elector for clemency. The Elector agrees on one condition: if the Prince declares the judgement to be unjust, he will be pardoned. The Prince rejects this suggestion: he is prepared to suffer for his error. The Elector asks the officers if they still retain their respect for the Prince and the officers give their unconditional affirmation. The Elector tears up the death sentence document. Disassociated from reality by his somnambulism, the Prince awaits his death. He does not notice the Elector and his court approaching, accompanied by Natalie who crowns the Prince with a laurel wreath: his dream has become reality. 

Henze was inspired to compose the opera Der Prinz von Homburg by Luchino Visconti with whom he had collaborated on the ballet Maratona di Danza in 1957. Particularly in the dream sequences, he is ingenious in his utilisation of shimmering complex tonal textures to create a highly impressive musical illustration of the somnambulistic character of the Prince. 

"The Prince of Homburg, our cousin, the Hamlet of the Mark Brandenburg, is the hero of my new opera. […] It is quite plausible to abstract the world which Kleist has created in his work beyond the confines of its Prussian background. […] The “Prince of Homburg” focuses on the glorification of a dreamer, the destruction of the traditional concept of a classical hero: the essence is the blind and unimaginative application of laws and the glorification of human benevolence whose comprehension also strays into more profound and complex areas than would be “normal” and permits a man to find his place in the world despite being a dreamer and sentimentalist, or maybe precisely because of this. The concluding rallying cry “In Staub mit allen Feinden Brandenburgs!” [Down with the foes of Brandenburg!] in favour of this ideal nation in which (according to Kleist) love, understanding, forgiveness and mercy play such a substantial role, is also a tilt at the rigidity and indolence of the “reason of state” and forms a terrible dissonance to the cabinet order issued by the prominent ruler of this promised land of Brandenburg. [Henze is referring here to the cabinet order issued on 1 August 1828 banning all performances of the “Prinz von Homburg” in Brandenburg, Editor’s note]. The caustic double meaning hardly needs to be underlined: it continues to manifest itself with all its menace even in our own times."
Details
Performance duration: 130' 0"
Publisher: Schott Music
Uraufführung : 22. Mai 1960 Hamburg, Staatsoper (D) · Dirigent: Leopold Ludwig · Inszenierung: Helmut Käutner · Kostüme: Alfred Siercke · Bühnenbild: Alfred Siercke
Year of composition: 1958 - 1959
instrumentation: 3 (2. auch Picc. u. Altfl., 3. auch Picc., Alt- u. Tenorblfl.) · 1 · Engl. Hr. · 1 · Bassklar. · Altsax. · 2 (2. auch Kfg.) - 4 · 2 · 2 · 1 - P. S. (Trgl. · Röhrengl. · 2 Almgl. · hg. Beck. · Beckenpaar · 3 Tamt. · 3 Tomt. · Schellentr. · Mil. Tr. · 2 Rührtr. · gr. Tr. · Rute · Glsp.) (3 Spieler) - 2 Hfn. · Klav. (auch Cel.) - Str. -
Bühnenmusik: 1 · 1 · 1 · 1 - 1 · 2 · 0 · 0 - S. (kl. Tr.) - Vl. · Va. · Vc.
occupation: Friedrich Wilhelm, Kurfürst von Brandenburg · Heldentenor - Die Kurfürstin · Alt - Prinzessin Natalie von Oranien · Sopran - Feldmarschall Dörfling · Bariton - Prinz Friedrich Artur von Homburg · hoher Bariton - Obrist Kottwitz · Bass - Graf Hohenzollern · lyrischer Tenor - 1. Offizier · Tenor - 2. Offizier · Bariton - 3. Offizier · Bass - 1. Hofdame · Sopran - 2. Hofdame · Mezzosopran - 3. Hofdame · Alt - Wachtmeister · Bariton - 1. Heiduck · Tenor - 2. Heiduck · Bariton - Weitere Offiziere · Kleiner Chor aus Tenören und Bässen - Pagen, Bedienstete, Wachen, Läufer, Fahnenträger, Soldaten · stumme Rollen
Performances
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-21 | Rotterdam (Netherlands), Rotterdamse Schouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-17 | Sittard (Netherlands), Stadsschouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-12 | Leeuwarden (Netherlands), De Harmonie
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-10 | Maastricht (Netherlands), Theater aan het Vrijthof
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-06 | Utrecht (Netherlands), Stadsschouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-03 | Enschede (Netherlands), Twenste Schouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-01-31 | Arnhem (Netherlands), Schouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-01-29 | Eindhoven (Netherlands), Stadsschouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-01-27 | Groningen (Netherlands), Stadsschouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-01-24 | Den Haag (Netherlands), Lucent Danstheater | national Premiere
Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
2001-10-11 | Berlin (Germany), Deutsche Oper Berlin — 19.30 h | First Night
Conductor: Hans Drewanz
1982-11-17 | Darmstadt (Germany) | First Night
Conductor: Christobal Halffter
1981-08-21 | Berlin (Germany) | First Night
Conductor: Pierre Stoll
1969-02-22 | Strasbourg (France), Théâtre Municipal | First Night
Conductor: Wolfgang Rennert
1967-07-05 | Lyon (France), Opéra de Marseille | First Night
Conductor: Gustav Czerny
1967-07-02 | Graz (Austria), Landhaushof — 20.30 h
Conductor: Gustav Czerny
1967-06-23 | Graz (Austria), Landhaushof — 20.30 h | national Premiere
Conductor: Wolfgang Rennert
1966-07-07 | Lyon (France), Théâtre Romain de Fourvière
Conductor: Wolfgang Rennert
1966-07-05 | Lyon (France), Théâtre Romain de Fourvière | First Night
Conductor: Hans Werner Henze
1964-05-21 | Düsseldorf (Germany), Deutsche Oper am Rhein — 19.30 h | First Night
Conductor: Ljubomir Romansky
1963-02-27 | Gelsenkirchen (Germany), Städtische Bühnen Gelsenkirchen | First Night
Conductor: Hans Werner Henze
1962-09-26 | London (United Kingdom), Sadler's Wells Theatre | national Premiere
Conductor: Hans Werner Henze
1962-06-26 | Paris (France), Théâtre des Nations | national Premiere
Conductor: Helmut Wessel-Therhorn
1961-03-29 | Münster (Germany), Städtische Bühnen Münster | First Night
Conductor: Wolfgang Rennert
1960-12-07 | Frankfurt/Main (Germany), Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt/Main | First Night
Conductor: Albert Bittner
1960-09-23 | Berlin (Germany) | First Night
Conductor: Hans Werner Henze
1960-06-24 | Spoleto (Italy) | national Premiere
Conductor: Leopold Ludwig
1960-05-22 | Hamburg (Germany), Staatsoper | World Premiere
The setting is near Fehrbellin and Berlin in the year 1675. The young Prince of Homburg experiences one of his periodical somnambulistic states in which he sees himself as the victor of the approaching battle. Whilst still caught up in his dreams, he misinterprets a joke made by the Elector and imagines that the latter has brought him together with the Elector’s niece Natalie with whom he is passionately enamoured. In a state of bewilderment following his rejection by Natalie, he omits to hear the Field Marshall’s order not to intervene in the battle until the Elector gives a specific command. The Prince observes the progress of the battle and issues an independent order to attack to his regiment. The battle concludes with a glorious victory; the Elector is however believed to have been killed in action. While the Prince is assuring Natalie and the Electress of his support, the Elector appears unexpectedly; his horse had been shot under him in battle. He has the Prince arrested on charges of insubordination. 
The court martial sentences the Prince to death. There are plans for Natalie to be given in marriage to the King of Sweden as a security for peace. The Prince pleads for mercy from the Electress and Natalie appeals to the Elector for clemency. The Elector agrees on one condition: if the Prince declares the judgement to be unjust, he will be pardoned. The Prince rejects this suggestion: he is prepared to suffer for his error. The Elector asks the officers if they still retain their respect for the Prince and the officers give their unconditional affirmation. The Elector tears up the death sentence document. Disassociated from reality by his somnambulism, the Prince awaits his death. He does not notice the Elector and his court approaching, accompanied by Natalie who crowns the Prince with a laurel wreath: his dream has become reality. 

Henze was inspired to compose the opera Der Prinz von Homburg by Luchino Visconti with whom he had collaborated on the ballet Maratona di Danza in 1957. Particularly in the dream sequences, he is ingenious in his utilisation of shimmering complex tonal textures to create a highly impressive musical illustration of the somnambulistic character of the Prince. 

"The Prince of Homburg, our cousin, the Hamlet of the Mark Brandenburg, is the hero of my new opera. […] It is quite plausible to abstract the world which Kleist has created in his work beyond the confines of its Prussian background. […] The “Prince of Homburg” focuses on the glorification of a dreamer, the destruction of the traditional concept of a classical hero: the essence is the blind and unimaginative application of laws and the glorification of human benevolence whose comprehension also strays into more profound and complex areas than would be “normal” and permits a man to find his place in the world despite being a dreamer and sentimentalist, or maybe precisely because of this. The concluding rallying cry “In Staub mit allen Feinden Brandenburgs!” [Down with the foes of Brandenburg!] in favour of this ideal nation in which (according to Kleist) love, understanding, forgiveness and mercy play such a substantial role, is also a tilt at the rigidity and indolence of the “reason of state” and forms a terrible dissonance to the cabinet order issued by the prominent ruler of this promised land of Brandenburg. [Henze is referring here to the cabinet order issued on 1 August 1828 banning all performances of the “Prinz von Homburg” in Brandenburg, Editor’s note]. The caustic double meaning hardly needs to be underlined: it continues to manifest itself with all its menace even in our own times."
Performance duration: 130' 0"
Publisher: Schott Music
Uraufführung : 22. Mai 1960 Hamburg, Staatsoper (D) · Dirigent: Leopold Ludwig · Inszenierung: Helmut Käutner · Kostüme: Alfred Siercke · Bühnenbild: Alfred Siercke
Year of composition: 1958 - 1959
instrumentation: 3 (2. auch Picc. u. Altfl., 3. auch Picc., Alt- u. Tenorblfl.) · 1 · Engl. Hr. · 1 · Bassklar. · Altsax. · 2 (2. auch Kfg.) - 4 · 2 · 2 · 1 - P. S. (Trgl. · Röhrengl. · 2 Almgl. · hg. Beck. · Beckenpaar · 3 Tamt. · 3 Tomt. · Schellentr. · Mil. Tr. · 2 Rührtr. · gr. Tr. · Rute · Glsp.) (3 Spieler) - 2 Hfn. · Klav. (auch Cel.) - Str. -
Bühnenmusik: 1 · 1 · 1 · 1 - 1 · 2 · 0 · 0 - S. (kl. Tr.) - Vl. · Va. · Vc.
occupation: Friedrich Wilhelm, Kurfürst von Brandenburg · Heldentenor - Die Kurfürstin · Alt - Prinzessin Natalie von Oranien · Sopran - Feldmarschall Dörfling · Bariton - Prinz Friedrich Artur von Homburg · hoher Bariton - Obrist Kottwitz · Bass - Graf Hohenzollern · lyrischer Tenor - 1. Offizier · Tenor - 2. Offizier · Bariton - 3. Offizier · Bass - 1. Hofdame · Sopran - 2. Hofdame · Mezzosopran - 3. Hofdame · Alt - Wachtmeister · Bariton - 1. Heiduck · Tenor - 2. Heiduck · Bariton - Weitere Offiziere · Kleiner Chor aus Tenören und Bässen - Pagen, Bedienstete, Wachen, Läufer, Fahnenträger, Soldaten · stumme Rollen
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-21 | Rotterdam (Netherlands), Rotterdamse Schouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-17 | Sittard (Netherlands), Stadsschouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-12 | Leeuwarden (Netherlands), De Harmonie
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-10 | Maastricht (Netherlands), Theater aan het Vrijthof
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-06 | Utrecht (Netherlands), Stadsschouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-02-03 | Enschede (Netherlands), Twenste Schouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-01-31 | Arnhem (Netherlands), Schouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-01-29 | Eindhoven (Netherlands), Stadsschouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-01-27 | Groningen (Netherlands), Stadsschouwburg
Conductor: Rolf Gupta
2004-01-24 | Den Haag (Netherlands), Lucent Danstheater | national Premiere
Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
2001-10-11 | Berlin (Germany), Deutsche Oper Berlin — 19.30 h | First Night
Conductor: Hans Drewanz
1982-11-17 | Darmstadt (Germany) | First Night
Conductor: Christobal Halffter
1981-08-21 | Berlin (Germany) | First Night
Conductor: Pierre Stoll
1969-02-22 | Strasbourg (France), Théâtre Municipal | First Night
Conductor: Wolfgang Rennert
1967-07-05 | Lyon (France), Opéra de Marseille | First Night
Conductor: Gustav Czerny
1967-07-02 | Graz (Austria), Landhaushof — 20.30 h
Conductor: Gustav Czerny
1967-06-23 | Graz (Austria), Landhaushof — 20.30 h | national Premiere
Conductor: Wolfgang Rennert
1966-07-07 | Lyon (France), Théâtre Romain de Fourvière
Conductor: Wolfgang Rennert
1966-07-05 | Lyon (France), Théâtre Romain de Fourvière | First Night
Conductor: Hans Werner Henze
1964-05-21 | Düsseldorf (Germany), Deutsche Oper am Rhein — 19.30 h | First Night
Conductor: Ljubomir Romansky
1963-02-27 | Gelsenkirchen (Germany), Städtische Bühnen Gelsenkirchen | First Night
Conductor: Hans Werner Henze
1962-09-26 | London (United Kingdom), Sadler's Wells Theatre | national Premiere
Conductor: Hans Werner Henze
1962-06-26 | Paris (France), Théâtre des Nations | national Premiere
Conductor: Helmut Wessel-Therhorn
1961-03-29 | Münster (Germany), Städtische Bühnen Münster | First Night
Conductor: Wolfgang Rennert
1960-12-07 | Frankfurt/Main (Germany), Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt/Main | First Night
Conductor: Albert Bittner
1960-09-23 | Berlin (Germany) | First Night
Conductor: Hans Werner Henze
1960-06-24 | Spoleto (Italy) | national Premiere
Conductor: Leopold Ludwig
1960-05-22 | Hamburg (Germany), Staatsoper | World Premiere
Other Editions