Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) was a German composer with a fascination for fantasy and folklore. Weber was part of the early Romantic age, an age defined for its appreciation of passion and human authenticity. Some say that his operas, particularly Der Freischutz, Euryanthe and Oberon, or The Elf King’s Oath, were influential in the development of Romantic music in Germany. Though his subject matter often had a Fantastic quality, featuring fairies and other mythical creatures, they were depicted with truth, earnest and uncompromising reality.
In 1804-05, Weber wrote the opera Rübezahl (Ruler of the Spirits) based on folk tales of the German mountain spirit, though it hasn’t been performed since Weber’s death.
Der Freischutz, considered one of the first important German Romantic operas, was written by Weber in 1817-21. It’s profound international success helped rise Weber into public awareness, and he received a flood of job offers. One such job offer led to the production of Euryanthe in 1822-23.
Weber’s final notable contribution was the Romantic opera Oberon, or The Elf King’s Oath, written in English in 1825 and 1826. The half-spoken opera accounted the tale of the King of the Fairies after he fights with his wife Titania, and begins a quest to find a couple who is faithful to one another. Weber died in 1826 while trying to complete a revision of the opera.
The National Philharmonic of Russia, with conductor Sergey Kiss, performing Der Freischütz, by Carl Maria von Weber