Bastien und Bastienne by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Summary

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

'''' 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. The German libretto is by Friedrich Wilhelm Weiskern, and Johann Andreas Schachtner, based on '''' by Justine Favart and . 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.[http://opera.stanford.edu/Mozart/Bastien/history.html History of the opera] from opera.stanford.edu

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". Mozart utilizes the orchestra sparingly, with the exception of the reconciliation scene.

Mozart's overture uses the same opening theme as Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, the ''Eroica''. It is doubtful that Beethoven was familiar with this then unpublished piece.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. '''' is possibly the easiest to perform of Mozart's juvenile works.

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