Schiller and opera

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Though Schiller's works are often characterized as 'operatic', the precise meaning of opera for Schiller has never been defined. Opera, in Schiller's thought, is always connected to tragedy, to which it offers a corrective, its music and fantasy serving to define the dramatic world in opposition to reality. Opera is primarily characterized by its non-naturalistic qualities, and is useful as a liberation from imitative aspects of art. 'Operatic' therefore is not a formal quality (as it has often been understood), but defines a specific effect created by drama. This effect is evident in the comedy of Wallensteins Lager, the fantasy of Die Jungfrau von Orleans, and the classicism of Die Braut von Messina. Lying behind the latter works is Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride, which exerted a powerful influence on Schiller, demonstrating the possibilities of the operatic in modern drama. In these works, Schiller fulfilled his own hope that from opera a nobler form of tragedy would evolve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-43
Number of pages15
JournalOxford German Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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