Nikolaus Harnoncourt: Schumann Genoveva (Banse, Mathey, Gantner)

Labels: , ,

Robert Schumann: Genoveva (Banse, Mathey, Gantner - Nikolaus Harnoncourt)

English: Robert Schumann and Clara Schumann Fr...
 Robert Schumann and Clara Schumann
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Genoveva (Op. 81) is an opera in four acts by Robert Schumann in the genre of German Romanticism with a libretto by Robert Reinick and the composer. The only opera Schumann ever wrote, it received its first performance on 25 June 1850 at the Stadttheater in Leipzig, with the composer conducting. It received only three performances during the premiere, and the negative criticism it received in the press played a decisive role in Schumann's decision to not write a second opera.

Act 1
The opera begins with Hidulfus, Bishop of Trier, summoning Brabant's Christian knights to join Charles Martel's crusade against a feared Saracen conquest of Europe. Siegfried, Count of Brabante, answers the call. In preparing to leave for war, he entrusts his wife, Genoveva, to his young servant, Golo.

Act 2
This image shows the Robert Schumann birth hou...
This image shows the Robert Schumann birth house in Zwickau (Saxony, Germany). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Despite Golo's overwhelming desire for her, Genoveva persistently rejects his advances. Infuriated by these rejections, Golo seeks revenge against Genoveva by staging a trap to discredit her. On
e night, Golo sneaks Drago, an old steward, into Genoveva's bedroom to fake an adulterous affair that is then witnessed by other servants, brought to the scene by Golo. In their rage, the servants kill Drago and Genoveva is imprisoned for adultery.

Act 3
Word of this imagined infidelity gets back to Siegfried, who then commands Golo to put Genoveva to death. Drago's ghost appears in front of Margaretha and tells her that if she does not reveal the truth, she will die.

Act 4
As two armed men are dispatched to kill Genoveva, her life is saved through the intervention of a mute, deaf boy. Siegfried then discovers Golo's treachery and restores his wife's honour.

English: Legend of Genoveva von Brabant; Altar...
English: Legend of Genoveva von Brabant; Altar in Fraukirch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)