Today’s CD, Haydn’s opera Die Feuersbrunst (“The Burned-Down House”), is a very odd duck indeed.
For one thing, some of this sounds like a Monty Python skit with a couple of guys talking in high-pitched voices pretending to be women. Or kids. Or marionettes, as is the subject-matter of this “comic opera in two acts.”
From the website Answers.com:
The plot, involving the adventures of a buffoon named Hanswurst who speaks in a light Viennese dialect, is truly absurd enough to defy summary, but it’s fast-moving and full of amorous intrigue between masters and servants. Both the arias and the spoken interludes are brief, and Haydn rose to the occasion with a mixture of jolly tunes and exaggerated pathos that must have been great fun for all involved. The singers (there are four vocal parts) enter into the situation-comedy spirit of the action…
Buffoons and situation-comedy jocularity. Yes. It’s all here.
Along with lots and lots of talking. In German. It’s like an immersive German-language course.
What I can’t figure out is why this comedic opera is called Die Feuersbrunst. When I typed “Feuersbrunst” into Google, up popped these images:
So that’s what a Feuersbrunst looks like. Here are a couple more definitions from Continue reading