Guide to the Hand-colored printed broadside illustration of costumed characters from the opera "Oberon," circa 1826
Hand-colored printed broadside illustration of costumed characters from the opera "Oberon" C0458
Published by George Mason University Libraries
"Oberon" is an 1826 opera by German composer Carl Maria von Weber, who is known as the creator of German Romantic Opera, established by his most popular work "Der Freischutz" in 1821. Born November 18, 1786, von Weber had a somewhat successful career in music, though he suffered many illnesses and setbacks in his personal life, which affected his compositions and reputation in the music world. Von Weber was commissioned by the Opera at Covent Garden in London to compose an opera focused on either the fictional characters Faust or Oberon. Von Weber chose Oberon, the fairy king of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and accepted the commission, mostly for financial reasons and against the advice of his doctor. "Oberon" was von Weber's last work, written and staged in London in April 1826. The production took its toll on von Weber's already fragile health, leading to his death at 39 years of age on June 4th of the same year.
"Oberon" was written in English, though it has been successfully translated to von Weber's native German and is performed in both languages. Focusing on characters made famous by Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" including the titular Oberon, the fairy queen Titania, and Puck, the opera focuses on another instance of the fairies meddling with mortal lovers and their lives, this time in an orientalist, medieval setting. The libretto, written by James Robinson Planche, is an adaptation of the German poem "Oberon" by Christoph Martin Wieland, which is itself an adaptation of "Huon de Bordeaux", a 13th French epic poem. The opera is most known for its overture, and is still performed today.
Hand-colored printed broadside illustration of costumed characters from the opera "Oberon" by Carl Maria von Weber, created circa 1820s. From left to right are the characters Oberon, Titania, Sir Huon of Bordeaux (written in German as Huon), Reiza (Rezia), Sherasmin (Scherasmin), Fatima, Caliph of Baghdad (Kalif von Bagdad), Roshana (Roschana), Almanzor (Almansor), and Turk Officer.
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Weber, Carl Maria von, 1786-1826
Hand-colored printed broadside illustration of costumed characters from the opera "Oberon," C0458, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Purchased by Steve Gerber from J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians, October 2016.
Processing completed by Amanda Brent in September 2020. EAD markup completed by Amanda Brent in October 2020. This item was formerly part of the Performing Arts Manuscript Materials collection, C0215.
"Carl Maria von Webber." The Kennedy Center. October 12, 2020. https://www.kennedy-center.org/artists/v/vo-vz/carl-von-weber/.
"Composer in Context: Carl Maria von Weber." American Symphony Orchestra. October 12, 2020. https://americansymphony.org/concerts/online/weber-euryanthe/.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Carl Maria von Weber." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, inc., October 12, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Carl-Maria-von-Weber.
"Oberon." Josef Weinberger Ltd. October 12, 2020/ https://www.josef-weinberger.com/operas-operetta/opera/oberon.html.