Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario), K. 486, is a comic singspiel by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, set to a German libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie, an Austrian Schauspieldirektor. Originally, it was written because of "the imperial command" of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II who had invited 80 guests to a private luncheon. It is regarded as "a parody on the vanity of singers", who argue over status and pay.
 

Mozart, who describes it as "comedy with music" wrote it as his entry in a musical competition which was given a private performance hosted on 7 February 1786 by Joseph II at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. This competition pitted a German singspiel, presented at one end of the room, against a competing Italian opera, the Italian entry being Antonio Salieri's opera buffa, Prima la musica e poi le parole (First the Music, then the Words), which was then given at the other end of the room. The premiere was followed by the first of three public performances given four days later at the Kärntnertor Theater, Vienna, on 11 February.

KV 486 - Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario)
- Ouvertüre (0:00)
- Arietta (Mme Herz) Da schlägt die Abschiedstunde (3:51)
- Rondo (Mlle Silberklang) Bester Jüngling mit Entzükken (7:28)
- Terzett (Silberklang, Herz, Vogelsang) Ich bin die erste Sängerin (10:22)
- Vaudeville (Alle) Jeder Künstler strebt nach Ehre (16:42)

Roles

Frank, an impresario
Eiler, a banker
Buff, a buffo singer
Monsieur Vogelsang, a singer
Madame Herz, a singer 
Mademoiselle Silberklang, a singer
Herz, an actor 
Madame Pfeil, an actress
Madame Krone, an actress
Madame Vogelsang, an actress

Synopsis

Vienna
Time: 1786


Frank, the impresario (along with the buffo singer, Buff, who assists him) audition two actresses to be part of his new theatrical company. While both are hired, they then argue over who will get the prime role and who will be paid the most. To illustrate their strengths, each sings a striking aria to back her claim (Herz: "Da schlägt die Abschiedsstunde", Silberklang: "Bester Jüngling"). An agreement is reached when the tenor, Vogelsang, intervenes, in what Rushton describes as a hilarious trio, Ich bin die erste Sängerin ("I am the prima donna") compromise is agreed to with each receiving "large salaries and star billing". The work ended with the quartet "Jeder Künstler strebt nach Ehre" (Every artist strives for glory).

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