Therefore, Weber, a student of Haydn and director of opera houses in Prague and Dresden, is generally considered to be the patriarch of Romantic opera in Germany. His most famous works include “Der Freischutz” (1821), “Euryanthe” (1823) and “Oberon” (1826). He was one of the first to replace a series of arias with thematic, character-driven stories set to mellifluous symphonic music.
Giacomo Meyerbeer followed not long after with “Les Huguenots” (1836), an opera that fully encompassed the era’s most popular themes – stories based on medieval history and heros who achieve their shining moment in the final act.
By the middle of the 19th century, the German stage was ripe for the picking. In 1842, Richard Wagner presented his first successful opera and he went on to dominate the country’s opera scene for the next 40 years with titles including “The Flying Dutchmann” (1844), “Lohengrin” (1850), “Das Reingold” (1854) and “Gotterdaemmerung” (1874).
Although Wagner is Germany’s best-known opera impressario, during the hilt of his career, several other German composers found their niche. Robert Schumann wrote two song cycles in 1840. Brahms’ and Mahler’s symphonies were finding appreciative audiences everywhere. And Engelbert Humperdink gave the world …