The title page of this libretto documents a performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail in Warsaw on 8May 1783. It is the second securely dated production of the opera outside Vienna, following the one in Strasbourg on 24 and 25 Jan 1783 (see the entry for 24 Jan 1783). The Prague premiere of Entführung may also have taken place around this time: two contemporaneous sources state that the opera had its first performance in Prague “after Easter” 1783 (see the Notes for 24 Jan 1783). Easter fell on 20 Apr that year, 18 days before the first performance in Warsaw, so it is just possible that the Prague premiere predated the one in Warsaw by a few days. However, the exact date of the Prague premiere remains unknown; thus on current evidence, the Warsaw production counts as the second outside Vienna. It is also the first outside Vienna for which we know the complete cast. Entführung is not known to have been performed more than once in this production; the next documented performance in Warsaw, on 25 Nov 1783, was a new production in Polish under the title Porwanie z seraju, by the company of Wojciech Bogusławski (see the entry for that date).
Otto Erich Deutsch gives 8 \ May 1783 as the date of the Warsaw premiere of Entführung (Dokumente, 190), but cites no source; he likely took the date from Loewenberg’s Annals of Opera, which likewise gives no source. To our knowledge, the earliest reference in the scholarly literature to this libretto and to the date of the first Warsaw performance of Mozart’s opera is Sonneck’s Catalogue of Opera Librettos Printed before 1800 (1914, vol. 1, 442). No other primary documents from the performance are known to survive.
Table of Contents
The German theater company in Warsaw(⇧)
A German theater company had been active in Warsaw under the management of Italian dancer Bartolomeo Constantini (also Costantini) since Easter 1781 (for a detailed description of this company and its history, see the letter from Warsaw in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung, LTZ, 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 25–30; the letter is dated 4 Dec 1781). That the company was on a shaky footing from the start is suggested by a comment in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung in Oct 1781, in a report of the death of Madame Bodenburg, an actress in the Warsaw company:
Desgleichen hat zu Warschau Madam Bodenburg,
Schauspielerin beim dasigen deutschen Theater ihr Leben
auf eine unglückliche Art geendigt. Dieses Theater, wo=
von Constantini Direkteur ist, soll seinem Untergange
wieder nahe seyn, so daß es mit Ende des Novembers
schon eingehn könnte. [LTZ, 4:41, 13 Oct 1781, 655]
Madame Bodenburg, actress in the German theater
in Warsaw, likewise ended her life in an unfortunate manner.
This theater, of which Constantini is the director, is said
again to be near collapse, so that it may close at
the end of November.
The extended description in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung three months later explains that Constantini ran the company in conjunction with Herr Morchini and Herr Morelli, who had jointly put up 1000 ducats for the enterprise (LTZ, 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 26). In spite of the rumor of imminent collapse in Oct 1781, the company muddled through to the beginning of Lent 1783, at which point the Italians threw in the towel. However, most of Constantini’s company was kept on in a very short-lived enterprise after Easter 1783 under the direction of Prince Jerzy Marcin Lubomirski (1738–1811; pl.wikipedia), one of the less distinguished members of an ancient and distinguished Polish aristocratic line. The performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail on 8 May 1783 was not only the Warsaw premiere, but also the first performance of any kind by the company under Lubomirski’s leadership, as the title page of the libretto makes clear:
Zum erstenmale gegeben bey abermahliger Eröfnung der deutschen Schaubühne unter der General-Unternehmung Sr. Durchlaucht Fürst George Martin Lubomirski [...]
Given for the first time upon the renewed opening of the German theater under the General Direction of His Serene Highness Prince George Martin Lubomirski [...]
By the following month, Lubomirski’s enterprise had likewise collapsed, and the German company was dissolved.
Performances by the German company under both Constantini and Lubomirski took place in a theater on Krasiński Square in Warsaw built in 1779 by Franciszek Ryx (1732–1799), chamberlain to King Stanisław August Poniatowski (Stanisław II August, 1732–1798, reigned 1764–1795), to whom the performance of Entführung on 8 May 1783 was dedicated. The theater later became known as the National Theater (Teatr Narodowy), but had not yet been given that name in 1783.
The libretto notes that Entführung was performed in honor of the king’s name day: in Poland, the Feast of St. Stanislaus (11 Apr in the standard Catholic calendar) is celebrated on 8 May. Stanisław August was elected King of Poland in 1764, and crowned on 25 Nov that year. The second performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail in Warsaw, in Polish, took place on the anniversary of the King’s coronation, 25 Nov 1783.
The cast of the Warsaw premiere(⇧)
With the exception of Madame Holland (who sang Konstanze) and the otherwise unknown Werther (ein Stummer), the rest of the cast of Die Entführung aus dem Serail on 8 May 1783 had been in the German company under Constantini since at least the end of 1781. Lorenz, Arnold, Reiner, Fux, Haym, and Madame Hanke are all named in the report published in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung at the beginning of 1782. They are also all included on a roster of the Warsaw company published in the Theater-Kalender for 1783, based on information from 1782.
The singers of the principal male roles, Arnold, Reiner, and Fux (or Fuchs), had all previously been members of the National Singspiel in Vienna. The article in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung in Jan 1782 mentions that Constantini and Morelli had made a trip to Vienna in Feb 1781 to recruit personnel for their German company in Warsaw (LTZ 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 26), and it seems likely that the bass Franz Fuchs, at least, was recruited during that visit.
Fuchs, who sang Osmin in Warsaw, had been one of the founding members of the National Singspiel in Vienna, singing the role of Walcher in the company’s inaugural production, Iganz Umlauf’s Die Bergknappen, first performed on 17 Feb 1778 (on Fuchs, see Michtner 1970, 26 and infra, and 356, note 8). In that production, the role of Walcher’s ward Sophie was played by Caterina Cavalieri, who later created the role of Konstanze in Entführung in 1782. (An engraving by Carl Schütz of Cavalieri as Sophie and Fuchs as Walcher, along with Joseph Martin Ruprecht as Fritz, is reproduced in Michtner 1970, Abbildung 2, with description on 531.) Fuchs performed at least 19 roles in the National Singspiel over the next two and a half years; his final new role in Vienna appears to have been that of “Ein Oberhaupt der Caravanne” in Gluck’s Die Pilgrime von Mecca (a German adaptation of La rencontre imprévue), first performed on 26 Jul 1780 (see Michtner 1970, 86). The bass Karl Ludwig Fischer, who went on to create the role of Osmin in Entführung in 1782, joined the company of the National Singspiel in 1780, making his debut in Claudine von Villa Bella on 13 Jun. It may be that the formidably talented Fischer displaced Fuchs from leading bass roles that he might otherwise have been assigned, and this may have motivated him to leave the company—or perhaps motivated the company to let him go. Although Fuchs appeared in no new roles in Vienna after 26 Jul 1780, it seems safe to assume that he remained with the company until the end of the current theatrical season, in Feb 1781—exactly when Constantini and Morelli are said to have been in Vienna recruiting for the German company in Warsaw.
The brief entry on Fuchs in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung in Jan 1782 describes him as follows:
Hr. Fux ist von Wien her als ein vortreflicher
Bassist bekannt, aber als Schauspieler sehr unbedeutend.
[LTZ, 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 29]
Herr Fux is known from Vienna as an excellent bass,
is however as an actor very insignificant.
Nothing certain appears to be known of his career following the collapse of the German company in Warsaw. It is possible that he is the “Fuchs” mentioned in the Theater-Kalender for 1791 as having been in Schikaneder’s company and having died in Hungary in 1785 (ThK 1791, 183).
Tenor Ferdinand Arnold sang the role of Belmonte in the Warsaw production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail; he had been in the company of National Singspiel in Vienna only briefly, from 1 May to 30 Sep 1778 (Michtner 1970, 42 and infra). He made his debut in Vienna as Karl in Asplmayr’s Die Kinder der Natur on 15 Jul that year.
Arnold subsequently joined the theater in Brünn (Brno). A retrospective history of that company published in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung in 1783 names Arnold as having been one of two tenors in the Brünn company in the period under the direction of Weizhofer, following the departure of Johann Böhm in 1778 (LTZ 8:41, 11 Oct 1783, 651). A poster for a performance of “Der Freund vom Hause” in Warsaw on 18 Aug 1781 (the singspiel Der Hausfreund, adapted from Grétry’s L’ami de maison) notes that Arnold is making his debut in that performance, having just arrived from Brünn (the performance on 18 Aug also featured the Reiner, Madame Hanke, and Fuchs):
Nachricht. / Schon vor einiger Zeit wurde von Seiten der Deutschen Schauspiel=Direction einem verehrungswürdigen Publiko die Versicherung gegeben, daß bald neue Glieder zur / Verbesserung des Singspieles ankommen würden[.] Dieses bald, einen so kurzen Ausdruck es auch hat, ward gedehnt bis jezt, würde aber ganz sicher nicht so lange angestan- / den haben, wenn gute, einsichtsvolle Sänger, aller Orten gern gesehen, gern und schnell entlassen würden. Herr ARNOLD, der sich heute zum erstenmale in der Rolle / des Cliton zu zeigen die Ehre hat, ward in Wien mit allgemeinem Beyfalle auf der National=Schaubühne aufgenommen. Dieser gute Ruf erwarb ihm endlich ein vor= / züglicheres Engagement in Brün. Da seine Verbindlichkeit gegen die dortige Direktion, die ihn nicht verliehren wollte, bis jezt dauerte, und ihn nicht früher entließ, ver= / spätete sich sieine [sic] Anfkunft hieher ganz natürlich. __ Wir wünschen und hoffen so wie Herr ARNOLD selbst, daß ein hohes gnädiges und geneigtes Publikum ihn mit eben / dem Vergnügen sehen möge, welches ihn auf andern großen Schaubühnen fesselte und mit welcher die Direktion seine Ankunft vernahm. Nun werden Sie verehrungs= / würdige! zwar sagen: ja es ist schon gut, daß ein Sänger gekommen, wenn nur auch eine Sängerinn! __ Nur noch eine kleine Gedult, und dieser Wunsch wird auch erfüllt. Sie sehen und wissen wohl, daß endlich alles zu seinem Ziele kommt und kommen muß, nur will gute Sache Weile haben und thätige Pflege, und da aller Anfang schwer / ist, werden verehrungswürdige Gönner ersucht mit der Direktion, die alles, was möglich, zu leisten verspricht, noch einige güttige Nachsicht zu haben.
Announcement. Already some time ago the directors of the German theater company assured the honorable public that new members would soon arrive to improve the singspiel. This “soon”, short as the word may be, was prolonged until now, but it certainly would not have taken so long if good, insightful singers, who are gladly seen everywhere, were gladly and quickly released. Herr ARNOLD, who has the honor of portraying for the first time today the role of Cliton, was received with universal applause at the National Theater in Vienna. This good reputation finally procured for him a more advantageous engagement in Brünn. Because his obligation to the management there, which did not want to lose him, lasted until now and did not let him go sooner, his arrival here was naturally delayed. We and Herr ARNOLD himself wish and hope that the highly gracious and sympathetic public may see him with the same pleasure that bound him to other great theaters, and with which the management greeted his arrival. Now you, honorable public!, may say: yes it is very good that a male singer has come, if only there were now also a female one! Have just a bit of patience and this wish will also be fulfilled. You see and well know that everything reaches and must reach its goal, but good things take time and requisite care, and because the first step is always difficult, the honorable patrons are requested to have gracious forbearance toward the management, which has promised to do everything possible.
The report on the Warsaw company in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung in Jan 1782 describes Arnold as follows:
Hr. Arnold, erster Sänger, ist ein hofnungs=
voller junger Mann, er kam diesen Sommer etwas spä=
ter von Brünn hieher, debütirte als Hausfreund in der
Operette gleiches Namens und ward mit allgemeinem
Beifall aufgenommen. Fährt er fort, seine Kunst mit
gehöriger Aufmerksamkeit zu studieren, so kann sich die
Singbühne in kurzem viel von ihm versprechen. Als
Akteur kommt er noch in keinen Betracht, so wohlge=
bildet er auch für die Liebhaber ist.
[LTZ, 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 28]
Herr Arnold, the principal singer, is a promising
young man. He came here rather late this summer
from Brünn, debuted as the Hausfreund
in the operetta of that name and was received
with general acclaim. If he continues to study his
art with the proper attention, then the opera stage
can expect much from him before long. But he does
not come into consideration as an actor, even though
he is well formed for lovers’ roles.
The actor Gottlieb Lorenz, who played Bassa Selim in the Warsaw production of Entführung, produced a short-lived theatrical monthly in 1782. The issue of that journal for June 1782 describes Arnold and the singer Maria Anna Hanke (who played Blonde in the Warsaw premiere of Entführung) in the lead roles of Robert und Kalliste, a German adaptation of Guglielmi’s La sposa fedele:
Herr Arnold und Madame Hanke waren Ro=
bert und Kalliste. Da beyde mehr für das ernsthaf=
tere Spiel sind, konnte ihnen nun wohl das komisch
karrikirte jener Parodie eines ernsthaften Opernduetts,
welches sie im fünften Auftritte des zweyten Aufzugs sin=
gen, nicht besonders gelingen; um so besser glükten Ma=
dame Hanke die zärtlichen und Herrn Arnold die ei=
fersüchtigen Scenen. Beyder körperlicher Bau ist einer
der schönsten, der je auf der Schaubühne brillirte. Die=
ser, und daß sich Madame Hanke stets mit Geschmack
zu kleiden weis, erhöht ihre Talente und beseelt ihre Reitze,
so daß sie öfters mit Beyfall beehret werden, so bald sie
sich nur zeigen. Von ihren Verdiensten um die Sing=
bühne werde ich Gelegenheit nehmen ein andermal zu
[Theatralisches Quodlibet, 2. Sammlung, Jun 1782, 69–70]
Herr Arnold and Madame Hanke were Robert
and Kalliste. Since both are more suited to serious
roles, they were not especially successful at comic
caricature in the parody of a serious opera duet
they sing in the fifth scene of the second act;
all the better did Madame Hanke come off in the
tender scenes and Herr Arnold in the jealous ones.
The physical forms of both are among the most
beautiful ever to have graced the stage. This, and
the fact that Madame Hanke always knows how
to dress with taste, enhances their talents and animates
their charms, so that they are frequently greeted with
applause as soon as they show themselves. I will take
the opportunity at another time to speak of their service
to the opera stage.
Unfortunately, no issue of Lorenz’s journal is known to survive containing the promised discussion of Arnold and Madame Hanke in opera. Arnold rejoined the company of the National Singspiel in Vienna in Sep 1785, remaining until Feb 1788, when it disbanded; he married the celebrated soprano Therese Teuber in Vienna in 1785 (Michtner 1970, 42).
The baritone Franz Reiner, who played Pedrillo in the Warsaw production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail in May 1783, was also for a time a member of the National Singspiel in Vienna (on Reiner, see Michtner 1970, 41 and infra, and 366, note 56). Reiner had previously been a member of the Munich theater, where he is said to have been director of the singspiel (see Grandaur 1878, 8–9). He made his debut in Vienna on 15 Dec 1778 in the role of Adelstan in Robert und Kalliste (Müller 1802, 262), and seems to have remained with the company through the end of the season 1780/81. In the first half of 1781, Reiner was on tour, evidently looking for a new position; the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung documents guest appearances in Berlin and Hamburg. His reception in both cities was poor; in both, he may have suffered by comparison with Karl Ludwig Fischer, who appeared in Berlin shortly before Reiner, and in Hamburg shortly after. The Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung gave a harsh assessment of Reiner’s attempt at a role in the spoken theater in Berlin, that of Reitbahn in Ayrenhoff’s Der Postzug:
[...] Auch Hr. Reiner aus Wien hat hier drei
Gastrollen gespielt: den Athelstan in Robert und
Kalliste, den Reitbahn im Postzuge, und den Azor
in der Operette dieses Namens. Als Sänger hat
dieser Mann einige Verdienste, als Schauspieler sehr
wenige, und doch macht er Anspruch sowohl auf diese
als auf jene. Von einem Schauspieler, der es über=
nimmt, in einer grossen Stadt Gastrollen zu spielen,
verlangt man keine geringe Verdienste; er mus mehr
als mittelmässig und—wenigstens in den Rollen, so
er wählt—Meister seyn: der gegenseitige Fall sezt
sehr wenig Selbstkenntnis, oder sehr grosse Gering=
schäzung des Publikums voraus—beides verdient
Ahndung. Leider glauben izt unsere meisten Schau=
spieler auf ihre Kunst reisen und in allen Städten
Deutschlands mit gleichen Beifall Gastrollen spielen
zu können, und doch sind noch immer—ebenfalls
leider!—die Schröders, Brokmanns und Reine=
kens so selten.—Hr. Reiner, wie gesagt, ist nur
ein mittelmässiger Schauspieler; wollten wir jede Stel=
le anzeigen, wo er den Reitbahn zersezt und gemis=
handelt, wir würden ganze Bogen anfüllen müssen:
er verfehlte nicht allein gänzlich den Karakter, sondern
blieb auch sogar alle Augenblike steken, und dann, um
sich zu helfen, schwazt’ er unsinnig Zeug—vermuth=
lich weil er die Rolle erst auf dem Postwagen me=
morirt, da wir fest versichert sind, daß er sie nie in
Wien gespielt noch spielen wird—und um so mehr
müssen wir seine Dreistigkeit bewundern. Ihn eini=
germassen zu entschuldigen, wollen wir hinzusezen, daß
sein Wiener Engagement auf Ostern zu Ende geht,
und er also ein neues sucht; wozu wir ihm dann
auch von ganzem Herzen Glük wünschen, und wohl=
meinend raten, sich in Zukunft nur als Sänger an=
zukündigen: als solcher versprechen wir ihm aller Or=
ten Beifall. — —
[LTZ, 4:IV, 27 Jan 1781, 52–53]
Herr Reiner from Vienna also performed here in
three guest roles: Athelstan in Robert und Kalliste
Reitbahn in Der Postzug, and as Azor in the
operetta of that name. As a singer this man
is of some merit, as an actor, very little, and yet
he has aspirations to the latter as well as
the former. From an actor who undertakes to
play guest roles in a great city, one demands
no small merit; he must be more than
mediocre, and—at least in the roles that he
chooses—a master: for this not to be the case
presupposes very little self knowledge or a very
low opinion of the public—both deserve
censure. Unfortunately most of our actors
these days think they will be able, on their artistic
tours, to be able to make guest appearances with
the same applause in all cities in Germany, and yet—
unfortunately!—Schröders, Brockmanns, and
Reineckes are so rare. — As stated, Herr Reiner is
only a mediocre actor; if we wanted to report
every place where he subverted and abused Reitbahn,
we would have to fill entire sheets; he not only
entirely missed the character, but also got lost
repeatedly, and then, in order to help himself,
babbled nonsense—presumably because
he first memorized the role in the post coach;
for we are firmly convinced that he never played
the role in Vienna and never will—and we must
wonder all the more at his audacity. To excuse him
somewhat, we will note that his engagement in Vienna
ends at Easter, and thus he is seeking a new one;
to which we thus also wish him luck with all
our heart, and are only well intentioned in advising him
in the future to advertise himself only as a singer:
as such, we promise him applause everywhere.
Regarding Reiner’s guest appearance as a singer in Hamburg in May, a correspondent to the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung was more concise, but no less dismissive:
Hamburg den 7. Mai 1781.
[...] Betrug für Betrug, hat so so ge=
fallen, wird aber nicht mehr gegeben. Hr. Reiner, ein
Wiener Akteur und Sänger sang eine Arie zwischen dem
Akt und spielte den Tag darauf den Meister Sock in der
schönen Schusterin, fiel aber mit beiden durch. Dahin=
gegen sang Hr. Fischer, der einige Tage nachher auch
aus Wien hier ankam, den Sander in Zemire und Azor
so vortreflich, daß er den folgenden Tag noch eine Arie
[LTZ, 4:24, 16 Jun 1781, 376]
Hamburg, 7 May 1781.
[...] Betrug für Betrug had a so so
reception, but was not given again. Herr Reiner,
a Viennese actor and singer, sang an aria between
the acts and the next day played Meister Sock in
Die schöne Schusterin, but fell flat with both. On
the other hand, Herr Fischer, who came here
from Vienna a few days later, sang Sander in
Zemire und Azor so splendidly, that he had to
sing another aria the following day.
The report on the Warsaw company at the beginning of 1782 rates Reiner’s singing higher than his acting, and notes his poor memory, which, the writer notes, perhaps with tongue in cheek, had come to be seen as something of a virtue:
Hr. Reiner kam mit seiner Frau vom Wiener
Nationaltheater, wo sie nie, er aber nur als Sänger ge=
spielt hatte. Als solcher erhielt er auch hier Beifall, doch
wollte er als Akteur wegen seines schlechten Memorirens
nicht gefallen. Da man aber hörte, daß nicht er das
Gedächtnis, sondern das Gedächtnis ihn verlassen,
fühlte man Mitleiden, dieses wandelte sich endlich in
Wohlwollen, so daß er jezt gern gesehn wird, vor=
züglich im Meister Sock und Sattler Wunderlich.
[LTZ 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 29]
Herr Reiner came here with his wife from the National
Theater in Vienna, where she never performed, and he
only as a singer. As such he also receives applause here,
but at first did not please as an actor on account of his poor
memorizing. Since one hears, however, that his memory
abandoned him, not he his memory, this has transformed
finally into goodwill, so that he is now well received,
especially as Meister Sock and Sattler Wunderlich.
After the collapse of the German company in Warsaw, Reiner and his wife went to Riga. A correspondent to the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung reported:
[...] Neulich de=
bütirten hier Hr. und Mad. Reiner aus Warschau kom=
mend in dem Trauerspiel Percy. Hr. Reiner spielte die
Rolle des Percy unter aller Kritik. Madam Reiner fand
in der Elwine einigen Beifall, und sie würde noch mehr
für sich eingenommen haben, wenn das groteske Spiel
ihres Mannes das Ihrige nicht so sehr bedeckt, und die
ganze Aufmerksamkeit der Zuschauer auf sich gezogen hät=
te. Der Sock in der Operette: die schöne Schusterin,
spielte Hr. Reiner meisterhaft — sein Gesang ist nict
stark aber angenehm; auch hat er Festigkeit und gutes
Taktgefühl. Beide sind bis zu den Fasten engagirt. —
[LTZ, 6:50, 13 Dec 1783, 789, footnote]
[...] Recently Herr and
Madame Reiner, who came from Warsaw, debuted
here in the tragedy Percy. Herr Reiner’s playing of
the role of Percy was beneath all criticism. Madame
Reiner found some approval as Elwine, and she would
have had even more for herself had not the grotesque
acting of her husband so thoroughly eclipsed hers and
drawn the complete attention of the audience. As Sock
in the operetta Die schöne Schusterin, Herr Reiner’s
singing was masterly—his voice is not strong but
pleasant; he also has stability and a good feeling
for the beat. Both are engaged until Lent.
Madame Holland, who sang the role of Konstanze in the first Warsaw performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, is not named in the report on the company in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung in Jan 1782, nor is she on the roster published in the Theater-Kalender for 1783, based on information from 1782. So she must have been a relatively recent addition to the company. Wierzbicka-Michalska (1975, 254) writes that she joined the company in Jul 1782.
Rosa Holland was the wife of composer Jan Dawid Holland (Johann David, 1746–1827; see Nowak-Romanowicz & Homma 2015). He subsequently (and presumably after the dissolution of the German company in Warsaw) became Kapellmeister to Prince Karol Radziwiłł in Nieśwież. After the Prince’s death in 1790, the Hollands returned to Warsaw, where Rosa is said to have been in Bulla’s troupe. She seems to have left no further trace in the German-language theatrical press.
Maria Anna Hanke
Maria Anna Hanke (d. 1789) sang the role of Blonde in the first Warsaw production of Entführung. She is described in the Theater-Kalender for 1783 as the “erste Sängerin” (prima donna) of the Warsaw company (ThK 1783, 298), but by 1783 Rosa Holland had joined the company and sang the leading role of Konstanze. Maria Anna Hanke was the wife of Karl Hanke (1750–?1803), the music director of Constantini’s German company, who probably stayed on under Lubomirski to direct Entführung. She is described in the article in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung at the beginning of 1782 as the only female singer in the company at that time:
Madam Hanke, ist bis jezt die einzige Sängerin;
sie hat eine sanfte, angenehme Stimme, die ihrer gan=
zen Bildung entspricht, nur wenn sie aus der Tiefe in
die Höhe wirbelt, fällt ihr Ton in das Kreuschende,
welches für ein musikalisches Gehör sehr auffallend ist.
Auch hat sie sich in verschiednen jungen Liebhaberinnen
als Aktrize zu ihrem Vortheil gezeigt, und giebt Hof=
nung, eine mehr als mittelmässige Schauspielerin zu
werden. [LTZ, 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 27]
Madame Hanke is as of now the only [female] singer;
she has a mellow, pleasant voice that corresponds
to her entire presence; only when she whirls from
the depths to the heights, her tone lapses into
shrieking, which is quite noticeable to a musical ear.
She has also appeared to her advantage as an
actress in the roles of various young lovers, and
shows hope of becoming more than a middling actress.
The brief article on her husband in Gerber’s Lexikon der Tonkünstler (1790) refers to Madame Hanke’s work as a singer in Hamburg, where the couple were associated with Seyler’s company from 1783 to around 1786:
Seine [i.e. Hanke’s] Gattin an eben diesem Theater wird als Sängerin in Bravourarien gerühmt. [Gerber, col. 582]
His wife in this same theater is renowned as a singer of bravura arias.
A short obituary for Madame Hanke in the Taschenbuch für die Schaubühne, auf das Jahr 1793 (the retitled Theater-Kalender for that year) reads:
[...] Sie hatte den Unter=
richt der Madame Seyler gut genuzt, und
vereinigte mit vielen zur Kunst gehöriger Na=
turgaben, den edelsten und rechtschaffensten Ka=
rakter. [Taschenbuch 1793, 275]
[...] She put the teaching
of Madame Seyler to good use, and combined
her many natural gifts for art with the most
noble and upright character.
Karl Hanke (music director)
Although Karl Hanke is not named in the Warsaw libretto of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, he had been musical director of the company under Constantini, as noted in the report on the Warsaw company in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung and also in the Theater-Kalender for 1783:
Hr. Hanke ist Musikdirektor, und betritt zuwei=
len, wenn Noth an Mann geht, das Theater, ohne
Anspruch auf den Namen eines Schauspielers zu ma=
chen, den er auch wohl nie erlangen dürfte.
[LTZ, 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 29]
Herr Hanke is music director, and occasionally
appears on stage when a man is needed, without
making any pretension to the name of “actor,”
which he probably will also never attain.
H. Hanke, Neben=
rollen. (ist eigentlich Musikdirektor.)
[ThK 1783, 298]
Herr Hanke, supporting
roles. (Is actually music director.)
Although not named in the libretto, it is likely (given that his wife was in the cast) that Hanke remained as music director for the performance of Entführung.
Hanke, who has been little studied, was a prolific composer, although relatively little of his work is known to survive; there are currently just 15 entries for Hanke in the online RISM catalog of manuscript and printed music. Much of what we know about him comes from a long article, filling four full columns in Ernst Ludwig Gerber’s Neues historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler from 1812. That article is so detailed and its list of works so extensive that it seems certain that it derives from information provided by the composer himself or someone close to him. Yet Gerber’s information may have been several years out of date: his article states at the outset that Hanke is “gegenwärtig Kantor und Musikdirektor zu Flensburg” (current cantor and music director in Flensburg), implying that Hanke actively held that position in 1812; but the current secondary literature places Hanke’s death in 1803 (see Kellner 2003, 18, and Rönnau 2015).
According to Gerber, Hanke was born in Roßwald (now Slezské Rudoltice) in Moravia. Gerber gives no date of birth, but Hanke is said in the literature to have been born in 1750 or Dec 1749. Although Gerber does not mention it, Hanke’s flowery dedication to Gluck in the published keyboard score of Hanke’s singspiel Robert und Hannchen implies that he had been Gluck’s student (see Einstein 1938, who transcribes the dedication in full), thus also implying that Hanke had spent time in Vienna. According to Gerber, from the age of 22 (ca. 1772), Hanke was a member of the musical establishment of Count Albert Joseph von Hoditz (1706–1778) in Roßwald. It was apparently during this period that he married his voice student Maria Anna, née Stormkin. After the Count’s death, both took up positions at the theater in Brünn, where Hanke was music director and his wife a member of the ensemble. Both are mentioned in the same article on theater in Brünn that was cited above in regard to Ferdinand Arnold:
[...] Es fügte sich eben da=
mals, daß Hr. Hanke mit seiner Frau nach Abster=
ben des Grafen von Hodiz brodlos geworden; sie
betrat daher das Theater als erste Sängerin, und ge=
fiel wegen einer besondern Höhe der Stimme. Herr
Hanke dirigirte das Orchester, und setzte auch eine Oper
von Hrn. Professor Zehnmark unter dem Titel, der
Wunsch der Mädchen, in Musik. [...]
[LTZ, 8:41, 11 Oct 1783, 650]
[...] It happened also at
that time [around 1778] that Herr Hanke and his wife had
become unemployed following the death of Count Hoditz;
thus she joined the theater as prima donna, and was well
received on account of her especially high voice. Herr Hanke
directed the orchestra, and also set to music an opera
by Herr Professor Zehnmark under the title Der Wunsch
der Mädchen. [...]
(Der Wunsch der Mädchen is not included in the extensive list of Hanke’s works in Gerber’s dictionary.) They were sufficiently successful in Brünn that their initial one-year contract was renewed for two more years. According to Gerber, Hanke and his wife were then “called” to the Warsaw company (“erhielten … einen Ruf nach Warschau”), suggesting that Constantini and Morelli may have stopped in Brünn during their recruiting trip to Vienna in Feb 1781; if so, they may have recruited Arnold and the Hankes at the same time. In Warsaw Hanke composed his singspiel Robert und Hannchen, for which he received a gold medallion from King Stanisław August, who (according to Gerber) also rewarded Hanke with a golden box on another occasion. (Regarding a surviving manuscript score of Robert und Hannchen, see the Notes below.) Robert und Hannchen received five performances in the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna in 1786, at a time when Hanke’s former colleague Ferdinand Arnold was again in the company (Hadamowsky, 106–7; a libretto for the Viennese performance is here).
After the collapse of the Warsaw company, Hanke and his wife went to Berlin, then joined Seyler’s company in Hamburg, where they arrived in Nov 1783. In 1787 (Gerber gives 1786) they followed Seyler to the court theater in Schleswig (Bauman 1985, 249). Maria Anna Hanke died of consumption (Auszehrung) on 20 Apr 1789 (this date according to Gerber; the brief obituary from the Taschenbuch für die Schaubühne of 1793 gives the date of her death as 1791). As a memorial to her, Hanke included her setting of a Hölty poem “Elegie auf ein Landmädchen” in the first volume of his Gesänge beim Clavier, für Kenner und Liebhaber (1790). In 1791 he married a Mademoiselle Berwald, aunt of the touring violin prodigy Johan Fredrik Berwald; she herself is said to have been a singer and a pupil of Naumann. Hanke ended his career in Flensburg, where he founded a singing school and established a concert series, eventually becoming the city’s music director. His notable compositions includes incidental music and songs for Die Hochzeit des Figaro, a German translation of Beaumarchais’ La Folle journée, ou Le Mariage de Figaro; Hanke’s version dates from 1785, the year before Mozart’s opera. (A manuscript of a song from Hanke’s version, “Ich stand am Bach und weinte” for “Cherubim,” is here; the manuscript bears a dedication from Hanke to Johann Christian Brandes.) In Schleswig Hanke set to music a libretto by Sophie Seyler, Hüon und Amande (1789), adapted from Wieland’s Oberon (Bauman 1985, 249).
Speaking roles: Herr Haym and Gottlieb Lorenz
Herr Haym, who took the minor speaking role of Klaas in the Warsaw production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, was a utility player in the company. The correspondent to the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung is not complimentary:
Hr. Haym ist die Monotonie selbst; wer ihn ein=
mal sieht und hört, hat ihn in allen Rollen gesehn
und gehört. Rollen, worin ihm sein Pflegma zu stat=
ten kommt, gelingen ihm noch so ziemlich.
[LTZ, 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 29]
Herr Haym is monotony personified; whoever has
seen and heard him once has seen and heard him in
all roles. He is fairly successful in roles in which
his phlegmatic nature is useful.
Gottlieb Lorenz, who played Bassa Selim in the Warsaw production, is said by the correspondent to the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung to have been the company’s best actor:
Hr. Lorenz ist unser erster und bester Akteur, ob
er gleich nur selten die ersten und besten Rollen spielt.
Jeder Karakter gewinnt durch seine Behandlung, und
man sieht ihn täglich mit neuem Vergnügen. Das
Publikum empfängt ihn immer mit Händeklatschen,
und hält den Hofrath in den sechs Schüsseln und den
Hamlet für seine besten Rollen.
[LTZ, 5:2, 12 Jan 1782, 29]
Herr Lorenz is our leading and best actor, although
he actually only infrequently takes the leading and
best roles. Every character benefits from his treatment,
and one sees him daily with renewed pleasure. The
public always greets him with applause, and holds
the Hofrat in [Großmann’s Nicht mehr als] sechs Schüsseln
and Hamlet to be his best roles.
Lorenz was the “untergordneter Directeur” (subordinate director) of the company under Lubomirski (Parkitna, in progress). He seems to be the same Lorenz who led a theatrical troupe of his own in Braunschweig in 1784: a correspondent’s report on that company in the Litteratur- und Theater-Zeitung mentions Hamlet and the Hofrath in Nicht mehr als sechs Schüsseln among Lorenz’s notable roles (the report as a whole is in LTZ, 7:28, 10 Jul 1784, 23–26; the report is dated 12 Jun 1784). However, no member of the Warsaw German company is known to have been in Lorenz’s company in Braunschweig; it seems likely that he built his own company from scratch after the collapse of the German theater in Warsaw.
Prince Jerzy Marcin Lubomirski (1738–1811; pl.wikipedia), who led the brief continuation of the German company in Warsaw after Easter 1783, was something of a notorious figure in his day. Van der Meer (2002, 147) describes him as follows:
That Jerzy Marcin Lubomirski is hardly ever mentioned in the official contemporary papers and the later historical studies is due not only to the relatively insignificant part he played in eighteenth-century cultural activities (he performed the role of the entrepreneur of the Warsaw public theater for only a short time in 1783 and 1785), but, surely, also to his morally offensive lifestyle. Officially appointed General of the Army of the Kingdom of Poland, his contemporaries knew him better as a plunderer, a bandit, a man who had even been condemned for murder, and a sexual pervert. In short, he was a man who did not abide by any law or social convention, and could afford to live in such a manner only because he belonged to the nation’s most wealthy nobility.
Lubomirski’s enterprise had collapsed by June 1783, and the company disbanded. The direction of theater in Warsaw was taken over by Wojciech Bogusławski, whose company staged Die Entführung aus dem Serail in Polish on 25 Nov 1783, the anniversary of the king’s coronation (see entry for that date).
Sources of the Warsaw libretto and score(⇧)
It is beyond the scope of this commentary to make a detailed philological comparison between the Warsaw libretto and the original Viennese libretto from 1782. However, it seems certain that the Warsaw libretto was a direct copy from the Viennese: the order in which the characters are listed and their descriptions are identical in the two, and even though the Warsaw libretto is set in roman type, instead of the Fraktur of the Viennese, text breaks at page turns are identical throughout all but the final pages of both (apart from five tiny discrepancies of one to three syllables). The two fall out of synchronization only in the final three pages of the Warsaw libretto (four in the Viennese), during the opera’s finale. This close synchronization suggests very strongly that the Warsaw libretto was typeset directly from the Viennese.
The source of the score used for the first Warsaw production of Entführung remains unknown. As we have seen, several members of the company had spent time in Vienna and likely retained connections to the musical world there. Fuchs, Reiner, and Arnold had all previously sung in the National Singspiel in Vienna (although all had departed well before the premiere of Mozart’s opera), and Arnold returned in 1785, marrying a prominent colleague in the company, Therese Teuber, who had already been in the company of the National Singspiel during his previous tenure. Teuber created the role of Blonde in the premiere of Mozart’s opera, and could well have been the intermediary for the acquisition of the score by the Warsaw company, if she and Arnold remained in touch in the interim. Karl Hanke seems to have studied with Gluck, almost certainly in Vienna, and Hanke and his wife were associated for around three years with the theater in Brünn (Brno), very much in the Viennese cultural orbit. As a composer of singspiel himself, Hanke would likely have kept up to date on new developments in the genre, so he would also have had an interest in Mozart’s new opera. Various members of Lubomirski’s family had ties to Vienna: a Lubomirski Palace stood on the Mölker Bastei in Vienna from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. It is possible, then, that Lubomirski himself was the one who obtained the score of Entführung, either personally, or through his Viennese connections. Given the absence of any direct evidence, we should perhaps not rule out the possibility that the score had been obtained by the company in Warsaw while it was still managed by Constantini, who, as we have seen, had visited Vienna on a recruiting trip in 1781, and probably maintained connections with the theatrical community there.