Der Freischütz

German opera

Der Freischütz is an opera in three acts by Carl Maria von Weber with a libretto by Friedrich Kind. It premiered on 18 June 1821 at the Schauspielhaus Berlin. The title is usually translated as The Marksman,[1] or The Freeshooter.[2]

Carl Maria von Weber

The opera is the first important German Romantic opera,[3] especially in its national identity and stark emotionality.[4] The plot is based on the German folk legend of the Freischütz and many of its tunes were inspired by German folk music. Its unearthly portrayal of the supernatural in the famous Wolf's Glen scene has been described as "the most expressive rendering of the gruesome that is to be found in a musical score".[5]


  1. Scholes, Percy A., 1952, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, London: Oxford University Press, p. 219.
  2. Grove Dictionary of Music.
  3. Boyden, p. 339: "The German Romantic opera really began with Der Freischütz of Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826). See also p.284 n.2: "Indeed from Weber's Freischütz (1821) one can date the beginning of musical Romanticism."
  4. Boyden, p. 339: "This work ... marked the emancipation of the German opera from Italian and French models ... In addition to the magic and supernatural elements, the opera specializes in local color of the forest, peasants, rustic love, hunting, and hunting horns ... the folk tale, the folk-song type of melody, and folk dances. These elements are rather naïve and nationalist in emphasis."
  5. Kobbé 1997, p. 958.