Carl Maria von Weber – pioneer of German Romanticism

Weber's most famous work is Der Freischütz, which established the sound and style of German Romantic opera. The first performance took place in the Schauspielhaus on Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin in 1821 and was conducted by the composer himself.

Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) was born into a musical family. Both his parents were travelling musicians and his cousin Constanze had married Mozart in 1782. Carl Maria was born in Eutin in northern Germany. His birthplace can still be seen and there is a fine monument to him in the Carl Maria von Weber memorial grove. The Eutin Festival pays homage to the composer, who wrote his first opera at the age of only eleven.

In his posts as kapellmeister and opera director in various cities including Breslau (Wrocław) and Prague, Weber introduced many organisational procedures that are now part and parcel of orchestral life. In 1817 he was appointed director of opera in Dresden, where his summer residence was in Hosterwitz. Today this house is the Carl Maria von Weber Museum. There is a statue of Weber on Theaterplatz in the centre of Dresden.

Oberon, Weber's last romantic opera, was composed to an English libretto for the London Opera House. Although he was already ill with tuberculosis, Weber conducted the premiere in London himself; he died there a few weeks later. In 1844 his coffin was transferred to Dresden and laid to rest in the Old Catholic Cemetery.

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