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Agnes von Hohenstaufen

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Gasparo Spontini


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Agnes von Hohenstaufen Synopsis


Agnes von Hohenstaufen Libretto



About the opera Agnes von Hohenstaufen

Agnes von Hohenstaufen is an opera in three acts by the Italian composer Gaspare Spontini. The German libretto is by Ernst Benjamin Salomo Raupach. It was first staged at the Königliches Opernhaus, Berlin on 12 June 1829. Raupach categorised Agnes von Hohenstaufen as a historical-romantic opera and it is one of a number of German works of the time set in the Middle Ages (others include Weber's Euryanthe, Wagner's Tannhäuser and Lohengrin and Schumann's Genoveva). Agnes also contains many of the features that would be characteristic of French Grand Opera. Spontini substantially reworked the piece for a revival in 1837.
The action concerns the struggle between the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI (Heinrich VI) and the leader of the noble Welf faction, Henry the Lion (Heinrich der Löwe). The first act is set in Mainz where the emperor has assembled his forces to march against the Welfs. Agnes of Hohenstaufen, the emperor's cousin, is engaged to be married to the son of Henry the Lion, Henry "Palatinus", but the war brings this alliance into doubt. Henry arrives at Mainz disguised as a troubadour. The French ambassador proposes that Agnes should be married to his king, Philip II Augustus (Philipp August), instead. The emperor agrees and the betrothal is announced at a banquet. Henry, unable to bear the French ambassador's flirting with Agnes, is moved to anger and his true identity is revealed. The emperor condemns him to death and banishes Agnes to a convent. This highhandedness provokes a mutiny amongst some of the nobles.
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Roles in Agnes von Hohenstaufen

Agnes von Hohenstaufen Soprano
Irmengard Soprano
Philipp von Hohenstaufen Tenor
Philipp August Baritone
Conrad von Hohenstaufen Bass
Kaiser Heinrich VI Bass

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