The musical comedy is a drama with musical interludes ( songs, dances, instrumental movements ) and most of the blue fundamental character. In contrast to the opera buffa the Singspiel between the vocal numbers has no recitatives, but spoken dialogue. The " German Singspiel " has emerged in the 18th century from the Opéra Comique.


The term Singspiel existed in Germany since the 16th century for scenic madrigals as well as ecclesiastical, courtly and urban games in which music played a role. During the Baroque period, the pastoral Singspiel developed in the Italian style with Heinrich Schütz Tragicomoedia from Dafne ( 1627, libretto by Martin Opitz ). During this time, the term Singspiel is still quite unspecific used for musical theater events of all kinds and serves best to distinguish the German-speaking parts of the operas imported from the Romansh language region.

The Singspiel as a reasonably well-defined genre of musical theater since 1700 developed about as middle-class counterpart to the court opera. In contrast to the opera occurs in the Singspiel in place of the first aria the song and the place of the recitative as spoken. Easier to Sing Games, inserted in the place newly composed arias known songs were like the French vaudeville, was called often songs games.

1776 Joseph II declared the French Theatre in Vienna (today's Burgtheater ) for Teutschen National Theatre and promoted there, the performance German Singspiel to overcome the French models. In this context, Mozart was The Abduction from the Seraglio ( 1782 ). The " Vienna National Singspiel " combined traditions of the Viennese popular theater with opera buffa and opera seria. In the free, commercial theater scene, however, Mozart's Magic Flute (1791 ), which should be considered grand opera was born. Even Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Christoph Martin Wieland wrote texts for singing games, which remained restricted to the local context.

Because Vienna was the largest city in the German language area, the popular musical play had good development possibilities here. Something provincial was the northern and central German Singspiel, which was based also on the English ballad opera and the French comédie pavé d' Ariettes. From the initial pure translations of English and French pieces soon develop their own stage plays, which are supplemented by arias and librettos. By Johann Adam Hiller's influence, the German -language musical comedy reached its heyday in the 18th and early 19th century. The all-illuminating example of this were the Opéras comiques the Paris fairground theater. Singspiele often had a comedic character, because bourgeois stage events had to be comedies in accordance with the objects clause. Since then lost this bid to influence, musical comedies were also used to convey serious content. Examples include Mozart's Singspiel or Ludwig van Beethoven's Fidelio (1805 ), whose first act is a kind of musical comedy. Popular in the Biedermeier period were melodramas in Singspiel style along the lines of Étienne -Nicolas Méhul Joseph (1807 ), as Joseph Weigl's The Swiss Family (1809 ).

In the 19th century the Singspiel was a counterpoint to the much more complex produced great opera and could also be performed by itinerant troupes, from which emerged authors such as Albert Lortzingstraße. The author, playwright and director Charles of Holtei used as the Singspiel in the royal theater in Berlin. Likewise, there was a large part of the repertoire of the Viennese suburban theater from Singspiel, their differentiation to farce with songs often not sharp.

Since the second half of the 19th century was called smaller operettas often " Singspiel " (cf. music hall ). In the 20th century, the musical comedy originated mainly in London and New York City.

Ideological attributions

The strong dependence of the Singspiel of the pieces of the Paris market theater was concealed by the German literature and musicology long time. A German - nationalist cultural history has tried in the first half of the 20th century to construct a history of the Singspiel independent of French influence. So there was the view that from Hiller's singing games and Mozart's Magic Flute linear a German comic opera and a German Romantic opera had developed or that of the Viennese "national Singspiel " the Viennese operetta had arisen. The German musical comedies were in the abundance of dominant French products but only single events were mostly adaptations or translations of French originals, and could barely break away from their influence.


  • Johann Adam Hiller: The love in the country, 1768
  • The village barber, 1771
  • Bastien and Bastienne, Vienna 1768
  • Zaide (fragment ), 1781
  • The Abduction from the Seraglio, Vienna 1782
  • The Impresario, Vienna 1786
  • The Magic Flute, Vienna 1791
  • The interrupted feast of sacrifice, Vienna 1796
  • The labyrinth, in 1798
  • Melusina, Berlin 1833, text by Franz Grillparzer
  • The overnight camp in Granada, Vienna 1834 (arranged with spoken dialogue ), text by Karl von Braun
  • The Devil's pleasure palace, Vienna 1813 ( UA: 1978 ), Text: August von Kotzebue
  • Claudine von Villa Bella, 1815 Text: Johann Wolfgang Goethe
  • The four-year post 1815 (UA 1896)
  • The twin brothers, Vienna 1820
  • The conspirators or the domestic war, in 1823, UA 1861 Vienna
  • The Talisman, Vienna 1840
  • The Mädl from the suburbs, Vienna 1841
  • A joke he wants to make, Vienna 1842