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Oper in vier Akten (Neufassung 1952/61)
Text von Paul Hindemith und Ferdinand Lion nach der Novelle "Das Fräulein von Scuderi" von E.T.A. Hoffmann
Edition: Performance material

Product Details


I. Paris is shocked by a series of hold-up murders. The opera singer who learns that all the victims were wearing valuable jewellery will only receive her cavalier if he brings her an object from Cardillac’s workshop. Cardillac unsuccessfully attempts to prevent the purchase. When the cavalier brings a diadem to the singer, a figure wearing a coat and a mask enters, stabs the cavalier and robs him of the diadem.
II. Cardillac’s apprentice, who has denounced an innocent party out of fear, wishes to marry Cardillac’s daughter, but his master refuses to entertain the idea. The latest murder exonerates the denounced party who is released and the apprentice arrested in his place. The opera company wishes to purchase a crown from Cardillac for a performance. The diadem which was sold by the daughter is recognised by the singer as being the identical object presented to her by the cavalier. She is startled, but says nothing. The apprentice who has succeeded in breaking out of custody hears of the sale of the diadem and realises that Cardillac must be the murderer. He vainly attempts to persuade Cardillac’s daughter to flee with him. Cardillac dons his coat and mask and goes on search of the diadem.
III. Lully’s opera Phaeton is being premièred at the opera house: Phaeton attempts to impress his beloved Theon (played by the singer), attempts to steer the sun chariot of Apollo and plummets to earth. During the performance, the apprentice warns the singer of the impending danger associated with the possession of the diadem. Cardillac observes the singer on stage in the Lully opera. After the performance, she presents him with the diadem (observed by the officer): she can understand his exclusive love of his precious creation and he admires her dedication to the public on stage. Cardillac discovers that the officer has taken possession of the diadem.
 IV. The apprentice prevents Cardillac from stealing the diadem from the officer. The officer and apprentice inform the daughter of her father’s deeds. Cardillac admits being the murderer in an altercation with the crowd. He claims that his deeds were justified and is killed by the crowd.

When Hindemith commenced his revision of the first version of the opera in 1948, he was initially concentrating on textual details. During this process however, he also undertook fundamental dramaturgical alterations: the artist’s dilemma is here given a greater focus than in the original version and is integrated in elements of musical-philosophic considerations which he simultaneously presented in his book A Composer’s World (1952). In contrast, he made only small alterations to the compositional substance of the work. An unbiased reception of the second version of Cardillac was never going to be possible due to the increasing criticism directed at Hindemith from the 1950s onwards. His desire to prevent accessibility to the stage material of the first version was interpreted as a deliberate distancing from his early works. Following a production of the first version in Wuppertal (1960), the new version almost faded into oblivion during Hindemith’s lifetime and was last seen in 1969 in a production in Leipzig. Since then, the quality and special features of the dramaturgy, contents and music – particularly the presentation of an ‘opera within an opera’ in Act III – have largely remained unacknowledged. (S. Sch.-G.)

Orchestral Cast

2 (2. auch Picc.) · 1 · Engl. Hr. · Es-Klar. · 1 · Bassklar. · Tenorsax. · 2 · Kfg. - 1 · 2 · 2 · 1 - P. S. (Glsp. · Trgl. · kl. Gong · hg. Beck. · Beckenpaar · Tamt. · Tamb. · Rührtr. · kl. Tr. · gr. Tr.) (4 Spieler) - Klav. - Str. (6 · 0 · 4 · 4 · 4) -
Bühnenmusik: Fl. · Ob. · Fg. - Hfe. · Cemb. - Str. (1 · 0 · 1 · 1 · 1)


Cardillac, ein berühmter Goldschmied · Bariton - Seine Tochter · Sopran - Sein Gesell · Tenor - Die erste Sängerin der Oper · Sopran - Offizier · Bass - Der junge Kavalier · Tenor - Der reiche Marquis · stumme Rolle - Volk, Wachen, Theaterpersonal · Chor -
In Lullys Oper "Phaeton": Die Altistin (Klymene) - Der Tenor (Phaeton) - Der Bassist (Apollo) - Choristen und Tänzer

More Information

Oper in vier Akten (Neufassung 1952/61)
Text von Paul Hindemith und Ferdinand Lion nach der Novelle "Das Fräulein von Scuderi" von E.T.A. Hoffmann
Italienische Übersetzung von Massimiliano Carlo, englische Übersetzung von Leo Black
German, English, Italian
Performance material
Schott Music
130 ′
World Premiere:
June 20, 1952 · Zürich (CH)
Conductor: Victor Reinshagen · Choir director: Hans Erismann
Original staging: Hans Zimmermann · Set desing: Max Röthlisberger

Technical Details

Product number:
LS 2222-02


Set Ascending Direction
  • Cardillac
    Conductor: Paul Schmitz
    October 26, 1969 | Leipzig (Germany) , Opernhaus — First Night
  • Cardillac
    Conductor: Klaus Tennstedt
    February 1, 1966 | Schwerin (Germany) , Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater — First Night
  • Cardillac
    Conductor: Milos Tibor Freso
    December 19, 1964 | Bratislava (Slovakia) , Slowakisches Nationaltheater — National Premiere
  • Cardillac
    Conductor: Reinhard Peters
    February 16, 1964 | Münster (Germany) , Städtische Bühnen — First Night
  • Cardillac
    Conductor: Leopold Ludwig
    December 22, 1961 | Hamburg (Germany) , Hamburgische Staatsoper — First Night
  • Set Ascending Direction

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