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Georg Friedrich Treitschke

Librettist

Biography

German librettist, theatre manager and translator Georg Friedrich Treitschke revised the libretto for Beethoven’s Fidelio for its final definitive version, first performed in 1814.

Treitschke was born in Leipzig in 1776. He moved to Vienna in 1800 to pursue a career as an actor at the Court Opera. He became poet and stage manager at the Court Opera in 1802 and managed the Theater an der Wien from 1809 to 1814. Treitschke wrote, translated and revised many operas and Singspiel librettos for performance in Vienna. Beethoven commissioned him to revise his libretto for Fidelio in 1814 for performances at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna. Treitschke’s work including shifting the emphasis away from the personal drama of Leonore and Florestan in Act II towards a more general focus on empathy and morality. Beethoven was pleased with Treitschke’s work, and declared that it had inspired him to ‘rebuild the ruins of an old castle’. The premiere of the revised and final version of Fidelio was a great success.

Treitschke translated many French operas into German for performance in Vienna (including Cherubini’s Medée and works by Spontini, Isouard and Boieldieu) and also made German translations of Mozart’s Idomeneo and Così fan tutte. Beethoven set Treitschke’s poem Ruf vom Berge to music and contributed music to his Singspiels Die gute Nachricht (1814) and Die Ehrenpforten (1815).