Max Marschalk's music theater

"Of elves and angels"

Max Marschalk (1863-1940)

The imp

Opera in one act, libretto: Moritz Heimann


Melodramatic music for "Hanneles Himmelfahrt" by Gerhart Hauptmann, translation: Maria Konopnicka

October 10, 2020, 5:00 p.m.
City Museum Gerhart-Hauptmann-Haus in Hirschberg

free entry

October 11, 2020, 7:00 p.m.
Goßwitz manor house

Free entry, donations welcome

Director: Eleni Ioannidou

Costumes: Anna Utko

Piano: Mateusz Słowikowski


Marie: Małgorzata Przybysz (Mezzo)

Gnome: Mikołaj Bońkowski (bass)

Hänschen: Christian Bild (tenor)

Housewife: Eleni Ioannidou (soprano)

In cooperation with the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Haus in Hirschberg and the Herrenhaus Gosswitz.

The project was funded by the Cultural Department for Silesia in the Silesian Museum in Görlitz and the General Consulate of the FRG in Breslau.

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About the work

"Das Wichtelchen" was composed around 1900 based on the libretto by Moritz Heimann , who was also the husband of Max Marschalk's sister. Incidentally, Gerhart Hauptmann was the husband of Marschalk's second sister, Margarette. "Wichteln" are house spirits that appear in various fairy tales of Central Europe, but also in Slavic culture. They can be good or bad, it depends on the people they hang out with.

In the opera in one act by Max Marschalk , an elf befriends the young Marie, who is the nanny in a lady's house and takes care of her son Hansen. Hänschen likes the songs and stories of his nanny. When asked how Marie knew these songs from, she replied that it was a little pixy she was teaching her. But Hans has to go to sleep now and then the imp appears behind the stove. He starts talking to the young girl and gets her to remember an incident that she pushed aside a long time ago. The girl's dark secret is then revealed and the opera ends with a dramatic finale. But until the end we don't know who this imp really is and why he appeared?

Max Marschalk wrote music for many pieces by Gerhart Hauptmann , such as "Und Pippa tanzt", "Sunken Glocke" or "Schluck und Jauch". The first and most important was "Hanneles Himmelfahrt", translated into Polish by Maria Konopnicka. It was Bolko von Hochberg who, as the director of the Royal Theater in Berlin, made the premiere possible in 1893. Hannele is a half-orphan who, mistreated by her father, throws herself into the icy river out of desperation. Rescued by the villagers and their teacher Gottwald, she lies dying next to sister Marta and sees in a dream how everyone around her turns into angels. In heaven she sees her beloved teacher transforming into the "stranger" (Jesus) who receives her in paradise. Hannele was the debut role of many later great actresses such as Pola Negri.

Max Marschalk (Berlin, 1863 - Pobierowo, 1940) was a German composer, music teacher, music critic and music publisher. He was the son of Fritz Marschalk, a merchant and shop owner, and Laura Marschalk, a singer. He was also the older brother of the violinist, actress and pacifist Margarete Hauptmann, Gerhart Hauptmann's second wife. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin (painting) and took private composition lessons from Heinrich Urban. From 1885 he worked as a music critic, from 1895 to 1933 for the "Vossische Zeitung". He also worked as a singing teacher. Until 1934 he was the owner of the music publisher "Dreililien" in Berlin. Marschalk was very close friends with the composers Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. As a composer he created operas and theater music, especially for his brother-in-law Gerhart Hauptmann, but also orchestral pieces and many songs.

A project by the Ars-Augusta eV association in cooperation with the Gerhart Hauptmann Haus municipal museum in Hirschberg and the Goßwitz manor house. Funded by the cultural department for Silesia in the Silesian Museum in Görlitz and the German Consulate in Breslau.