Friedrich von Flotow  
Friedrich von Flotow
Friedrich von Flotow, (born April 26, 1812, Teutendorf, near Lübeck, French Empire [now in Germany]—died Jan. 24, 1883, Darmstadt, Ger.), German composer, active mainly in France, who was best known for his opera Martha (1847).

Originally intended for a diplomatic career, from age 16 Flotow studied music in Paris with Anton Reicha.

Forced to leave Paris during the July Revolution of 1830, he went home but returned to Paris in 1831.

In 1837 he produced a first, brief version of the opera Alessandro Stradella, which later, in its complete form, enjoyed great success. In 1839 he collaborated with Albert Grisar and Auguste Pilati on Le Naufrage de la Méduse (“The Wreck of the Medusa”).

Between 1840 and 1878 he produced 19 light operas. Martha, composed to a German libretto and first performed in Vienna, was subsequently heard in translation in many European cities. One of its numbers, in the English version, is “The Last Rose of Summer.”

Appealing in its melodic charm, Martha won a lasting place in the operatic repertory. Flotow also wrote ballets for the court theatre at Schwerin, of which he was director from 1855 to 1862, and incidental music for William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Grave of Friedrich von Flotow in the "Alter Friedhof" in Darmstadt, Germany
Martha - 1847
Martha, oder Der Markt zu Richmond (Martha, or The Market at Richmond) is a romantic comic opera in four acts by Friedrich von Flotow set to a German libretto by Friedrich Wilhelm Riese and based on a story by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges.

Flotow had composed the first act of a ballet, Harriette, ou la servante de Greenwiche, derived from a text by Saint-Georges, for the ballerina Adèle Dumilâtre. This was first performed by the Paris Opera Ballet at the Salle Le Peletier on 21 February 1844. The time available for the composition was short, so the second and third acts were assigned, respectively, to Friedrich Burgmüller and Édouard Deldevez. The opera Martha was an adaptation of this ballet.

Critical appreciation

According to Gustav Kobbé, Martha, though written by a native of Mecklenburg and first performed in Vienna, is French in character and elegance. Flotow was French in his musical training, as were both the origins of both the plot and the score of this work, effectively in the tradition of Auber. (Flotow studied composition in Paris under Reicha, 1827–1830, and having left on account of the July revolution returned there from 1835–1848, and again from 1863-1868.)

Performance history
The first performance of Martha took place at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna on 25 November 1847. Other early productions followed in Weimar (16 February 1848), Dresden (1 March 1848), Leipzig (1 March 1848), and Berlin (7 March 1848). It was performed in Budapest in Hungarian (11 July 1848) and in Prague in German (24 March 1849) and in Czech (17 February 1850). There were several early productions in London, the first in German at Drury Lane (4 June 1849), followed by one in Italian at Covent Garden (1 July 1858) and another in English at Drury Lane (11 October 1858).

In the United States, it was produced in English at Niblo's Garden in New York on 1 November 1852 with Anna Bishop, in New Orleans on 27 January 1860, in French. It had its first Australian performance in Melbourne on 24 June 1856. It was first performed in France in Italian by the Théâtre-Italien at the Salle Ventadour in Paris on 11 February 1858 and in French at several provincial theatres beginning in December 1858 and at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris on 18 December 1865. According to T. J. Walsh numerous editions of Kobbé's Opera Book have incorrectly given the date of the first performance at the Théâtre Lyrique as 16 December 1865. He also states that Kobbé's information that the aria "M'appari" (from Flotow's opera L'âme en peine) was first inserted at that theatre is also incorrect, that it was sung by Mario at the Théâtre-Italien in 1858 and is also found (as "Ach! so fromm") in an early (probably 1848) Vienna edition of the score in the British Library and was probably always a part of the opera. The confusion may have arisen from further alterations made by the Théâtre Lyrique's director, Léon Carvalho, which included the insertion in Act 4 of Flotow's baritone aria "Depuis le jour j'ai paré ma chaumière" (also from L'âme en peine).

In 1877, at the Royal Italian Opera in Covent Garden, Victor Capoul performed as Lyonel, with Francesco Graziani (baritone) as Plumkett and Sofia Scalchi as Nancy.

The popularity of Martha received a fresh boost in 1906 when it was staged at the New York Metropolitan Opera in a production that featured the great tenor Enrico Caruso, singing in Italian. Caruso would perform the role of Lyonel many times during subsequent seasons and record extracts from the Italian version of the opera. Recent productions in the United Kingdom have included those by Opera South in 1986 and 2009 and Bel Canto Opera in 2002. Those in the U.S have included Michigan Opera Theatre in 1985.


Time: 1710.
Place: Richmond, England.

Act 1

Lady Harriet Durham, a maid-of-honour to Queen Anne, is so tired of Court life, and so sick of her many insipid admirers, she retires to the country. But she becomes bored so she decides to attend the fair at Richmond where girls hire themselves out as servants. For a laugh, she and her confidante Nancy masquerade as maidservants. Her foppish old cousin, Sir Tristan, another admirer whom she terms a bore, accompanies them. Harriet manages to lose her escort, and then, she and Nancy stand in the line of girls waiting to be hired. Two young farmers, Lyonel and Plunkett, are looking for a couple of wenches to do their housework and being struck by the beauty and charm of the two masqueraders, proceed to hire them. Lady Harriet giving her name as Martha. The girls are soon dismayed to find they are legally bound to their new masters for a year. Sir Tristan is unable to retrieve them from their fate.

Act 2
Quickly both farmers fall for their new maidservants — Lyonel for Harriet and Plunkett for Nancy. Harriet feels that Lyonel is of higher station than he appears. He is an orphan who was left with Plunkett's parents in early childhood. The new maids are totally inept at their tasks, which infuriates Plunkett. Finally, the new maids are told to go to bed, but escape through the window, with the aid of Sir Tristan. The young farmers are distressed and angry at the loss of their maids, and Lyonel's grief is so great that he falls into a melancholy state.

Act 3
Wandering in the forest, Lyonel meets a royal hunting party and recognises Lady Harriet. He declares his love for her, but she rebuffs him. Lyonel reminds her of her contract to serve him for a year. She tells the party the young man is mad, and Sir Tristan supports her declaration. Orders are given to imprison the young man. Lyonel has a ring his father gave him, saying if he was ever in trouble he was to send the ring to the Queen. He begs his friend to take it to the court.

Act 4
The ring saves Lyonel. The Queen recognises it as that of a banished nobleman, whose innocence has since been proved. Lady Harriet is now willing to accept his courtship as there is no longer a class difference to stand between them. She is filled with remorse for the way she has treated him. She reveals to him his true identity and tells him that his estate will be restored but he is blinded by anger with Harriet for the injustice she did him and refuses to accept her love. To win him back Harriet and Nancy return to the fair once again dressed as country wenches. When Plunkett brings Lyonel to the fair and points out the two pretty serving-maids, Lyonel realises he does love Harriet. He embraces her, and they agree to marry, as do Plunkett and Nancy.

Noted arias, duets, ensembles
"Ach! so fromm, ach! so traut (M’apparì tutt’amor)" (Lyonel)
"Blickt sein Aug"
"Lasst mich euch fragen (Porter-Lied)" Drinking Song (Plunkett)
"Letzte Rose (The Last Rose of Summer)" (Martha, later with Lyonel)
"Mag der Himmel Euch vergeben (Lyonel's Prayer)"
"Schlafe wohl! Und mag Dich reuen (Good Night Quartet)"
"Was soll ich dazu sagen? (Spinning-Wheel Quartet)"
"Povero Lionello... Il mio Lionel" (Added by Flotow for baritone Graziani's Plunkett, solely in the Italian version)

Musical content

The overture itself is among von Flotow's most appreciated works. It begins with a slow A minor introduction, but changes suddenly to an A major theme (that of Lyonel's prayer in Act 3, "Mag der Himmel Euch vergeben"). It reverts to A minor with a busy, agitated motif, representing Lady Harriet and Nancy bustling about, leading into the C major peasant girls' chorus theme from Act 1. Then the agitated theme returns, but now in the major key of A. It leads without further modulation back to the Lyonel's prayer motif, and so the overture ends. The fluctuations of light and shade are reminiscent of Schubertian scoring, or of Weber (e.g. Der Freischütz overture): but without modulation into remote tonalities, they never really portend a tragic conclusion.

Though the powerful overture hints at a darker outcome, the opera ends happily. The heroine's levity and Lyonel's sincerity are its themes. The dramatic music, as between Lyonel and Harriet in Act 4, is weighty, while the scoring of the comic scenes is also (but differently) effective. In his own idiom, like Mozart in Don Giovanni or Verdi in Un ballo in maschera, von Flotow could build convivial music into a tragic dramatic context.

The Thomas Moore traditional Irish melody The Last Rose of Summer, introduced for Martha in Act 2, was a successful inclusion. Popular airs were then often introduced informally to operas as show-pieces by sopranos, for example 'Home, Sweet Home' in the lesson scene of The Barber of Seville. Singers such as Jenny Lind or Adelina Patti made much of them. In Martha the custom is formally perpetuated, and the melody then appears as a leitmotif to represent Lyonel's longing. The opera has many original melodies, including fine duet and quartet concerted numbers and several solo arias. However the most famous, 'M'appari' ('Ach, so fromm'), Lyonel's Act 3 romanza, was not originally written for this opera but for Flotow's L'âme en peine (produced by the Paris Opera in 1846).

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Friedrich von Flotow  "Martha" - Overture
Staatskapelle Berlin
Johannes Schüler, conductor
Berlin X.1944
Flotow - Martha, « Die letzte Rose... »
Singers of the European Opera Centre
Elsa Benoit, soprano - Martin Piskorski, tenor
European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) conducted by Laurent Pillot
St John's Smith Square, London
Europe Day Concert 2013
Erna Berger "Letzte Rose" Martha
Erna Berger sings "Letzte Rose"
from Martha by Friedrich von Flotow
Berlin State Opera Orchestra
Leo Blech, conductor
Berlin 18.I.1935
MARIO LANZA Singt. " M'APPARÌ TUTTO AMOR Finale Opera " dalla MARTA di FRIEDRICH VON FLOTOW - Sequenze dal film musicale il GRANDE CARUSO.
M'appari / Martha / Luciano Pavarotti
January 9, 1989. "Pavarotti Plus" performance from Avery Fisher Hall in NYC. This was an encore.
Pavarotti- Flotow- M'Appari- Martha
More from the 1988 Lincoln Center recital with James Levine
Mario Del Monaco - M'appari - Marta - Friedrich von Flowtow
Friedrich von Flotow "Finale " Martha
"Hier die Buden" the Finale
from Martha by Friedrich von Flotow (1812-1883)
Erna Berger (Lady Harriet)
Else Tegetthoff(Nancy)
Peter Anders (Lionel)
Josef Greindl (Plumkett)
Chor der Berliner Staatsoper
Staatskapelle Berlin
Johannes Schüler, conductor
Berlin X.1944
Alessandro Stradella - 1844
Alessandro Stradella is a romantic opera (Romantische Oper) in three acts composed by Friedrich von Flotow to a German libretto by "Wilhelm Friedrich" (Friedrich Wilhelm Riese). Set in Venice and the countryside near Rome, it is loosely based on the colourful life of the 17th-century Italian composer and singer Alessandro Stradella. It was first performed in its full version on 30 December 1844 at the Stadttheater in Hamburg.

Performance history

Alessandro Stradella began its life as Stradella, a one act comédie en vaudeville which opened in Paris at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal on 2 February 1837. Flotow then revised and expanded the work to a full three-act opera which had a successful premiere at the Stadttheater in Hamburg on 30 December 1844. The work proved to be very popular in Germany and in Austria where its successful debut at the Theater am Kärntnertor in 1845 led to a commission from the theatre to compose another opera, Martha, which premiered there in 1847. Alessandro Stradella was performed in an Italian translation by Callisto Bassi in several opera houses in Italy, including the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa and the Teatro della Canobbiana in Milan. It was also heard in Warsaw at the Teatr Wielki in 1858, in Brussels at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (in a French translation by Alphonse Royer) in 1859, in Paris at the Théâtre des Italiens (in Italian) in 1863, and in London at the Royal Opera House in 1864.

By the time it received its Metropolitan Opera premiere on 4 February 1910 with Leo Slezak as Stradella and Alma Gluck as Leonore, the work had nearly been forgotten. It received six performances at the Met that season, but then returned to relative obscurity, never achieving the more enduring popularity of Martha. The most notable 21st century revival was at Wexford Opera Festival in 2001 as part of the festival's 50th anniversary season. The Wexford production, directed by Thomas de Mallet Burgess and designed by Julian McGowan, set the opera in Flotow's time rather than Stradella's.

Place: Italy
Time: The 17th century

Act 1
In and around the Piazza San Marco, Venice

Stradella and his music students hymn the city of Venice. They then serenade Leonore, Stradella's beloved. She is held against her will in the house of her guardian, Bassi, who is planning to marry her on the following day, and, when she appears on her balcony, Stradella proposes that they elope. A noisy carnival procession enables them to slip away together, while Bassi's attempts to pursue them are impeded by the masked revellers.

Act 2
Outside Stradella's country house near Rome

Leonore rejoices at her impending marriage to Stradella. The couple leave for the ceremony. The bandits Malvolio and Barbarino appear separately, and discover that each has been engaged by Bassi to assassinate Stradella. Claiming to be pilgrims, they introduce themselves to the happy couple, and Stradella welcomes them to the celebrations. He sings of the compassion that lurks in the hearts of even the lowest members of society, and the bandits, moved, abandon their mission.

Act 3
In and around Stradella's country house.

Stradella and Leonore, joined by the bandits, sing of the beauties of Italy. The happy couple join a group of pilgrims. Bassi arrives and discovers that his instructions have not been carried out, but, when he offers the bandits more money, they agree again to murder Stradella. Bassi joins them. As they advance to do the deed, Stradella rehearses, with the pilgrims, a hymn in praise of the Virgin Mary, whose festival is on the following day. Its message is that she will forgive evil-doers who turn to the paths of righteousness, and the three conspirators, still clutching their daggers, are overwhelmed with emotion and, kneeling, join in the hymn. Leonore enters, and Bassi confesses. She and Stradella forgive him and his henchmen, and the opera ends with Stradella's arrival on a hillside in front of a picture of the Madonna, where the pilgrims rejoice in the power of his music and of divine grace.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Friedrich von Flotow - Alessandro Stradella - Ouverture
Alessandro Stradella, romantic opera in three acts, first performance 30 December 1844, Stadttheater, Hamburg.

Libretto: Friedrich Wilhelm Riese


Orchestra: WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln

Conductor: Helmuth Froschauer

Flotow - Piano concerto №1
Friedrich von Flotow : Piano Concerto No. 2 (1831)
Homage to great Youtubers : HARMONICO101
Friedrich von Flotow (1812-1883) (Allemagne) : Piano Concerto No. 2 in A minor (1831)
Pianiste : Carl Petersson
Dir : Hans Peter Wieshev
Pilsen Philharmonic

1- Andantino -- Allegro -- Marziale più mosso (5.32)
2- Scherzo -- Vivace e leggieramente (2.52)
3- Adagio (5.56)
4- Rondo -- Allegretto -- Scherzando -- Maestoso -- Tempo I (3.36)

Friedrich von Flotow "Trio de Salon"
"Trio de Salon" for Violin, Cello and piano
by Friedrich von Flotow
1. Allegro moderato
2. Scherzo
3. Adagio
4. Finale: Allegretto
Benjamin Bergmann, violin
Götz Dipper, Cello
Antonella Pagano, piano
Friedrich von Flotow "Violin Sonata op 14"
Violin Sonata in A Major, op 14
by Friedrich von Flotow
1. Allegro
2. Andante quasi Larghetto
3. Finale: Allegro vivace
Andrea Schumacher, Violin
Antonella Pagano, piano
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