Claudine von Villa Bella: Goethe’s Singspiel set to Music by Franz Schubert

Carysfort Press, 2002

Piano Reduction by Lorraine Byrne Bodley of Schubert’s Opera, 

The impression of a hapless relationship between Schubert and Goethe has been fueled by the reception histories of both artists. This score charts an historic performance of Schubert’s and Goethe’s Claudine von Villa Bella—directly inspired by the musicological lacuna—where the author’s perception of both artists’ achievements informed the musical life of rehearsals and the decisions of directors and performers.

This first production in English of Goethe and Schubert’s Claudine von Villa Bella opened a small window in the Northern Ireland peace process. This historic occasion sought to address misconceptions of Schubert’s and Goethe’s endeavours in German music theater, by mounting a semi-professional performance of this operatic fragment with a cast from Northern and Southern Ireland. Exploring Schubert’s setting of Goethe’s Claudine von Villa Bella in rehearsals opened up the possibility of discussing how all cultures, as well as all civilizations, are mixed, hybrid forms, full of elements taken from other cultures. The tenor of these rehearsals meant the socio-cultural dimension of this performance moved beyond German cultural history and offered opportunities to reflect on our own.

“The extant music of Schubert’s Claudine von Villa Bella is delightful, and, contrary to the received opinion about Schubert’s operas the story is both credible and dramatic. Lorraine Byrne Bodley’s vocal score (in English translation) and fine piano reduction are to be treasured.”

Colman Pearce,
Conductor, National Symphony Orchestra, Ireland
Staging a North-South Performance of Schubert’s Opera, Claudine von Villa Bella (the text is included in the pictures)


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