"Opera and cycling in Wiesbaden" Top 5 Page for this destination Wiesbaden by Nemorino

Wiesbaden Travel Guide: 250 reviews and 482 photos

Friedrich Schiller in Wiesbaden

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland and the Isles, was executed in 1587 at Castle Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire on orders of her cousin, Queen Elisabeth the First of England.

In real life the two queens never met. But they do meet sometimes on the opera stage, in the second act of the opera Maria Stuarda, by
Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848).

And what do the two queens talk about when they meet on the opera stage?

Well of course they speak or rather sing in Italian, and before long Mary (Maria) loses patience and calls Elisabeth (Elisabetta) a "vil bastarda" -- which is a highly undiplomatic thing to say and destroys whatever slight chance she might have had of surviving the encounter.

They sing this royal spat to the loveliest music you can imagine, and it gets even lovelier in the third act as Maria prepares to meet her fate. Donizetti always does that -- no matter what nasty names his characters call each other, the music is hauntingly beautiful.

This opera is based loosely on the classic German play Maria Stuart (which I saw recently at the Castle Festival in Bad Vilbel, a Frankfurt suburb) by the dramatist, poet and historian Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805).

You can see Schiller's statue here in Wiesbaden if you go around to the back of the theater. The statue was first set up here in 1905, on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of Schiller's death.

Another Schiller-based opera that I have seen twice here in Wiesbaden was the five-act Italian version of Don Carlos, by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).

Schiller's drama and Verdi's opera are set in Spain in the year 1560. Don Carlos is the son of King Philipp II, who is married to a young French princess, Elisabeth of Valois. Originally Elisabeth was supposed to marry Don Carlos, who was about her age, but then for reasons of state she had to marry his father the king. In the play and the opera (but not in real life) Elisabeth and Carlos knew and loved each other. Carlos has a friend, the idealistic and freedom-loving Marquis of Posa, who sacrifices himself in a vain attempt to save his friend.

Over the years Verdi wrote seven different versions of this powerful opera, some in French and some in Italian. I have seen the five-act French version in Strasbourg and a five-act Italian version in Frankfurt am Main, also a four-act Italian version in Braunschweig, Dresden and Geneva, as well as a German translation in Dessau.

Wiesbaden is the capital of Hessen, by the way. It's a pleasant town on the Rhine River, just a short ways down from where the Main River empties into the Rhine at Mainspitze.

  • Last visit to Wiesbaden: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (19)

Comments (41)

  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2015 at 4:30 AM

    Thank for virtual tour to that city!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2013 at 3:05 AM

    The Theater does look wonderful inside and out.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Your photo's are great! I would love to see the inside of that theatre.

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2013 at 5:28 AM

    Wiesbaden looks like a beautiful town. I guess that's because it was so little damaged during the war. Just think how nice other German cities would be today if they weren't bombed and rebuilt.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Feb 25, 2013 at 8:52 AM

      David, thanks for your visit to my Wiesbaden page. You?re right about German cities, though some were rebuilt more tastefully than others.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Nice that they build an ice-skating rink in the park during winter. And going to Wiesbaden on a bike along Main River sounds nice too.

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    What an excellent introduction to the beautiful State Theatre.

  • kris-t's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Great page, and very nice opera! Thank you for visiting our Russia page. Glad to be back on-line after comp. crush.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jul 29, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    I enjoyed your page! The theaters here are so elegant! Excellent page as always Don!

  • csordila's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2009 at 9:05 AM

    I always lived in Wiesbaden, when I visited Frankfurt fair, but I never had enough time to look not only at the opera house, but even itself the city. Today I have made that. Many thanks for the Piran ratings. Laszlo

  • songlines's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2008 at 2:48 AM

    Thanks for your really wonderful and informative pages on the world of Opera. Your pages and pics are very inspiring. We cannot live without music.... it is like food and drink... a necessity, a wonderful addiction! Greetings


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