Undine (Hoffmann)

Undine is an opera, with spoken dialogue, in three acts by the German composer and author E.T.A. Hoffmann. The libretto, by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, is based on his own story Undine. It received its premiere at the Königliches Schauspielhaus, Berlin on 3 August, 1816. Undine was Hoffmann's greatest operatic success and a major influence on the development of German Romantic opera.

Carl Maria von Weber's enthusiastic review of the opera admired it as 'an art work complete in itself, in which partial contributions of the related and collaborating arts blend together, disappear, and, in disappearing, somehow form a new world'.[1]

It was revived by the Wuppertal Opera in 1970.

There is a 1960 recording (including the spoken dialogue) by the Choir and Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, conductor:Jan Koetsier, Undine: Rita Streich, Hulbrand von Ringstetten: Raimund Grumbach, Berthalda: Melitta Muszely, Kuhleborn: Karl-Christian Kohn, Ein alter Fischer: Max Proebstl, Seine Frau: Sunhild Rauschkolb, Heilmann: Kieth Engen, Herzog: Anton Rosner, Herzogin: Marjorie Heistermann; and a 3 CDs 1993 recording[2] (leaving out the spoken dialogue) by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Choir of St. Hedwig's Cathedral in Berlin, conductor: Roland Bader; Roland Hermann, Hans Franzen, Elisabeth Glauser, Krisztina Laki, Heikki Orama, Charles Ridder Busch, Ulrich Ress, Dora Koschak, Mani Mekler.


Role Voice type Premiere cast[3]
3 August 1816
(Conductor: Bernhard Heinrich Romberg)
Undine soprano Therese Eunicke-Schwachhofer
Huldbrand baritone Heinrich Blume
Berthalda soprano Emilie Willmann
Heilmann bass Johann Gottfried Karl Wauer
Kühleborn bass
Fisherman bass Johann Georg Gern
Fisherman's wife mezzo-soprano Wilhelmine Leist
Archduke tenor Friedrich Eunicke
Archduchess mezzo-soprano Johanna Eunicke


  1. Strunk, Oliver (1965). Source Readings in Music History: The Romantic Era. New York. p. 63. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  2. KOCH International, No. 3-1092-3
  3. "Almannaco 3 August 1816" (in Italian). AmadeusOnline. Retrieved 10 September 2010.


  • The Viking Opera Guide ed. Holden (1993)

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