Director: Peter Schönhofer
Distributor: C Major Entertainment
Length: 184 min.
16:9 shot in 1080i HD | 5.1 surround sound
© 2014, a BFMI production for Unitel Classica in co-production with ZDF/3sat, in cooperation with Salzburg Festival
Hero­ic-ro­mantic op­era in three acts.
Lib­retto by Josef Ku­pel­wieser after the old French epic Fier­ab­ras (ca. 1170), Pedro Calderón de la Barca's play La puente de Mantible (1630) and the le­gend of Egin­hard and Emma

In the early years of the nine­teenth cen­tury it was still the world of op­era that offered a com­poser the best op­por­tun­ity to reach out to the widest pos­sible audi­ence and to find the quick­est route to fame and for­tune. As a young man, Franz Schubert, too, har­boured op­er­at­ic am­bi­tions, an aim in which he was en­cour­aged by his teach­er Ant­o­nio Sa­lieri, but in the event it proved to be the start of a long and hap­less chapter in his ca­reer. Of the el­ev­en stage works that he com­pleted, the ma­jor­ity were sing­spiels, and only three were ac­tu­ally staged in his life­time. One reas­on for this low per­cent­age is that most were writ­ten without a spe­cif­ic com­mis­sion: as his con­tem­por­ary, Josef von Spaun, noted, Schubert wrote them ‘be­cause he felt the urge to com­pose them and be­cause ap­plause and money were nev­er a stim­u­lus for him to live for his art’.
In the case of his most im­port­ant work for the theatre, Fier­rab­ras, there were, con­versely, grounds for hope, for the lib­retto was the work of Josef Ku­pel­wieser, the in­flu­en­tial sec­ret­ary of the Theat­er am Kärntner­tor, who was keen to pro­mote Ger­man-lan­guage op­er­as, while the sub­ject mat­ter was drawn from the then fash­ion­able world of the chiv­al­ric ro­mance. The story takes place dur­ing re­li­gious wars between Chris­ti­ans and Muslims. Egin­hard, a vali­ant knight, and Emma, daugh­ter of the great King Karl (Char­le­magne) live their love in secret. One day, Egin­hard cap­tures Fier­rab­ras, son of the King of the Moors. They be­come friends, un­til Fier­rab­ras falls in love with Emma. Ro­land, an­oth­er knight, falls in love with Fier­rab­ras's sis­ter, Florinda. After many re­bounds, lies, prom­ises and quar­rel­lings, all these stor­ies have their happy end­ings, and the kings make peace.
Julia Kleiter, Emma
Dorothea Röschmann, Florinda
Marie-Claude Chappuis, Maragond
Michael Schade, Fierrabras
Georg Zeppenfeld, King Karl
Markus Werba, Roland
Benjamin Bernheim, Eginhard
Peter Kálmán, Boland
Manuel Walser, Brutamonte

Peter Stein, stage director
Philharmonia Chor Wien
Ernst Raffelsberger, chorus master
Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus
Wiener Philharmoniker
Ingo Metzmacher, conductor