Bastien und Bastienne (Bastien and Bastienne), K. 50 (revised in 1964 to K. 46b) is a one-act singspiel, comic opera, with German libretto by Friedrich Wilhelm Weiskern and music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Bastien und Bastienne was one of Mozart's earliest operas, written in 1768 when he was only twelve years old. It was allegedly commissioned by Viennese physician and 'magnetist' Dr. Anton Mesmer (who himself would later be parodied in Così fan tutte) as a satire of the 'pastoral' genre then prevalent, and specifically as a parody of the opera Le devin du village by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. After its supposed premiere in Mesmer's garden theater (that is only corroborated by an unverified account of Nissen), it was not revived again until 1890. It was first performed on 2 October 1890 at Architektenhaus in Berlin .
By a curious coincidence, the opening melody of the overture is almost identical to that of Beethoven's Third Symphony, the Eroica. However, as the piece lay unperformed until long after that symphony was written, this appears to be chance rather than plagiarism. The melody is based entirely on the three notes of the major triad, a common technique in the classical era used to establish the tonality of a piece.
Although he was very young, Mozart already had excellent vocal writing skills and a knack for parody and whimsy which would reach full flower in his later works. Bastien und Bastienne is possibly the easiest-to-perform of Mozart's juvenile works.
||Premiere Cast, 2 October 1890
(Conductor: - )
|Bastienne, a shepherdess
|Bastien, her lover
|Colas, a quack magician
- Place: A pastoral village
- Time: Indeterminate
and Douglas Park in The New Opera Theatre's Bastien und Bastienne
Bastienne, a shepherdess, fears that her "dearest friend", Bastien, has forsaken her for another pretty face, and decides to go into the pasture to be comforted by her flock of lambs.
Before she can leave, however, she runs into Colas, the village soothsayer. Bastienne requests the help of his magical powers to help win back her Bastien. Colas (being a soothsayer) knows all about the problem, and comforts her with the knowledge that Bastien has not abandoned her, rather, he's merely been distracted lately by 'the lady of the manor'. His advice is to act coldly towards Bastien, which will make him come running back.
Bastien is heard approaching, so Bastienne hides herself. Bastien swaggers in, proclaiming how much he loves Bastienne. Colas informs him that Bastienne has a new lover. Bastien is shocked and asks the magician for help.
Colas opens his book of spells and recites a nonsense aria filled with random syllables and Latin quotations. Colas declares the spell a success and that Bastienne is in love with Bastien once more. Bastienne, however, decides to keep up the game a bit longer and spurns Bastien with great vehemence. Bastien threatens suicide, which Bastienne merely shrugs off.
Finally, the two decide that they've gone far enough and agree to reconcile. Colas joins them as they all sing a final trio in praise of the magician.
- "Befraget mich ein zartes Kind" - Colas
- "Diggi, daggi, shurry, murry" - Colas
- "Er war mir sonst treu und ergeben" - Bastienne
- "Geh'! du sagst mir eine Fabel" - Bastien
- "Grossen Dank dir abzustatten" - Bastien
- "Ich geh' jetzt auf die Weide" - Bastienne
- "Mein liebster Freund" - Bastienne
- "Meiner Liebsten schöne Wangen" - Bastien
- "Wenn mein Bastien einst im Scherze" - Bastienne
- "Würd'ich auch wie manche Buhlerinnen" - Bastienne