Agathe – The hopeful fianceé full with anxiousness
Agathe is the main female character from Der Freischütz. She is very young, somewhere between 16 and 18 years old. However, during the time the opera was written, the social norms were different. Her age is just perfect to get married and have children. Her religion is feasibly Christian, as she prays to God. She is a true believer.
Agathe is in love with Max. Max is a shooter and hunter who aims for the title of the deputy forester. He has to take part in a shooting competition, in order to earn the opportunity to marry Agathe. Agathe for most of the time is anxious over Max’s duties, but hopeful that her love will manage the task. Thankfully she has Ännchen by her side who helps overcoming her sorrows. Everything is going to be all right, and Max will come back healthy and safe. Agathe’s character is vocally challenging; the role has to be sung with beauty and power at the same time, the character’s hope being very strong.
Der Freischütz was composed in the 19th century and it portrays well the life of its time. People used to believe in God and Devil, religion being much more important than nowadays. It is not a coincidence that the first performance was a huge success, and the opera was played soon in several cities around Europe.
Agathe’s aria "Wie nahte mir der Schlummer..." (How did sleep come to me…)
Agathe’s aria is a soprano aria with five different parts: The first part was written to the lower vocal register, with Agathe singing about her thoughts, not being able to sleep, being full with anxiousness. At the same time, she still thinks the night is very beautiful. In the second part, she sings to the stars, how bright they are, but she can see a storm coming. In the third part, she prays for Max’s safe return. In the fourth part, Agathe hears something, maybe Max is coming back? However, this was just a kind of hallucination. Yet, she does not give up on her prayers and wishes. In the last part, she sings of hope. She really thinks Max is coming back and everything is going to be all right. Her heart beats very fast. This last part is the only part when the aria reaches the top and the singer has to move from the lower register to the high soprano part, which is challenging, as most of the previous parts of the aria sit low in the voice.
Text: Réka Bata
In this blog, the Sibelius Academy opera students write about the preparation process, the characters, the music and the composers of the work in progress. In Autumn 2017, they will present a production called Sempre Sempre - it is a collection of arias and scenes from various beloved operas, performed by the Sibelius Academy students and dramatized by Vilppu Kiljunen. In this blog, the students reflect and write about the works, composers and the charaters beforehand.