Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Character, Values, and Interactions in Weigl's Opera "L Amor Marinaro"




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



A pirate captain who wants his son to marry a respectable girl, an opera singer masquerading as a countess, her conman boyfriend, and a deaf Kapellmeister who is constantly hungry: these are not the comic relief, but some of the central figures in Weigl's 1797 opera L'Amor Marinaro. This story clearly deviates from the model that theater was intended to convey narrow moral lessons, but what messages does it convey instead? One answer might be that there is a type of moral lesson here, one about tolerance and diversity. Most comic operas used a judicious blend of high and low character types; L'Amor Marinaro cheerfully tosses out the high and leaves us with a comic but endearing set of social misfits. A famous trio, with a jaunty A section and a completely confused middle section, provides another answer. Both the trio and the final scene portray a world of crossed lines, miscommunication, and solipsism. While it may not offer moral edification, this work is perhaps a forerunner of the deliberate Absurdism of the twentieth century. This talk grows out of a primary-source-based project that led to a new English-language adaptation of the opera.

Conference Name

German Studies Association

Conference Location

Louisville, KY

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