'The Devil to Pay' and its influence on eighteenth-century German Singspiel

Marshall, Walter Henry (1985). 'The Devil to Pay' and its influence on eighteenth-century German Singspiel. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000de4d


The premiere of Christian Felix Weisse's Singspiel Der Teufel ist los, oder die verwandelten Weiber was presented at the theatre in Quandts Hof, Leipzig, on the 5th May 1766. There it won immediate success which soon spread throughout the German speaking world. The . ensuing craze for similar entertainments played an important part in the development of the genre.

This was not an original piece, however, and its success was dependent upon the skill with which Weisse had contrived to combine two quite different styles. This he achieved by means of Charles Coffey's The Devil to Pay, or the Wives metamorphosed, an English ballad-opera, and Michel Jean Sedaine's Le diable a quatre, written in the form of a French opera comique.

The purpose of this study is to examine Coffey's ballad-opera together with those adaptations that enabled Weisse to develop the Singspiel into a form which stood as a model for many years afterwards.

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