Mendelssohn’s “The Marriage of Camacho” Overture: Music for a Fleeting Opera

Felix Mendelssohn was 15 when he began work on the two-act comic opera, Die Hochzeit des Camacho (“The Marriage of Camacho”) in 1824. The young composer had already written four previous singspiele operas which received private family performances. The Marriage of Camacho, based on an episode from Cervantes’ Don Quixote, was premiered at the Berlin Schauspielhaus on April 29, 1827. Although the work was well-received by the audience, it was met with a hostile reviews. Mendelssohn was unhappy that he had been forced to make changes to the score. After one performance, Die Hochzeit des Camacho faded into oblivion. Mendelssohn, undoubtedly one of music history’s most literary composers, never put another opera on the stage.

Bookended by a brass fanfare “call to order,” the Overture to The Marriage of Camacho takes us on a brief but exhilarating musical journey. The influence of Carl Maria von Weber is evident. Frequently, the strings and winds are divided into instrumental “choirs.” Vibrant “conversations” emerge between these instrumental voices, each suggesting a distinct persona akin to characters on the stage.

Recordings

  • Mendelssohn: Die Hochzeit des Camacho (“Camacho’s Wedding”), Op. 10, Claus Peter Flor, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra Amazon

Featured Image: the title page of Mendelssohn’s “The Marriage of Camacho”

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

1 thought on “Mendelssohn’s “The Marriage of Camacho” Overture: Music for a Fleeting Opera”

  1. Great composition and the change of dynamics indeed created a magic. Unfortunately, the last three minutes became a little monotonous. The review was well-written. Thanks to the author for sharing this article that reminds us that behind every composition, there is a story.

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