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Hans Heiling Cover Page
01 Dec 2006

MARSCHNER: Hans Heiling

Hans Heiling, romantic opera in three acts and prologue.

Music composed by Heinrich Marschner (1795-1861). Libretto by Philipp Eduard Devrient, based on Bohemian legends.

Heinrich Marschner (1795-1861): Hans Heiling

Hermann Prey (Hans Heiling), Leonore Kirschstein (Anna), Hetty Plümacher (Gertrud), Liane Synek (the Queen), Karl-Josef Hering (Konrad), Hans Franzen (Stephan), Harald Meister (Niklas), Köln Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Joseph Keilberth (cond.)
Live performance, July 1966, Köln


First Performance: 24 May 1833, Königliches Opernhaus, Berlin.

Principal Characters:
Queen of the Erdgeister Soprano
Hans Heiling, her son Baritone
Anna, his bride Soprano
Gertrud, her mother Alto
Konrad, a hunter and Anna’s sweetheart Tenor
Stephan, a blacksmith Bass
Niklas, a tailor Tenor



Hans Heiling has fallen in love with a girl he found during a trek on the earth. He wants to leave the empire of the Erdgeister forever, despite all warnings of his mother, the Queen.

Act I

Hans Heiling ascends to the earth from his home in the underworld. He brings a magic book and jewelry for his would-be bride. With these in hand, Heiling approaches Anna. But Anna is terrified by the book. Heiling burns the book on Anna’s request. They renew their vows of fidelity. They then go to the village festival. There are many people at the tavern drinking, dancing and singing. Konrad joins them, who has loved Anna for a long time. Konrad asks Anna to dance. Hans Heiling objects angrily; but, Anna ignores him. Heiling suspects that his bride doesn't love him.

Act II

Anna leaves to go home through the forest and becomes lost. She is concerned because she loves Konrad, but she is Heiling’s bride. Suddenly, the Queen appears and beseeches the girl to release her son, who is not a human being but a prince of the underworld. Anna faints. Konrad finds the girl and takes her home.

Once again, Hans Heiling approaches Anna to win her over. However, the girl returns the jewelry. In a rage, he stabs Konrad. Heiling then runs away, laughing scornfully.


Hans Heiling is tired and returns to the Erdgeistern. He finds out that Konrad is not dead and that Anna will marry him the next day. Heiling returns to the earth to take revenge on the faithless.

Konrad and Anna are wedded in the forest chapel. Following an old custom, they must now find each other while blindfolded. Hans Heiling steps in and seizes Anna’s hand, who pleads for mercy. Konrad rushes to help his wife; but, his knife shatters as he strikes Heiling. Heiling summons the Erdgeister to destroy all the people. The Queen appears and persuades her son to reconcile. Hans Heiling returns to the underworld.

Click here for the complete libretto.

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