Personalities | Emanuel Schikaneder | Classical Era | Opera
Emanuel Schikaneder spent his early years as a nomadic musician, until he encountered a travelling theatrical troupe in Augsburg. He married the director’s daughter and eventually took over the management of the troupe. However, Schikaneder was not just an opportunist with an eye for the boss’s daughter and the boss’s job. The eventual author of 50 libretti, including Mozart’s last opera, Die Zauberflöte, Schikaneder ranked among the most talented comic singer-actors of his day. His meeting with Mozart, which took place in Salzburg in 1780 while the troupe was on tour, proved fortuitous. Some years later, Schikaneder was in all sorts of trouble while running theatres in Regensburg and Vienna. He sank deep in debt, but was saved from financial ruin by the success of Die Zauberflöte. Subsequently, Schikaneder returned to theatrical management, but in 1806 he suddenly went mad and had to leave Vienna.
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