Personalities | Johann Adam Hiller | Classical Era | Opera
The German composer and writer Johann Adam Hiller was a keen admirer of Hasse. Although already an established songwriter, Hiller wanted to move into more operatic mode, with Hasse’s style as his yardstick. Hiller joined forces with the librettist Daniel Schiebeler (1741–71) and together they produced a romantic comedy-opera Lisuart und Dariolette (‘Lisart and Darioletta’, 1766). A second opera, Die Muse (‘The Muse’, 1767), followed a year later, but neither was much of a success. Subsequently Hiller reverted to the rustic, sentimental pieces he had previously produced with another librettist, Christian Felix Weisse (1726–1804). The first three results of their renewed collaboration were important in establishing Singspiel as a popular form in opera. Hiller has been cited as the founder of Singspiel, and, in his lifetime, this new style of musical writing was widely emulated. Hiller’s work with Weisse mixed together a number of influences – the French opéras comiques, German song traditions, the bel canto technique used in opera seria, or the chatty staccato style used in opera buffa. Hiller helped to popularize his own work by publishing scores of his music in simplified versions so that amateur singers could perform them. An added purpose was to encourage German singers to improve their standards.
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