Research project 'Theatre and Music in Weimar: from the Foundation of the Deutsches Nationaltheater to the Implementation of the Bitterfelder Programm (1919–1968)'

In cooperation with the Thüringisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Weimar and the ThULB Jena

Representativ: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Duration: 2009–2014

Project description

The project 'Theatre and Music in Weimar 1754–1969' broached new areas of research in many respects: the cooperation between archives, libraries, and scholarship combined the digitalisation of resources in an online database with the academic discussion of the relevant metadata. This joint project involved the Department of Musicology at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the Thuringian State Archive at Weimar ('Hauptstaatsarchiv'), the Thuringian University and State Library Jena ('Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek'), and the Anna Amalia Library in Weimar. Its aim was to make available Weimar's theatre programmes on an open access platform, as well as the comprehensive reconstruction—as far as possible—of the theatre seasons in Weimar. The digitised sources are presented alongside the sourced metadata in an online database. Theatre leaflets formed the basis of the digitisation project; for later periods, after World War II, the sources also included programmes. To date, more than 36,000 theatre and programme leaflets have been made available with the relevant academic metadata. The second aim, of reconstructing the comprehensive programme of the Weimar theatre across all genres—theatre, music theatre, ballet, and concert—for a period of 300 years came up against a number of problems relating to the primary sources, the theatre leaflets: in the case of opera and theatre, the leaflets from Weimar date back only as far as 1784, even though there is evidence of a number of theatre and opera productions in the years preceding the fire at the electoral residence on 6 May 1774. In total, there are almost 200 leaflets for the period between 1784 and 1790, more than 4,300 for the period between 1791 and 1817, and nearly 19,000 leaflets for performances at the Hoftheater between 1819 and 1918. Moreover, the common practice of employing stage music in theatre productions is, in most cases, not listed on the theatre leaflets. Especially the reconstruction of stage music during the Goethe era, however, had been the central goal of an earlier DFG-project realised in the context of the SFB 482 'Ereignis Weimar – Jena'. Consequently, the project’s insights were made accessible to a wider public as a corrective to the main sources.

Project team

Principal investigator  
Prof. Dr. Detlef Altenburg, Dr. Sabine Wefers, Dr. Bernhard Post

Research fellows
Musicology: PD Dr. Axel Schröter (bis 09/2012), Dr. Beate Agnes Schmidt (10/2012-09/2013), Dr. Thomas Radecke (11/2013-11/2014)
Literary studies: Annedore Hainsch M.A.

Grit Kurth

Michael Lörzer, Clemens Kynast, Thomas Scheffler