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Ochsenburg Castle

iin Lower Austria stands on a rocky outcrop on the right bank of the Traisen in the southernmost St. Pölten district of Ochsenburg.

A marble plaque above the portal indicates that in 1821 Franz Schubert spent the summer here with his friends Moritz von Schwind and Franz von Schober. Schober was a relative of Bishop Dankesreiter, who extended the invitation. Schubert composed parts of the opera Alfonso und Estrella here, for which Schober wrote the libretto.

Schubert Memorial Plaque at Ochsenburg Castle

Alfonso and Estrella is a three-act heroic-romantic opera by Franz Schubert. (D 732, 1821/1822). Libretto: Franz von Schober.

Content: The old king Froila (baritone) was driven into exile after Mauregato (baritone) and his general Adolfo (bass) dethroned him. Estrella (soprano), the daughter of the new ruler, is promised to the commander. She in turn meets and falls in love with Froila's son Alfonso (tenor), who is wandering in the rock and forest after the hunt. After a few detours, the kings are reconciled and Alfonso ascends to the throne.

Excerpts from the Overture Alfonso and Estrella

Although there were plans to perform the opera in Vienna, Dresden, Berlin and Graz during Schubert's lifetime, it was not until 1854 that it was premiered under Franz Liszt at the Court Theatre in Weimar. A heavily edited version by Johann Nepomuk Fuchs had some brief success, but distorted the work as did a later one by Kurt Honolka. In 1977, the first performance in more recent times took place in Reading, England, and in 1978 Otmar Suitner recorded the complete version with renowned lieder singers, including Edith Mathis, Peter Schreier, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Hermann Prey and Theo Adam. In the rehearsals in 1991 under Mario Venzago at the Graz Opera House and in 1997 under Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Theater an der Wien, attempts were made to achieve greater audience success by making cuts. In the meantime there have been several more stage performances.

Text example:

Sei mir gegrüßt, o Sonne!
Alltäglich neue Wonne
Gießest Du in dieses Herz.
Es saugen Deine Strahlen
Aus jeder Brust die Qualen
Und heilen jeden Schmerz.

Greetings, O sun!
Every day new bliss
You pour into this heart.
Your rays suck
From every breast the anguish
And heal every pain.

Schubert Fountain at Ochsenburg Castle

The Schubert Fountain in front of the Castle