Bastien und Bastienne

Bastien und Bastienne
one-act singspiel by W. A. Mozart
François Boucher - Shepherd and Shepherdess Reposing - WGA02915.jpg
Shepherd and Shepherdess Reposing (1761), by François Boucher
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Weiskern
  • Johann Heinrich Friedrich Müller
  • Johann Andreas Schachtner
Based onLes Amours de Bastien et Bastienne by Justine Favart and Harny de Guerville

Bastien und Bastienne (Bastien and Bastienne), K. 50 (revised in 1964 to K. 46b) is a one-act singspiel, a comic opera, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Bastien und Bastienne was one of Mozart's earliest operas, written in 1768 when he was only twelve years old. It was allegedly commissioned by Viennese physician and 'magnetist' Dr. Franz Mesmer (who himself would later be parodied in Così fan tutte) as a satire of the 'pastoral' genre then prevalent, and specifically as a parody of the opera Le devin du village by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.[1] The German libretto is by Friedrich Wilhelm Weiskern, Johann Heinrich Friedrich Müller and Johann Andreas Schachtner, based on Les Amours de Bastien et Bastienne by Justine Favart and Harny de Guerville. After its supposed premiere in Mesmer's garden theater (that is only corroborated by an unverified account of Nissen), it was not revived again until 1890. It is not clear whether this piece was performed in Mozart's lifetime. The first known performance was on 2 October 1890 at Architektenhaus in Berlin.[2][3]

The opera is written in both French and German manners. Many of the melodies are French in manner, but Bastienne's first aria is true German lied. This melody is also used in Mozart's Trio in G for Piano, Violin and Violoncello, K. 564 (1788). Another purely German lied is Bastienne's aria "I feel certain of his heart".[1] Mozart utilizes the orchestra sparingly, with the exception of the reconciliation scene.[1]

The opening theme of Mozart's overture resembles that of the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony no. 3, Eroica (in a different key). It is unlikely that Beethoven was familiar with Mozart's youthful opera. In any case, opening a movement with an arpeggio of the tonic chord was an extremely common occurrence in the Classical period. The resemblance is likely coincidental.

Although he was very young, Mozart already had excellent vocal writing skills and a knack for parody and whimsy which would reach full flower in his later works. Bastien und Bastienne is possibly the easiest to perform of Mozart's juvenile works.


RoleVoice typePremiere cast, 2 October 1890
(Conductor: – )
Bastienne, a shepherdesssoprano
Bastien, her lovertenor
Colas, a quack magicianbass


Place: A pastoral village
Time: Indeterminate

Bastienne, a shepherdess, fears that her "dearest friend", Bastien, has forsaken her for another pretty face, and decides to go into the pasture to be comforted by her flock of lambs.

Before she can leave, however, she runs into Colas, the village soothsayer. Bastienne requests the help of his magical powers to help win back her Bastien. Colas (being a soothsayer) knows all about the problem, and comforts her with the knowledge that Bastien has not abandoned her, rather, he's merely been distracted lately by 'the lady of the manor'. His advice is to act coldly towards Bastien, which will make him come running back.

Bastien is heard approaching, so Bastienne hides herself. Bastien swaggers in, proclaiming how much he loves Bastienne. Colas informs him that Bastienne has a new lover. Bastien is shocked and asks the magician for help.

Colas opens his book of spells and recites a nonsense aria filled with random syllables and Latin quotations. Colas declares the spell a success and that Bastienne is in love with Bastien once more. Bastienne, however, decides to keep up the game a bit longer and spurns Bastien with great vehemence. Bastien threatens suicide, which Bastienne merely shrugs off.

Finally, the two decide that they have gone far enough and agree to reconcile. Colas joins them as they all sing a final trio in praise of the magician.

Noted arias

  • "Mein liebster Freund hat mich verlassen" – Bastienne
  • "Ich geh' jetzt auf die Weide" – Bastienne
  • "Befraget mich ein zartes Kind" – Colas
  • "Wenn mein Bastien einst im Scherze" – Bastienne
  • "Würd' ich auch, wie manche Buhlerinnen" – Bastienne
  • "Grossen Dank dir abzustatten" – Bastien
  • "Geh'! du sagst mir eine Fabel" – Bastien
  • "Diggi, daggi, shurry, murry" – Colas
  • "Meiner Liebsten schöne Wangen" – Bastien
  • "Er war mir sonst treu und ergeben" – Bastienne


(Bastien, Bastienne, Colas)
Catalogue number
c. 1940[5]Paul Derenne
Martha Angelici
André Monde
Gustave Cloëz
Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris
78rpm set: L'Anthologie Sonore
Cat: FA 801-806[6]
1952Waldemar Kmentt
Ilse Hollweg
Walter Berry
Sir John Pritchard
Wiener Symphoniker
LP: Philips
Cat: ABL 3010
1956Richard Holm
Rita Streich
Toni Blankenheim
Christoph Stepp
Münchner Kammerorchester
CD: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: 474 738 2
1957Three soloists of Wiener SängerknabenEdouard Lindenberg
Wiener Kammerorchester
LP: Philips
1965Peter Schreier
Adele Stolte
Theo Adam
Helmut Koch
Kammerorchester Berlin
CD: Berlin Classics
Cat: 0091292 BC
1969Thomas Lehrberger
Ileana Cotrubaș
Peter van der Bilt
Leopold Hager
Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg
Cat: C 705061 B
1976Claes H. Ahnsjo
Edith Mathis
Walter Berry
Leopold Hager
Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg
LP: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: 2537 038
1976Adolf Dallapozza
Brigitte Lindner
Kurt Moll
Eberhard Schoener
Bayerisches Staatsorchester
LP: EMI Electrola
Cat: 1C 065 30231
1986Three soloists of Wiener Sängerknaben:
Dominik Orieschnig
Georg Nigl
David Busch
Uwe Christian Harrer
Wiener Symphoniker
CD: Philips
Cat: 422 527-2
1989Vinson Cole
Edita Gruberová
László Polgár
Raymond Leppard
Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
CD: Sony Classical
Cat: 45855
1990Ralph Eschrig
Dagmar Schellenberger
René Pape
Max Pommer
Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig
CD: Berlin Classics
Cat: 0010102BC
1991Dongkyu Choy
Eva Kirchner
Thomas Müller De Vries
René Clemencic
Alpe Adria Ensemble
CD: Nuova Era
Cat: 7344
2006Bernhard Berchtold
Evmorfia Metaxaki
Radu Cojocariu
Elisabeth Fuchs
Junge Philharmonie Salzburg
DVD: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat: 000440 073 4244 2

See also

  • List of operas by Mozart



  1. ^ a b c Anon. (1940). Bastien et Bastienne (Media notes). Paul Derenne, Martha Angelici, André Monde, Gustave Cloëz orchestra. L'Anthologie Sonore. FA 801-806 – via
  2. ^ Bastien und Bastienne, performance history, Opera Glass, Stanford University
  3. ^ Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Bastien und Bastienne, 2 October 1890". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
  4. ^ "Bastien und Bastienne discography". Archived from the original on 14 October 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  5. ^ Roberge, Pierre-F. "W. A. Mozart: Bastien et Bastienne". Medieval Music & Arts Foundation. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  6. ^ Settlemier, Tyrone (March 7, 2012). "L'Anthologie sonore 78rpm numerical listing discography". The Online Discographical Project. Retrieved June 21, 2012.

External links

Media files used on this page

Author/Creator: Javitomad, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Logo for Opera WikiProject.
Mozart (unfinished) by Lange 1782.jpg

The above is regarded by historians as the most accurate surviving likeness of Mozart, painted when the composer was 26 years old. It is a section of an unfinished 1782 portrait by Joseph Lange.

The splotchy texture of the composer's cheeks, visible in the original painting on display at the Mozart Museum in Salzburg, was verified by Mozart's contemporaries.