Abu Hassan

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Abu Hassan is an opera in one act by Carl Maria von Weber to a German libretto by Franz Hiemer, based on a story in A Thousand and One Nights. It was composed between August 11, 1810, and Jan. 12, 1811 and has set numbers with recitative and spoken dialogue.

Performance history

Abu Hassan was first performed at the Residenz Theater in Munich on June 4, 1811, under Peter Winter. In London it was produced in English at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1835,and in Italian at Drury Lane on May 12, 1870 (at the same time as Mozart's L'oca del Cairo),the translation being made by Marchesi, and the dialogue set to recitative by Arditi.

Abu Hassan is not now part of the commonly performed operatic repertory, though it is sometimes staged.



Abu Hassan, a favourite of the Caliph of Bagdad, is heavily in debt. In order to reverse his fortunes he devises a plan to send his wife to the Caliph's wife, Zobeide, to announce his (Hassan's) death, for which she will receive 50 pieces of gold and a piece of brocade. After Fatima has set off, creditors enter Abu Hassan's house to collect money but are tricked and pacified with words which Omar, the richest creditor, is made to believe Fatima has spoken, so Omar agrees to pay all the creditors.

Fatima returns with the presents from Zobeide and Abu Hassan prepares to visit the Caliph to try a similar story about his wife in order to get out of him. While he is out, Omar reappears and demands a kiss from Fatima, but the husband...
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