The Singspiels of Hans Iver Horn

Nuances of Dano-Norwegian patriotism during the Napoleonic wars

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.7557/4.5527

Keywords:

Hans Iver Horn, singspiel, Kapertoget, Fredsfesten, Denmark-Norway, Napoleonic Wars, Hans Hagerup Falbe, state patriotism, national identity

Abstract

This article focuses on two singspiels that were created in the intersection of professional and amateur production in Denmark-Norway during the Danish-Swedish war of 1808–1809, namely Kapertoget (The Capturing Raid) and Fredsfesten (The Peace Festival). Both were written by the Danish-Norwegian physician Hans Iver Horn, with music by Friedrich L.Æ. Kunzen and Hans Hagerup Falbe, respectively. They are among the rare examples of plays in this period where the setting, characters and action are presented from a Norwegian point of view.

During the years of war leading up to 1814, questions of nationality and national identity became increasingly significant in Denmark-Norway. The article examines the representation of Norwegian identity and self-perception, ideals of patriotism, and political tendencies in Horn’s scripts, seen within their historical performance context.

The analyses demonstrate an ongoing negotiation between an established twin-state patriotism and a separate Norwegian nationalist identity, with an early Scandinavist interest in Sweden as a possible liaison. The national character probably found expression through staging and music as well as in the written dialogue. The article argues that singspiels and occasional dramas produced within amateur circles should be seen as part of a politically charged discourse, reflecting and affecting issues of historical significance.

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2020-06-24

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