Thursday, July 31, 2008

Having Won The Morning Office GDP Guessing Pool, Pan Cogito's Thoughts Turn To History, Anti-Heroines, Anti-Heros, Fredigundis, and Radovan Karadzic

Fredegond (Fredigundis) (d. 597) working woman, politician and queen

Radovan Karadžić (b. 1945) politician, poet and psychiatrist


"FREDEGOND (Fredigundis) (d. 597), Frankish queen. Originally a serving-woman, she inspired the Frankish king, Chilperic I., with a violent passion. At her instigation he repudiated his first wife Audovera, and strangled his second, Galswintha, Queen Brunhilda's sister. A few days after this murder Chilperic married Fredegond (567). This woman exercised a most pernicious influence over him. She forced him into war against Austrasia, in the course of which she procured the assassination of the victorious king Sigebert (575); she carried on a malignant struggle against Chilperic's sons by his first wife, Theodebert, Merwich and Clovis, who all died tragic deaths; and she persistently endeavoured to secure the throne for her own children. Her first son Thierry, however, to whom Bishop Ragnemod of Paris stood godfather, died soon after birth, and Fredegond tortured a number of women whom she accused of having bewitched the child. Her second son also died in infancy. Finally, she gave birth to a child who afterwards became king as Clotaire II. Shortly after the birth of this third son, Chilperic himself perished in mysterious circumstances (584). Fredegond has been accused of complicity in his murder, but with little show of probability, since in her husband she lost her principal supporter.

Henceforth Fredegond did all in her power to gain the kingdom for her child. Taking refuge at the church of Notre Dame at Paris, she appealed to King Guntram of Burgundy, who took Clotaire under his protection and defended him against his other nephew, Childebert II., king of Austrasia. From that time until her death Fredegond governed the western kingdom. She endeavoured to prevent the alliance between King Guntram and Childebert, which was cemented by the pact of Andelot; and made several attempts to assassinate Childebert by sending against him hired bravoes armed with poisoned scramasaxes (heavy single-edged knives). After the death of Childebert in 595 she resolved to augment the kingdom of Neustria at the expense of Austrasia, and to this end seized some cities near Paris and defeated Theodebert at the battle of Laffaux, near Soissons. Her triumph, however, was short-lived, as she died quietly in her bed in 597 soon after her victory."

Source: Online Encyclopedia: Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 44 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. © 2008 - Net Industries, worldwide.


Fredigundis -- Opera in three acts by Austrian composer Franz Schmidt, text after Felix Dahn by Bruno Warden and Ignaz Welleminsky; composed 1916-21, premiered in Berlin, Germany in 1922.


German lawyer, author and historian Julius Sophus Felix Dahn (1834-1912), of German and French ancestry, was an honorary member the association "Germania" a nationalistic, antisemitic, anti-Slavic organisation.


Fredigundis, starring Radovan Karadzic in the title role (the female singing role tba) and directed by Katherina Wagner/Stefan Herheim/Christoph Schlingensief coming soon to the Bayreuth Festival, the Metropolitan Opera, and the San Francisco Opera.


Photo credit: Wikipedia [Julius Sophus Felix Dahn], (c) Reuters. 2008. All rights reserved. [Radovan Karadžić], and (c) Bayreuth Festival. 2008. [Klingsor]. With thanks.


Blogger JW said...

Schmidt's opera is fantastic, if perhaps overly complex in its plot. At least the music is, for one can't tell from a recording how it might work staged. I know it from a Voce lp set from years ago which was a live performance. Little chance this opera will see the light of day; perhaps I'll transfer the lps sometime. When I do, I'll share it.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...


I'm thrilled that both you, JW, and Robert Berger each responded so quickly to my Franz Schmidt posts -- you pointing out that you own a copy of the "Fredigundis" opera, and Mr. Berger noting that he admires the Schmidt "Hunchback of Notre Dame" from 15 years earlier.

I'd still like to hear the Fredigundis music myself before deeming it unrevivable. I was intrigued initially by the Wikipedia reference to Fredigundis [1922] as a Alban Berg "Lulu" [1935] -type figure.

(While I will assume that the Voce LP set did not include a libretto, please double-check when you can, John, in case it does, and I can't locate an alternative copy easily.)

9:20 AM  

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