Amalie of Saxony (1794–1870)

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Amalie of Saxony (1794–1870)

German composer, harpsichordist, singer, author, and duchess of Saxony. Name variations: (pseudonyms) Amalie Heiter and Amalie Serena. Born Amalie Marie Friederike Auguste on August 10, 1794, in Dresden, Saxony; died in Dresden on September 18, 1870; daughter of Maximilian, duke of Saxony, and Caroline of Parma (1770–1804); sister of King Frederick Augustus II and King John of Saxony; studied with private tutors and lived her entire life in Pillnitz Castle in Dresden.

Composed mostly operas and liturgical works; highly educated and intellectually curious, also composed an operetta to a French-language libretto and wrote comedies under the pseudonyms Amalie Heiter and Amalie Serena.

In 1816, Princess Amalie of Saxony began to compose over a dozen operas, mainly to Italian libretti, that for a number of years delighted the inner circles of Dresden society. The princess also composed some chamber music and several fine works of liturgical music, including an impressive Stabat Mater (a hymn commemorating the sorrows of the Virgin Mary at the Cross). She tried her hand at composing an operetta in 1819 to a French text. When she tired of music, she wrote a number of comedies, publishing them under pseudonyms. Amalie of Saxony was one of the last representatives of a culture that tried to justify aristocratic privileges in terms of serious artistic endeavors on the part of an educated and serious elite who remained amateurs in the best sense of the word. She was the author of Die Fürstenbraut, Der Majoratserbe, and Der Oheim.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia