Jephtas Gelübde

Jephtas Gelübde ('The vow of Jephtha') was the first opera composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer. The libretto, which is elaborated from the biblical story of Jephtha, was by Aloys Schreiber. The first performance was at the Hoftheater in Munich on 23 December 1812.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 1812
(Conductor: - )
Jephta Christian Lanius
Sulima, (Jephta's daughter) soprano Helena Harlas
Asmaweth (Sulima's lover) tenor Georg Weixelbaum
Tirza (Sulima's servant) Mlle. Flerr
Abdon Herr Mittermayr
High Priest Herr Schwadke
Choruses of Levites, of prisoners and of warriors


Meyerbeer wrote Jephtas Gelübde while he was studying with Abt Vogler, (and while he was still known as Jakob, rather than the first name Giacomo which he was to adopt after his studies in Italy). He completed the score in Würzburg in April 1812, writing the overture last of all. During his revision of the score in June and July, Metyerbeer had already begun writing his second opera, Wirth und Gast. The score reflects Vogler's interest in colourful orchestration.

Rehearsals began for the opera in November 1812, with which Meyerbeer was not satisfied. 'Deliberate and accidental hindrances of every sort intruded, and even on the 20th December I was not certain whether the opera would be given in the 23rd. Anxiety, annoyance and vexation of every sort bothered me in these six weeks'. In the event there were three performances, and the operas was fairly successful with many numbers applauded, although the composer though that Lanius, as Jeptha, 'played very mediocrely'.

Two manuscripts of the score survive, one in the British Library, London, the other in Brussels.



  • F. Heidlberger, Jepthas Gelübde, in 'Meyerbeer und das europäische Musiktheater', ed. Döhring and Jacobshagen, Laaber, 1998 ISBN 3890074103
  • G. Meyerbeer, tr. and ed. Robert Letellier, Diaries, Volume 1, Associated University Presses, 1999. ISBN 0838637892
  • R. Zimmermann, Meyerbeer, Berlin 199 8 ISBN 3932529235

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