FRIEDRICH VON FLOTOW (1812 - 1883)
The music of the German nobleman Friedrich von Flotow nowadays enjoys much less popularity than it once did, when his opera Martha was first staged in Vienna in 1847. He had varying success in Paris and in Vienna with other stage works.
Martha, or Richmond Market, the best know of over 30 operas by Flotow, deals with the story of two girls, who in jest disguise themselves as countrywomen and sell themselves as servants at Richmond Market, only to find that they are legally bound to their new masters for a year. Still popular extracts from the opera include the tenor porter song ‘Lasst mich euch fragen’ and the even more celebrated ‘Ach, so fromm’ (‘M’appari’ in its equally well-known Italian version). In the second act Martha, alias Lady Harriet, Maid of Honour to Queen Anne, sings the Irish song The Last Rose of Summer, music that somehow seems appropriate enough in this unlikely context.