Supplementary Appendix 366.1

The Theater in Lauchstädt

Caroline and Schelling attended the opening of the renovated theater in Lauchstädt on 26 and 27 June 1802 (probably also 28 June), along with several other acquaintances from Jena, the older theater there having become inadequate. Here the theater that was used between 1785 and 1801: [1]


Lauchstädt is located ca. 65 km northeast of Weimar: [2]



It may be noted that at the time, Lauchstädt was already well known as a mineral-springs spa. Here the fountain and dance hall in 1813 and in a contemporareous illustration: [3]



The small theater at this spa had been acquired by the Weimar theater in 1791 and used for the summer season. At the opening of the renovated theater in June 1802, Goethe’s prologue Was wir bringen (Tübingen 1802), specifically written for the dedication, and Mozart’s Titus were performed along with Friedrich Hildebrand von Einsiedel’s adaptation of the play Adelphi (160 B.C.E.) by Terence, namely, Die Brüder. Ein Lustspiel nach Terenz in fünf Akten (Leipzig 1802). Schiller’s Wallenstein (i.e., Wallensteins Tod) was also performed as part of the celebration on 28 June 1802, and Caroline and Schelling seem also to have attended that performance. [4]

Here the theater in 1904: [5]


Johann Diederich Gries, who was back in Jena again at the time, also made the trip to Lauchstädt (here: Lauchstedt) for these performances: [6]

The summer of 1802 was interrupted in June by a journey to Lauchstedt, whither the dedication of the new theater by Goethe’s Was wir bringen had drawn a whole throng of people. Here the entire circle, all of whose members knew one another — Schlegel, Schelling, Hegel, the Frommanns — came together and spent several quite pleasant days. [7]

Here the stage area in 1904 and 1905; note the paintings of Goethe and Schiller at stage left and right: [7a]




Concerning the “throng,” see the diary of Anton Genast, an actor and for twenty years stage director in Weimar under Goethe: [8]

On 20 June [1802], the company went to Lauchstedt, where the renovated theater was opened on 26 June with the prologue Was wir bringen and the opera Titus. Oper in zwey Aufzügen. Goethe followed us on 23 June in order to supervise the rehearsals himself. People streamed in from Leipzig, Halle, indeed, from the entire surrounding area in order to attend this performance.

Unfortunately, the building could not hold the large number of spectators, and the external doors had to be opened, so powerful was the crush of the crowd. Although the poor people who did manage to get a place there could admittedly not see a thing, they could, however, hear everything, since the walls of the theater were so thin that even those outside could understand every word spoken on stage.

Lest anyone inappropriate join those outside, twenty Saxon dragoons from nearby Schaafstedt were summoned by the authorities to surround the theater with drawn swords.

The entire audience hall consisted actually of only a single room divided into three sections. The first, constituting the larger half and bordering the orchestra, was called the parquet, the second the parterre, and the third the “last place.”A semicircular balcony elevated above this latter space could seat approximately sixty persons.


[Here three cross sections showing the theater’s layout:]



The prices were: 16, 12, 8, and 4 gute Groschen. The highest possible box office receipts were approximately 300 Thaler, though on this evening the earnings reached about 350 Thaler.

Goethe had taken his seat in the balcony. After the prologue, the audience cheered him with a threefold hurrah by standing up and directing their gaze at him. He stepped forward and said, “May that which we bring [9] never fail to satisfy an audience that loves art.” After these words, he withdrew and came onstage to relate his own satisfaction to the cast.

The audience received the prologue as well as the opera Titus with enthusiastic applause, finding particular pleasure in the performance of Mademoiselle Jagemann, who sang and performed the role of Sextus masterfully. [10] — Between the last decade of the previous [viz. eighteenth] century till 1809, Lauchstedt was an extremely popular and fashionable spa. Rich Saxon nobility from the surrounding area as well as the first families of Leipzig academics and merchants constituted the cream of society.

Schelling, Caroline, and others apparently received reimbursement from Franz Kirms for their tickets for the Lauchstädt performances; Schelling writes to Kirms on 16 July 1802 from Jena: [11]

Let me express my obliging gratitude on behalf of the company here to the esteemed theater direction, and to you in particular, esteemed Sir, for remitting the monies for the Lauchstädt theater tickets and for the attendant expenditure of effort.

Though the distribution did present some difficulties, the company did not want to cause problems by sending it back, hence the portion intended for Herr Concert Master Reichardt was given to Herr Frommann for delivery at a convenient time.


[1] Illustration from A. Doebber, Lauchstädt und Weimar: eine theaterbaugeschichtliche Studie (Berlin 1908), plate 6. — Concerning Caroline and Schelling’s journey, see Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 15 June 1802 (letter 363); to Cäcilie Gotter in late July 1802 (letter 366); to Wilhelm Schlegel on 21 (29?) June 1802 (letter 367); and Schelling to Wilhelm Schlegel on 30 July 1802 (letter 368b). Back.

[2] Ludwig Ravenstein, Atlas des Deutschen Reichs (Leipzig 1883), no. 5; illustration: Saxonia: Museum für Sächsische Vaterlandskunde, vol. 2 (Dresden 1836), plate following p. 44. Back.

[3] Johann Ernst Andreas Koch, Der Gesundbrunnen und das Bad zu Lauchstädt nebst einer kurzen Topographie dieses Städtchens (Halle, Berlin 1813), frontispiece; A. Doebber, Lauchstädt und Weimar: eine theaterbaugeschichtliche Studie [Berlin 1908], plate 5. Back.

[4] Concerning the schedule, see Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 15 June 1802 (letter 363), note 11. Concerning the likelihood that Caroline and Schelling also attended the performance of Schiller’s Wallenstein on 28 June 1802, see her letter to Wilhelm on 29 June 1802 (letter 367). Back.

[5] This and the following images from Goethe und sein Kreis, ed. Franz Neubert, 2nd ed. (Leipzig 1919), 135–36. Back.

[6] Aus dem Leben J. D. Gries, 50. Back.

[7] Note: Gries’s biographer, Elise Campe, is mistaken, since Wilhelm Schlegel was back in Berlin and did not attend these performances. Back.

[7a] Second and following illustrations from A. Doebber, Lauchstädt und Weimar: eine theaterbaugeschichtliche Studie [Berlin 1908], plates 16, 17, 18. Back.

[8] Eduard Genast, Aus dem Tagebuch eines alten Schauspielers, 3 vols, 2nd ed. (Leipzig 1862–65), 1:128–30. Back.

[9] Germ., was wir bringen, i.e., the title of his prologue. Back.

[10] Sextus the patrician in Mozart’s opera. Back.

[11] Fuhrmans 2:414. Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott