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The New International Encyclopædia/Benda, Georg

BENDA, Georg (1722-95). A German musician. He was born at Jungbunzlau, Bohemia, and studied with his father, Hans Georg Benda. He became kapellmeister to Duke Frederick III. of Saxe-Gotha in 1748, and in 1764 went to Italy at the Duke's expense for the purpose of study. He returned to Gotha in 1766, and devoted himself to composition, writing, in all, about ten operas, several operettas, and the stirring melodramas Ariadne auf Naxos, Medea, Almansor, and Nadine. In 1778 he resigned his position and visited Hamburg, Vienna, and other cities, and finally settled at the little hamlet of Köstritz. The important place which he holds in the history of German opera is due to his introduction of the music-drama with spoken text. In other words, he was the originator of the pure melodrama, in which the whole musical part is confined to the orchestra, while the dialect is spoken.