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The founding of Germany’s first public opera house in Hamburg on 2nd January 1678 was an act of emancipation in two distinct ways. First, the very staging of opera, as an art form, was itself an act of enlightened emancipation because, right up until the 17th century, major musical compositions were automatically created for use in worship, or at least were the product of religious motivation – a certain touch of secularisation was essential to acceptance of this new, worldlier form of art. Second, the fact that the opera was also accessible to the public was an extreme form of emancipation as, prior to the opening of Hamburg’s "Opern-Theatrum" with its performance of Johann Theile’s Singspiel entitled "Adam and Eve or The Created, Fallen and Redeemed Man", opera performances were exclusively enjoyed by the nobility and the aristocracy.
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