»The Geisterinsel is a masterpiece of poetry and language: nothing more musical could be imagined.« This positive judgment pronounced by Goethe in 1798 was seconded by Duke Carl August, the ruling prince in Saxe-Weimar, when he wrote in 1801 that there was »really beautiful music« in this stage work. Both men were championing a singspiel in three acts premiered at the National Theater in Berlin on 6 July 1798 and performed fifty-five more times at this house until 1825. The authors of this successful work were the Gotha-born Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter and Friedrich Hildebrand of Einsiedel and its composer was the Königsberg native Johann Friedrich Reichardt. After a short phase as a brilliant violin virtuoso Reichardt, who was influenced by the philosophy of the Enlightenment, became a pathbreaking »thinking artist« who soon met with recognition in various European countries as a composer and versatile writer active in many fields. With simple means Reichardt’s music seeks, in keeping with the particular situation, to do justice to the tension between the »gentle melodies« of delightful spirit voices and the horrors of hell. It is primarily in his ensemble and final scenes that this composer produces a complexity that he had learned from Gluck and Mozart.