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In his last opera, Der Schmied von Gent, Franz Schreker aimed to create a folk opera – not an easy task, given his chosen medium of highly developed German post-impressionism. Schreker continued in this piece along the path of simplification which he had started with the Singender Teufel. His last opera contains song and dance forms: there is a folksy feel to blacksmith songs, parodies and children's songs; pious songs of legends mix with baroque splendour. The opera is based on a Flemish folk tale: the story of the clever blacksmith who signs a pact with the devil, but with the help of St Joseph escapes from hell and, following various adventures, gets into heaven in the end. A lighthearted fantasy, populated with the dead and the living, the burghers of Ghent, spectres from hell and the heavenly hosts, which shows the path from life on earth to the radiance of paradise.