Carl Maria von Weber's opera Der Freischutz met with instant success on its premiere in Berlin in 1821, rapidly spreading throughout Europe. Audiences identified readily with the folk melodies and hunting character of its Bohemian setting. The story tells of Max's struggle to win Agathe in marriage. The desperation which leads him to trade with the devil in order to regain his lost marksman's skills, finds resolution when fate intervenes to prevent the fatal 'free bullet' from striking Agathe, saved by the sacred roses in her bridal coronet. In this Achim Freyer production from the Wurttemberg State Opera, the Hunstman's role is taken by Toni Kramer, with Caterina Ligendza as Agathe, Raili Vilijakainen as Annchen and Wolfram Raub as Samiel, under the baton of American conductor Dennis Russell Davies.