On our first visit to Mainz quite a few years ago we were surprised to see an impressive statue of Friedrich Schiller. We had only heard of this poet and playwright because Beethoven had set his poem to music in his 9th Symphony.
Thanks to Beethoven, Schiller’s poem An di Freude (Ode to Joy) is now well known around the world. But in Germany, Schiller is much more famous as a playwright and has the stature in that country something like that of Shakespeare in the English speaking world.
Schiller’s importance as a playwright spread beyond Germany with Verdi, Donizetti and Rossini using some of his plays as the basis of their operas. Rossini’s William Tell is just one example of an opera adapted from a Schiller play.