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´╗┐Title: The Standard Operaglass - Detailed Plots of One Hundred and Fifty-one Celebrated Operas
Author: Annesley, Charles, pseud.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.


*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Standard Operaglass - Detailed Plots of One Hundred and Fifty-one Celebrated Operas" ***


[Transcriber's note: the punctuation in this file is somewhat
inconsistent.  There are many commas and other punctuation where none
appears to be needed, and vice versa.  Syntax and grammar are
occasionally shaky.  Spelling and the use of accented characters are
inconsistent.  In general, only severe errors have been corrected.]



[Illustration: Photograph of Therese Malten.  _Evchen._]


[Illustration: Photograph of Karl Scheidemantel.  _Hans Sachs._]



The

Standard-Operaglass


CONTAINING

THE DETAILED PLOTS

OF

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY ONE CELEBRATED OPERAS

WITH CRITICAL

AND BIOGRAPHICAL REMARKS, DATES &c. &c.


BY

CHARLES ANNESLEY


THIRTY FIRST TO THIRTY THIRD THOUSAND REVISED

AND ENLARGED EDITION



DEDICATED TO THERESE MALTEN

KOeNIGL. SAeCHS. KAMMERSAeNGERIN

(with 2 portraits of Malten and Scheidemantel).



  LONDON.
  SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & CO. LIMITED.
  17a PATERN0STER ROW.   100 SOUTHWARK STREET.

  DRESDEN.            PARIS.                  NEW YORK.
  CARL TITTMANN.      BRENTANO'S.             LEMCKE & BUECHNER
  PRAGERSTRASSE 19.   AVENUE DE L'OPERA 37.   11 EAST 17th STREET.

  MAYENCE.   LONDON.   MILAN.   PARIS.
  SAARBACH'S NEWS EXCHANGE.



1911.

COPYRIGHT BY A. TITTMANN.

(Right of translation reserved.)



To

Therese Walten

Koeniglich Saechsische Kammersaengerin


With profound admiration of her Genius

this little work is dedicated


by the Author.



{vii}

INDEX OF THE OPERAS.


  Operas.                                Composers.          Fol.

  Abu Hassan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weber . . . . . . .    1
  Africaine  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meyerbeer . . . . .    3
  Aida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Verdi . . . . . . .    8
  Alessandro Stradella . . . . . . . . . Flotow  . . . . . .   10
  Armida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gluck . . . . . . .   12
  Armorer (Waffenschmied)  . . . . . . . Lortzing  . . . . .   14
  Ballo in Maschera  . . . . . . . . . . Auler . . . . . . .   15
  Barber of Bagdad . . . . . . . . . . . Cornelius . . . . .   18
  Barbiere di Seviglia . . . . . . . . . Rossini . . . . . .   22
  Benvenuto Cellini  . . . . . . . . . . Berlins . . . . . .   25
  By Order of His Highness . . . . . . . Keineckt  . . . . .   30
  Carlo Broschi (Teufel's Antheil) . . . Auber . . . . . . .   33
  Carmen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bizet . . . . . . .   36
  Cavalleria Rusticana . . . . . . . . . Mascagni  . . . . .   39
  Cosi fan tutte . . . . . . . . . . . . Mozart  . . . . . .   41
  Czar and Zimmermann  . . . . . . . . . Lortzing  . . . . .   43
  Dame Blanche . . . . . . . . . . . . . Boieldieu . . . . .   46
  Demonio  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rubinstein  . . . .   49
  Domino Noir  . . . . . . . . . . . . . Auber . . . . . . .   52
  Don Carlos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Verdi . . . . . . .   54
  Don Juan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mozart  . . . . . .   57
  Don Pasquale . . . . . . . . . . . . . Donizetti . . . . .   59
  Dragons de Villars . . . . . . . . . . Maillart  . . . . .   62
  Dusk of the Gods . . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .   68
  Euryanthe  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weber . . . . . . .   72
  Falstaff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Verdi . . . . . . .   75
  Fidelio  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beethoven . . . . .   78
  Figlia del Reggimento  . . . . . . . . Donizetti . . . . .   81

{viii}

  Flying Dutchman  . . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .   84
  Folkungs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kretschmer  . . . .   87
  Fra Diavolo  . . . . . . . . . . . . . Auber . . . . . . .   90
  Frauenlob  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Becker  . . . . . .   94
  Freischuetz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weber . . . . . . .   98
  Friend Fritz . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mascagni  . . . . .  102
  Genoveva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schumann  . . . . .  105
  Golden Cross . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bruell . . . . . . .  108
  Two Grenadiers . . . . . . . . . . . . Lortzing  . . . . .  110
  Hamlet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas  . . . . . .  114
  Hansel and Gretel  . . . . . . . . . . Humperdinck . . . .  116
  Hans Heiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marschner . . . . .  121
  Henry the Lion . . . . . . . . . . . . Kretschmer  . . . .  125
  Herrat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Draeseke  . . . . .  128
  Hochzeitsmorgen  . . . . . . . . . . . Kaskel  . . . . . .  132
  Huguenots  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meyerbeer   . . . .  134
  Idle Hans  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ritter  . . . . . .  138
  Idomeneus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mozart. . . . . . .  141
  Jean de Paris  . . . . . . . . . . . . Boieldieu . . . . .  145
  Jessonda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spohr . . . . . . .  148
  Ingrid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Grammann  . . . . .  149
  Iphigenia in Aulis . . . . . . . . . . Gluck . . . . . . .  157
  Iphigenia in Tauris  . . . . . . . . . Gluck . . . . . . .  153
  Josef in Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . Mehul . . . . . . .  155
  Irrlicht (will-o-the Wisp) . . . . . . Grammann  . . . . .  158
  Juive  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Halevy  . . . . . .  161
  Junker Heinz (Sir Harry) . . . . . . . Perfall . . . . . .  164
  King against his will  . . . . . . . . Chabrier  . . . . .  168
  Lohengrin  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  172
  Lorle  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Foerster  . . . . .  176
  Love's Battle  . . . . . . . . . . . . Meyer-Helmund . . .  181
  Lucia die Lammermoor . . . . . . . . . Donizetti . . . . .  183
  Lucrezia Borgia  . . . . . . . . . . . Donizetti . . . . .  185
  Maccabees  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rubinstein  . . . .  188
  Magic Flute  . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mozart  . . . . . .  191
  Maidens of Schilda . . . . . . . . . . Foerster  . . . . .  195

{ix}

  Marga  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pittrich  . . . . .  199
  Marguerite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gounod  . . . . . .  201
  Martha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flotow  . . . . . .  203
  Master-Singers of Nueremberg  . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  206
  Master-Thief . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lindner . . . . . .  211
  Mason  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Auber . . . . . . .  215
  Melusine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Grammann  . . . . .  217
  Merlin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Goldmark  . . . . .  222
  Merry Wives of Windsor . . . . . . . . Nicolai . . . . . .  225
  Mignon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas  . . . . . .  228
  Muette de Portici  . . . . . . . . . . Auber . . . . . . .  230
  Nachtlager von Granada (Night's Rest)  Kreutzer  . . . . .  233
  Nibelung's Ring:  I. Rhinegold . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  287
                   II. Walkyrie  . . . .   "     . . . . . .  345
                  III. Siegfried . . . .   "     . . . . . .  307
                   IV. Dusk of the Gods    "     . . . . . .   68
  Norma  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bellini . . . . . .  234
  Nozze di Figaro  . . . . . . . . . . . Mozart  . . . . . .  237
  Nueremberg Doll . . . . . . . . . . . . Adam  . . . . . . .  241
  Oberon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weber . . . . . . .  244
  Orfeo e Eurydice . . . . . . . . . . . Gluck . . . . . . .  248
  Othello  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Verdi . . . . . . .  250
  Pagliacci  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leoncavallo . . . .  254
  Parsifal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  258
  Philemon and Baucis  . . . . . . . . . Gounod  . . . . . .  262
  Pintos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weber . . . . . . .  264
  Piper of Hameln  . . . . . . . . . . . Nessler . . . . . .  268
  Poacher (Wildschuetz) . . . . . . . . . Lortzing  . . . . .  272
  Postilion of Longjumeau  . . . . . . . Adam  . . . . . . .  274
  Preciosa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weber . . . . . . .  277
  Prophete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meyerbeer . . . . .  279
  Queen of Sheba . . . . . . . . . . . . Goldmark  . . . . .  283
  Rhinegold  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  287
  Rienzi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  290
  Rigoletto  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Verdi . . . . . . .  292
  Robert le Diable . . . . . . . . . . . Meyerbeer . . . . .  295

{x}

  Roi l'a dit  . . . . . . . . . . . . . Delibes . . . . . .  299
  Romeo e Giulietta  . . . . . . . . . . Gounod  . . . . . .  303
  Seraglio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mozart  . . . . . .  305
  Siegfried  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  307
  Silvana  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weber . . . . . . .  310
  Somnambula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bellini . . . . . .  313
  Taming of the Shrew  . . . . . . . . . Goetz . . . . . . .  315
  Tannhaeuser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  316
  Tell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rossini . . . . . .  321
  Templar and the Jewess . . . . . . . . Marschner . . . . .  323
  Traviata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Verdi . . . . . . .  325
  Tristan and Isolda . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  327
  Trovatore  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Verdi . . . . . . .  330
  Trumpeter of Saekkingen  . . . . . . . Nessler . . . . . .  332
  Undine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lortzing  . . . . .  335
  Urvasi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kiensl  . . . . . .  338
  Vampire  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marschner . . . . .  341
  Walkyrie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wagner  . . . . . .  345
  Zampa  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Herold  . . . . . .  348


  Newly added.

  Operas.                                Composers.          Fol.

  Apothecary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Haydn . . . . . . .  350
  Djamileh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bizet . . . . . . .  354
  Donna Diana  . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reznicek  . . . . .  357
  Sold Bride . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Smetana . . . . . .  363


  1897/98:

  Ballo in Maschera  . . . . . . . . . . Verdi . . . . . . .  368
  The Cricket on the Hearth  . . . . . . Goldmark  . . . . .  372
  The Evangelimann . . . . . . . . . . . Kiensl  . . . . . .  376
  Odysseus' Return . . . . . . . . . . . Bungert . . . . . .  380


  1899:

  Bearskin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Siegfr. Wagner  . .  389
  Cid  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peter Cornelius . .  398
  Kirke  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bungert . . . . . .  403


{xi}

  Added in 1900.

  Delila . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Camille Saint-Saens  420
  Departure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eugene d'Albert      417
  Ernani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Giuseppe Verdi       410
  Werther  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J. E. F. Massenet    413


  1901/2.

  Nausikaa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . August Bungert       423
  Manru  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J. Paderewski        430
  Feuersnot  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Richard Strauss      433
  Hoffmann's Tales . . . . . . . . . . . Jacques Offenbach    437


  1903/4.

  Alpine King and the Misanthrope  . . . Leo Blech            442
  Manon Lescaut  . . . . . . . . . . . . J. E. F. Massenet    449
  Odysseus' Death  . . . . . . . . . . . August Bungert       456
  Tosca  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Giacomo Puccini      462


  1905/6.

  Barfuessele . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Richard Heuberger    469
  Boheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Giacomo Puccini      475
  Fledermaus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johann Strauss       479


  1906.

  Flauto Solo  . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eugene d'Albert      484
  Moloch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Max Schillings       490
  Salome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Richard Strauss      496


  1907.

  Die Schoenen von Fogaras  . . . . . . . Alfred Gruenfeld      500
  Tiefland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eugene d'Albert      506
  Madame Butterfly . . . . . . . . . . . Giacomo Puccini      513


  1908.

  Acte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joan Manen           518


  1909.

  Eugene Onegin  . . . . . . . . . . . . P. J. Tschaikowsky   524
  Elektra  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Richard Strauss      528
  Versiegelt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leo Blech            533



{xii}

INDEX OF THE COMPOSERS.

                                                             Fol.

Adam (Adolphe) b. July 24th 1803 Paris, d. May 3rd 1856
         Paris

     1. Nuremberg Doll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  241
     2. Postilion of Lonjumeau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  274

Auber (Daniel Francois Esprit) b. Jan. 29th 1784 Caen
         (Normandy), d. May 13th 1871 Paris

     1. Ballo in Maschera  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   15
     2. Carlo Broschi (Teufels Antheil)  . . . . . . . . . .   33
     3. Domino Noir  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   62
     4. Fra Diavolo  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   90
     5. Mason  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  215
     6. Muette de Portici  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  230

Becker (Reinhold) b. 1842 Adorf i. V. (Saxony)

     Frauenlob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   94

Bellini (Vincenzo) b. Nov. 3rd 1802 Catanea, d. Sept. 4th 1835
         Puteaux n. Paris

     1. Norma  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  234
     2. Somnambula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  313

Beethoven (Ludwig van) b. Dec. 17th 1770 Bonn, d. March
         26th 1827 Vienna

     Fidelio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   78


Berlioz (Hector) b. Dec. 11th 1803 Cote St. Andre (Dep. Isere),
         d. March 9th 1869 Paris

     Benvenuto Cellini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   25

Bizet (Georges) b. Oct. 25th 1838 Paris, d. June 3rd 1875 Paris

     1. Carmen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   36
     2. Djamileh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  354

{xiii}

Boieldieu (Francois Adrien) b. Dec. 15th 1775 Rouen, d.
         Oct. 8th 1834 Paris

     1. Dame Blanche . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   46
     2. Jean de Paris  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  145

Bruell (Ignaz) b. Nor. 7th 1846 Prossnitz (Moravia)

     Golden Cross  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  108

Chabrier (Emanuel) b. Jan. 18th 1841 Ambert (Puy de Dome)

     A King against his will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  168

Cornelius (Peter) b. Dec. 24th 1824 Mayence, d. Oct. 28th
         1874 (Munich)

     Barber of Bagdad  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   18

Delibes (Leo) b. 1836 St. German du Val (Sarthe)

     Le Roi l'a dit  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  299

Donizetti (Gaetano) b. Sept. 25th 1797 Bergamo, d. April 8th
         1848 Bergamo

     1. Don Pasquale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   59
     2. Figlia del Reggimento  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   81
     3. Lucia di Lammermoor  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  183
     4. Lucrezia Borgia  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  185

Draeseke (Felix) b. October 7th 1835 Coburg

     Herrat  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  128

Flotow (Friedrich von) b. April 27th 1812 Teutendorf (Mecklenburg)

     1. Alessandro Stradella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   10
     2. Martha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  203

Foerster (Alban) b. Oct. 23rd 1849 Reichenbach (Saxony)

     1. Lorle  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  176
     2. Maidens of Schilda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  195

Gluck (Christoph Willibald) b. July 4th 1714 Weidenwang
         (Palatine) d. Nov. 25th 1787 Vienna

     1. Armida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   12
     2. Iphigenia in Aulis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  158
     3. Iphigenia in Tauris  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  155
     4. Orfeo e Eurydice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  248

{xiv}

Goetz (Hermann) b. Dec. 17th 1840 Konigsberg in Prussia,
         d. Dec. 3rd 1876 Zurich

     Taming of the Shrew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  315

Goldmark (Karl) b. May 18th 1832 Keszthely (Hungaria)

     1. Merlin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  222
     2. Queen of Sheba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  283

Gounod (Charles Francois) b. June 17th 1818 Paris

     1. Marguerite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  201
     2. Philemon and Baucis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  262
     3. Romeo e Giulietta  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  803

Grammann (Karl) b. June 3rd 1844 Luebeck

     1. Ingrid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  149
     2. Irrlicht . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  158
     3. Melusine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  217

Halevy (Jacques Francois Fromental) b. May 27th 1799 Paris,
         d. March 17th 1862 Paris

     Juive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  161

Haydn (Josef) b. March 31st 1732 Rohrau d. May 31st 1809 Vienna

     Apothecary  . . . . . . . . .   . . . . . . . . . . . .  350

Herold (Louis Josef Ferdinand) b. Jan. 28th 1791 Paris,
         d. Jan. 19th 1833 Paris

     Zampa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 348

Humperdinck (Engelbert) b. Sept. 1st 1854 Siegburg on the Ahme

     Hansel and Gretel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

Kaskel (Karl) b. Oct. 10th 1866 Dresden

     Hochzeitsmorgen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132

Kienzl (Wilhelm) b. Jan. 17th 1857 Weitzenkirchen (Austria)

     Urvasi  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338

Kretschmer (Edmund) b. Aug. 31st 1830 Ostritz (Saxony)

     1. Folkungs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  87
     2. Henry the Lion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125

Kreutzer (Conradin) b. Nov. 16th 1782 Moskirch (Baden),
         d. Jan. 6th 1849 Riga

     Nachtlager von Granada (Night's rest) . . . . . . . . . 233

{xv}

Leoncavallo (R.) b. 1859 Bologna

     Pagliacci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  254

Lindner (Eugen) b. Dec. 11th 1858 Leipzig, lives in Weimar

     Master-Tief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  211

Lortzing (Albert) b. Oct. 23rd 1803 Berlin, d. Jan. 20th 1851
         Berlin

     1. Armorer (Waffenschmied)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   14
     2. Czar and Zimmermann  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   43
     3. Two Grenadiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  110
     4. Poacher (Wildschuetz) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  272
     5. Undine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  335

Maillart (Louis Aime) b. March 24th 1817 Montpellier, d.
         May 26th 1871 Moulins

     Les Dragons de Villars  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   62

Marschner (Heinrich) b. Aug. 16th 1795 Zittau, d. Dec. 16th
         1861 Hannover

     1. Hans Heiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  121
     2. Templar and Jewess . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  323
     3. The Vampire  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  341

Mascagni (Pietro) b. Dec. 7th 1863 Livorno

     1. Cavalleria Rusticana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   39
     2. Friend Fritz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  102

Mehul (Etienne Henri) b. June 22nd 1763 Givet, d. Oct. 18th
         1817 (Paris)

     Joseph in Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  157

Meyerbeer (Jacob) b. Sept. 15th 1791 Berlin, d. May 1st 1864 Paris

     1. Africaine  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    3
     2. Huguenots  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  134
     3. Prophete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  279
     4. Robert le Diable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  295

Meyer-Helmund (Erik) b. April 25th 1865 St. Petersburg

     Love's Battle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  181

Mozart (Wolfgang Amadeus) b. Jan. 27th 1756 Salzburg,
         d. Dec. 5th 1791 Vienna

     1. Cosi fan tutte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   41
     2. Don Juan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   67

{xvi}

     3. Idomeneus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  141
     4. Magic Flute  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  191
     5. Nozze di Figaro  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  237
     6. Seraglio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  305

Nessler (Victor) b. Jan. 28th 1841 Baldenheim (Alsace), d.
         May 28th 1890 Strassburg

     1. Piper of Hameln  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  268
     2. Trumpeter of Saekkingen  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  332

Nicolai (Otto) b. June 9th 1810 Koenigsberg, d. 1849 Berlin

     Merry Wives of Windsor  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  225

Pitrich (Georg) b. Febr. 22nd 1870 Dresden

     Marga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  199

Perfall (Karl Freiherr von) b. Jan. 29th 1824 Munich

     Junker Heinz (Sir Harry)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  164

Reinecke (Carl) b. June 23rd 1824 Altona, since 1860 in Leipzig

     By Order of His Highness (Auf hohen Befehl) . . . . . .   30

Reznicek (E. N. Freiherr von) b. May 4th 1861 Vienna

     Donna Diana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  857

Ritter (Alexander) b. June 27th 1833 Narva (Russia)

     Idle Hans . . . . . .   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  138

Rossini (Gioacchino Antonio) b. Feb. 29th 1792 Pesaro, d.
         Nov. 13th 1868 Paris

     1. Barbiere di Seviglia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   22
     2. Tell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  321

Rubinstein (Anton) b. Nov. 30th 1830 Wechwotynetz (Moscou)
         d. Nov. 25th 1894 Petersburgh

     1. Demonio  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   49
     2. Maccabees  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  188

Schumann (Robert) b. June 8th 1810 Zwickau, d. July 29th
         1856 Endenich near Bonn

     Genoveva  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  105

Smetana (Fredr.) b. March 2nd 1824 Leitomischl, d. May 12th
         1884 Prague

     Sold Bride  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  363

Spohr (Ludwig) b. April 5th 1784 Seesen, d. Nov. 22nd 1859 Kassel

     Jessonda  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  148

{xvii}

Thomas (Charles Louis Ambroise) b. August 5th 1811 Metz

     1. Hamlet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  114
     2. Mignon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  228

Verdi (Giuseppe) b. Oct. 9th 1814 Roncole (Lombardy)

     1. Aida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    8
     2. Don Carlos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   54
     3. Falstaff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   75
     4. Othello  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  250
     5. Rigoletto  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  292
     6. Traviata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  325
     7. Trovatore  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  330

Wagner (Richard) b. May 22nd 1813 Leipzig, d. Febr. 13th
         1883 Venice

     1. Dusk of the Gods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   68
     2. Flying Dutchman  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   84
     3. Lohengrin  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  172
     4. Master-Singers of Nuremberg  . . . . . . . . . . . .  206
     5. Parsifal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  258
     6. Rhinegold  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  287
     7. Rienzi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  290
     8. Siegfried  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  307
     9. Tannhaeuser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  316
    10. Tristan and Isolda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  327
    11. Walkyrie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  345

Weber (Carl Maria von) b. Dec. 18th 1786 Eutin, d. July 5th
         1826 London

     1. Abu Hassan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1
     2. Euryanthe  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  73
     3. Freischuetz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  98
     4. Oberon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  244
     5. Three Pintos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  264
     6. Preciosa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  277
     7. Silvana  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  310

Bungert (August) b. March 14th 1846 Muehlheim (Ruhr)

     Odysseus Return . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  380
     Kirke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  408

{xviii}

Wagner (Siegfried) b. 1871 Bayreuth

     Bearskin (Baerenhaeuter)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  389

D'Albert (Eugene) b. April 10th 1864 Glasgow

     The Departure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  417

Massenet (Jules Emile Frederic) b. May 12th 1842
         Saint-Etienne (Dep. Loire)

     Werther . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  413

Saint-Saens (Camille) b. October 9th 1835 Paris

     Delila  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  420

Verdi (Giuseppe) b. Oct. 9th 1814 Roncole (Lombardy)

     Ernani  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  410

Bungert (August) b. March 14th 1846 Muelheim (Ruhr)

     Nausikaa  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  423

Paderewski (Ignaz, Johann) b. November 6th 1859 Podolien (Poland)

     Manru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  430

Strauss (Richard) b. June 11th 1864 Munich

     Feuersnot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  433

Offenbach (Jacques) b. June 21st 1819 Cologne, d. October
         5th 1880 Paris

     Hoffmann's Tales  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  437

Blech (Leo) b. 1871 Aix la Chapelle

     Alpine King and the Misanthrope . . . . . . . . . . . .  442

Bungert (August) b. March 14th 1846 Muelheim (Ruhr)

     Odysseus' Death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  456

Massenet (Jules Emile Frederic) b. May 12th 1842
         Saint-Etienne (Dep. Loire)

     Manon Lescaut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  449

Puccini (Giacomo) b. December 22nd 1858 Lucca

     Tosca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  462

Heuberger (Richard) b. June 18th 1850 Graz (Styria)

     Barfuessele  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  469

Puccini (Giacomo) b. December 22nd 1858 Lucca

     La Boheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  475

Strauss (Johann, Son) b. October 25th 1825 Vienna,
         d. June 3rd 1899

     Fledermaus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  479

{xix}

D'Albert (Eugene) b. April 10th 1864 Glasgow

     Flauto Solo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  484

Schillings (Max, Professor) b. April 19th 1868 Dueren o. Rh.

     Moloch  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  490

Strauss (Richard) b. June 11th 1864 Munich

     Salome  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  496

Gruenfeld (Alfred) b. July 4th 1852 Prague

     Die Schoenen von Fogaras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  500

D'Albert (Eugene) b. April 10th 1864 Glasgow

     Tiefland  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  506

Puccini (Giacomo) b. December 22nd 1858 Lucca

     Madame Butterfly  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  513

Manen (Joan) b. March 14th 1883, Barcelona

     Acte  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  518

Tschaikowsky (Peter Iljitsch) b. May 7th 1840 Wotkinsk
         (Russia), d. November 6th 1893 Petersburg

     Eugene Onegin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  624

Strauss (Richard) b. June 11th 1864 Munich

     Elektra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  528

Blech (Leo) b. April 21st 1871 Aix la Chapelle

     Versiegelt  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  533



{1}

ABU HASSAN.

Comic Opera in one act by WEBER.

Text by HIEMER.


This little opera, composed by Weber in his early youth and first
represented at Dresden under the composer's own direction, for a time
fell into utter oblivion, but has lately been reproduced.

Though short and unpretending it really deserves to be heard, the music
is so full of sweetness, so fresh and pretty.

The text is taken from a tale of the Arabian Thousand and One Nights,
and though full of nonsense, it amuses by its lightheartedness and
gaiety of spirit.

Abu Hassan, favorite of the Calif of Bagdad, has lived above his means,
and is now regaled with bread and water by his wife Fatima, whose only
fault is, that she sings better than she cooks.  In order to better his
fortunes Abu Hassan hits upon a strange plan.  He sends his wife to the
Calif's wife, Zobeide, to announce his (Hassan's) death, for which she
will obtain 50 gold pieces and a piece of brocade.  Fatima departs and
in the meantime enter Abu Hassan's creditors with the appeal for money.
Unable to satisfy them the debtor {2} approaches the eldest and richest
among them, and so pacifies him with sweet words which he is given to
understand Fatima has sent him, that old Omar consents to pay all the
creditors.

When they are gone, Fatima returns with Zobeide's presents, and Abu
Hassan prepares to go in his turn to the Calif, in order to repeat a
similar death-story about his wife and get a like sum.  While he is
away Omar reappears.  He has bought all Hassan's accounts from his
numerous creditors and offers them to Fatima for a kiss.  At this
moment the husband returns.  Omar is shut into the adjoining cabinet,
and the wife secretly points out the caged bird to her spouse who
begins to storm at finding the door of the next room closed, greatly to
the anguish of the old sinner Omar,--anguish, which is enjoyed by his
tormentors to the full.  In the midst of this scene Mesrur, messenger
of the Calif, appears, to find out whether Fatima is really dead.  The
Calif and his wife having each received news of the death of the
other's favorite, want to know, who it was, that died, and--if both are
dead--who died first.  The Calif affirms, that it is Fatima--his wife,
that it is Abu Hassan.  They have made a bet, and Mesrur, seeing Fatima
lying motionless on the divan, covered with the brocade, and her
husband in evident distress beside her, runs away to convey the tidings
to the Calif.  He is hardly gone, when Zobeide's nurse, Zemrud comes on
a similar errand from her mistress.  Fatima, who has just covered her
husband with {3} the brocade, receives her with tears and laments, and
the nurse departs triumphantly.

Hassan presently comes to life again but he and Fatima are not long
permitted to congratulate one another on the success of their scheme,
for the arrival of the Calif with his wife is pompously announced.
Both throw themselves on the divans, covering themselves, and so the
august couple finds them dead.  The Calif, much afflicted by the sight,
offers 1000 gold pieces to anyone, who can tell him, which of the two
died first.  No sooner does Hassan hear this than tearing aside his
cover, he throws himself at the Calif's feet, crying out: "It was I,
who died first!" at the same time craving the Calif's pardon together
with the gold pieces.  Fatima is also speedily resuscitated and the
Calif pardons his favorites, Hassan meanwhile asserting, that he only
died badly, in order to live better.  Omar, who has paid their bills in
the hope of winning Fatima's love, is driven away in disgrace.



L'AFRICAINE.

Opera in five acts by MEYERBEER.

Text by E. SCRIBE, translated by GUMPERT.


L'Africaine, one of the Maestro's last operas (1865), unites in itself
all the strength and at the same time all the weakness of Meyerbeer's
composition.

The music is easy flowing and enthralls us with its delicious melodies;
but it only appeals to our senses, and nobler thoughts are altogether
{4} wanting.  Nevertheless the opera finds favor by reason of these
advantages, which are supplemented by an interesting, though rather
improbable libretto.

The famous Portuguese navigator Vasco de Gama (born in 1469) is the
hero, though he does not appear in the best possible light, and is by
no means strictly historical.

The first scene is laid in Lisbon.  Donna Ines, Admiral Diego's
daughter is to give her hand to Don Pedro, a counsellor of King
Emmanuel of Portugal.  But she has pledged her faith to Vasco de Gama,
who has been sent with Diaz, the navigator, to double the Cape, in
order to seek for a new land, containing treasures, similar to those
discovered by Columbus.  Reports have reached Lisbon, that the whole
fleet has been destroyed, when suddenly Vasco de Gama appears before
the assembled council of state.

He eloquently describes the dangers of the unknown seas near the Cape
and gives an account of the shipwreck, from which he alone has escaped.
He then places his maps before the council, endeavouring to prove, that
beyond Africa there is another country, yet to be explored and
conquered.

Vasco has on his way home picked up a man and a woman of an unknown
race.  Those slaves however stubbornly refuse to betray the name of
their country, and a lively debate ensues between the Grand Inquisitor
and the younger more enlightened members of the council, as to the
course, which should be adopted with Vasco.  At last, owing to {5} the
irritation caused by his violent reproaches, fanaticism is victorious,
and instead of being furnished with a ship to explore those unknown
lands, he is thrown into prison, on the plea of his being a heretic,
for having maintained the existence of countries which were not
mentioned in the Holy Scriptures.

The second act takes place in a cell of the Inquisition, in which Vasco
has been languishing for a month past, in the company of the strange
slaves Nelusco and Selica.  The latter has lost her heart to the proud
Portuguese, who saved her and her companion from a slave-ship.  But
Vasco is only thinking of Ines, and Nelusco, who honors in Selica not
only his Queen, but the woman of his love, tries to stab Vasco--the
Christian, whom he hates with a deadly hatred.  Selica hinders him and
rouses the sleeping Vasco, who has been dreaming of and planning his
voyage to the unknown country.

Selica now shows him on the map the way to her native isle, and he vows
her eternal gratitude.  His liberty is indeed near at hand, for hardly
has he given his vow, than Ines steps in to announce that Vasco is
free.  She has paid dearly for her lover's deliverance however, for she
has given her hand to Vasco's rival Don Pedro, who, having got all
Vasco's plans and maps, is commissioned by government, to set out on
the voyage of discovery.

Ines has been told, that Vasco has forgotten her for Selica the slave.
In order to prove his fidelity, our ungrateful hero immediately
presents {6} her with the two slaves, and Don Pedro resolves to make
use of them for his exploration.

In the third act we are on board of Don Pedro's ship in the Indian
seas.  Donna Ines is with her husband and Nelusco has been appointed
pilot.  Don Alvar, a member of the council and Don Pedro's friend,
warns the latter, that Nelusco is meditating treason, for they have
already lost two ships; but Pedro disregards the warning.  A typhoon
arises, and Nelusco turns the ship again northward.  But Vasco has
found means to follow them on a small sailing vessel; he overtakes them
and knowing the spot well where Diaz was shipwrecked, he entreats them
to change their course, his only thought being Donna Ines' safety.  But
Pedro, delighted to have his rival in his power, orders him to be bound
and shot.  Ines hearing his voice, invokes her husband's mercy.  Just
then the tempest breaks out, the vessel strikes upon a rock and the
cannibals inhabiting the neighboring country leap on board to liberate
their Queen Selica and to massacre the whole crew, in the fulfilment of
which intention they are however arrested by Selica.

In the following acts Selica resides as Queen on the Isle of
Madagascar.  The people render her homage, but her priests demand the
strangers' lives as a sacrifice to their gods, while the women are
condemned to inhale the poisoned perfume of the Manzanillo-tree.--In
order to save Vasco Selica proclaims him her husband and takes Nelusco
{7} as witness, swearing to him that if Vasco is sacrificed she will
die with him.  Nelusco, whose love for his Queen is greater even than
his hatred for Vasco, vouches for their being man and wife, and the
people now proceed to celebrate the solemn rites of marriage.

Vasco, at last recognizing Selica's great love, and believing Ines
dead, once more vows eternal fidelity to her, but alas, hearing the
voice of Ines, who is about to be led to death, he turns pale and
Selica but too truly divines the reason.

In the fifth act Selica is resolved to put her rival to death.  She
sends for her, but perceiving Ines' love, her wrath vanishes, her
magnanimity soars above her hatred of the Christians, and she orders
Nelusco to bring Ines and Vasco on board of a ship about to sail for
Portugal.

Selica herself, unable to endure life without her beloved-one, proceeds
to the Cape, where the Manzanillo-tree spreads his poisonous
shade.--Her eyes fastened on the vast ocean and on the white sail of
the retiring vessel, she inhales the sweet but deadly perfume of the
blossoms and the returning Nelusco finds her dying, while an unseen
chorus consoles her with the thought that in Love's eternal domain all
are equal.



{8}

AIDA.

Grand romantic Opera in four acts by GIUSEPPE VERDI.

Text by ANTONIO GHISLANZONI.  Translated into German by S. SCHANZ.
English version by KENNEY.


This opera owes its great popularity not only to its brilliant music
and skilful instrumentation, but also to its really magnificent outfit
and decorations.  Aida ranks among the best operas of Verdi.  The plot
is taken from old Egypt; and the music, with its eastern and somewhat
sensuous coloring is exquisitely adapted to the scenery.

The scene of action is alternately Memphis and Thebes and the story
belongs to the period when the Pharaohs sat on the throne.

In the first act we see the King's palace at Memphis.  Ramphis, the
Highpriest of Pharaoh announces to the Egyptian General Radames, that
the Ethiopians are in revolt and that the goddess Isis has decided who
shall be leader of the army sent out against them.  Radames secretly
hopes to be the elected, in order to win the Ethiopian slave Aida, whom
he loves, not knowing that she is a King's daughter.

Enter Amneris, daughter of Pharaoh.  She loves Radames without his
knowledge and so does Aida.  Amneris, suspecting this, swears to avenge
herself, should her suspicion prove correct.

The King's messenger announces, that Amonasro, the Ethiopian King
(Aida's father), is marching to the capital, and that Radames is chosen
to conquer the foe.  Radames goes to the temple {9} to invoke the
benediction of the goddess and to receive the sacred arms.

In the second act Amneris, in order to test Aida's feelings, tells her,
that Radames fell in battle, and finds her doubts confirmed by Aida's
terror.  Amneris openly threatens her rival, and both hasten to receive
the soldiers, who return victorious.  In Radames' suite walks King
Amonasro, who has been taken prisoner, disguised as a simple officer.
Aida recognizes her father, and Amonasro telling his conqueror, that
the Ethiopian King has fallen, implores his clemency.  Radames, seeing
Aida in tears, adds his entreaties to those of the Ethiopian; and
Pharaoh decides to set the prisoners free, with the exception of Aida's
father, who is to stay with his daughter.  Pharaoh then gives Amneris
to Radames as a recompense for his services.

In the third act Amonasro has discovered the mutual love of his
daughter and Radames and resolves to make use of it.  While Amneris
prays in the temple that her bridegroom may give his whole heart to
her, Amonasro bids his daughter discover the secret of the Egyptian
warplans from her lover.  Amonasro hides himself, and Aida has an
interview with Radames, in which he reveals all to her.  She persuades
him to fly with her, when Amonasro shows himself, telling him that he
has heard all and confessing that he is the Ethiopian King.  While they
are speaking, Amneris overtakes and denounces them.  Amonasro {10}
escapes with his daughter, Radames remains in the hand of Ramphis, the
Highpriest.

In the fourth act Radames is visited in his cell by Amneris, who
promises to save him from the awful death of being buried alive, if he
renounces Aida.  But Radames refuses, though she tells him, that Aida
has fled into her country, her father being slain on their flight.

Amneris at length regrets her jealousy and repents, but too late!
Nothing can save Radames, and she is obliged to see him led into his
living tomb.  Amneris curses the priests, who close the subterranean
vaults with a rock.  Radames, preparing himself for death, discovers
Aida by his side.  She has found means to penetrate into his tomb,
resolved to die with her lover.

While she sinks into his arms, Amneris prays outside for Radames' peace
and eternal happiness.



ALESSANDRO STRADELLA.

Romantic Opera in three acts by FLOTOW.

Text after the French by W. FRIEDRICH.


Flotow, who composed this little opera when at Paris in the year 1844,
that is long before his Martha, had the satisfaction of scoring a great
success on the evening of its first representation in Hamburg.  The
pleasant impression then made by its agreeable and lovely melodies has
not faded the less that, after hearing many of our stormy and exciting
modern operas, one often and ardently {11} longs for the restful charm
and guileless pleasure of a piece like this.

The libretto is interesting and touching, without being
over-sensational.

Stradella, the celebrated Venetian singer has fallen in love with
Leonore, ward of a rich Venetian citizen named Bassi.  She returns his
love, but is strictly guarded by her uncle, who wants to marry her
himself.  Stradella succeeds in deceiving Bassi and aided by his friend
carries her off during the Carnival.  In the second act we find the
lovers in a little village near Rome, where a priest unites them for
ever and gives them his benediction.

But Malvolio, a bandit, has sought them by Bassi's orders, and
discovers their refuge.  Entering the villa, where he finds open doors
but no people, he meets with another bandit, in whom he recognizes his
friend Barbarino, also sent as it turns out on the same errand.

They decide to do the business together, that is to say: to kill
Stradella, and to carry his wife back to her guardian.  Under the mask
of pilgrims going to a sacred festival, they find a kindly shelter in
Stradella's house and are won by the latter's fine voice, as well as by
the charm of his noble behaviour, so that they wholly abandon their
evil purpose.

But in the third act Bassi appears, and not finding his order executed,
offers such a large sum of gold to the banditti, that they at length
promise to stab Stradella during his next singing performance.  While
they lie-in-wait for him, Stradella sings the {12} hymn of the Holy
Virgin's clemency towards sinners so touchingly, that his pursuers cast
their swords away and sink on their knees, joining in the refrain.
Full of astonishment Stradella learns of the danger in which he had
been, but in the end he willingly pardons not only the banditti but
also his wife's uncle, who, won over like the ruffians by the power of
Stradella's song, humbly asks for the Singer's friendship, which is
granted to him.

The people lead their favorite in triumph to the festival, which he
helps to glorify with his wondrous voice.



ARMIDA.

Grand heroic Opera in five acts by GLUCK.

Text by PHIL. QUINAULT.


The poet Quinault wrote the libretto of this opera for another
composer, Lully, but almost one hundred years later, Gluck, recognizing
the genuine richness of this French production, availed himself of it
for an opera, the music of which is so sublime, that it will for ever
be considered classic.

The libretto is founded on an episode of Tasso's "Gerusalemme liberata".

The scene is laid in Damascus, where during the Crusade of the year
1099, the Crusaders have arrived at the place and gardens of Armida,
the Queen and enchantress.  Rinaldo, the greatest hero in Godfrey of
Bouillon's army, is the only one, who not only does not stoop
[Transcriber's note: stop?] to adore the beautiful Armida, but on the
contrary pursues and hates her.  {13} He has been banished from
Bouillon's presence charged with the rash deed of another knight, who
has not dared to confess his guilt and he now wanders lonely in the
forest.

Warned by a fellow-warrior, Artemidor, to avoid Armida's enchanting
presence he scorns the warning, saying that love for a woman is to him
a thing unknown.  In reality however Armida is already ensnaring him
with her sorcery, he presently hears exquisitely sweet and dreamy
melodies and finding himself in a soft, green valley, he lies down and
falls asleep.

Armida's opportunity has come and she means to stab him, but love
conquers hatred and the dagger sinks from her hand.  She vainly invokes
the furies of hate; none can change her passion for the hero and at
last, ceasing to strive against her tender feelings, she surrenders
herself entirely to him and even succeeds by her charms and her
devotion in enthralling him.  Meanwhile Bouillon has sent two of his
knights, Ubalt and a Danish warrior, to recall Rinaldo to his duty.
They are detained by Armida's witchery; the Danish knight meets a
demon, who has taken his bride's face and tenderly calls him to her,
but Ubalt destroys the charm and both succeed in approaching Rinaldo,
who, his love-dream dissipated by the call of honor, resolves to return
to the army with his companions.  In vain Armida tries to change his
resolution.  In despair she curses him and her love, but being unable
to kill the man she loves, she suffers him to go away and turns her
beautiful place and gardens into a desert.



{14}

DER WAFFENSCHMIED.

(THE ARMORER.)

Comic Opera in three acts by ALBERT LORTZING.

Text by himself.


Though this opera does not equal in value Lortzing's "Czar and
Zimmermann", it has nevertheless proved an admirable addition to the
operatic repertory.  It is attractive both on account of the freshness
of its melodies and the popular character of its music and text.

The scene is located in Worms, in the 16th century.  The Count of
Liebenau has fallen in love with Mary, the daughter of a celebrated
armorer, named Stadinger, and in order to win her, he woos her at first
in his own rank as Count, then in the guise of a smith-journeyman,
named Conrad.  Mary, who cannot permit herself to think of love in
connection with a person of such a position as a Count, nevertheless
pities him and at last confesses blushing, that she loves the poor
smith Conrad.  Inwardly triumphant, the Count pretends to be jealous.
But father Stadinger, who more than once showed the door to the Count,
will not accept either of the suitors, the Count standing too high
above him, and his journeyman, Conrad, being too bad a laborer, though
he has once saved Mary's life.

In order to withdraw her from the reach of her lovers, the armorer
resolves to wed his daughter to his second journeyman George, who is no
other than the Count's valet.  Stadinger is determined to {15} present
him as Mary's bridegroom on the occasion of a festival, which is to
take place in the course of the afternoon, and on which Stadinger's
jubilee as master of armorers is to be celebrated.  In vain George
refuses his consent to this proposal.  He is at length obliged to
inform the Count and the latter feigns to assault Stadinger's house.
But it is of no avail; the old citizen, more firm than ever, denies him
his child again, and as George decidedly refuses to marry his daughter,
he gives her at last to Conrad.  Great is Mary's surprise and her
father's wrath, when they discover that the Count and simple Conrad are
one and the same person, but at last the old father yields, and the
lovers receive his benediction.



BALLO IN MASCHERA

or

GUSTAVUS THE THIRD.

Grand historic Opera in five acts by AUBER.

Text by SCRIBE.


This opera has had a curious fate, its historical background having
excited resistance and given rise to scruples.  The murder of a king
was not thought a fit subject for an opera, and so the libretto was
altered and spoilt.

The Italians simply changed the names and the scene of action; Verdi
composed a new opera from the same matter and succeeded admirably;
nevertheless Auber's composition is preferred in Germany, Scribe's
libretto being by far the better, {16} while the music is original and
vivacious as well as full of pleasant harmony and fine instrumentation.

The scene is laid in Stockholm in the year 1792.  Gustavus the Third,
King of Sweden, loves the wife of his friend and counsellor Ankarstroem,
and is loved in return, both struggling vainly against this sinful
passion.  Ankarstroem has detected a plot against the King's life, and
warning him, asks that the traitor be punished, but Gustavus refuses to
listen, trusting in his people and in his friend's fidelity.  His
minister Kaulbart desires him to condemn a sorceress named Arvedson,
who is said to be able at will by means of certain herbs and potions to
cause persons to love or hate each other.  The king refuses to banish
the woman unheard and decides to visit her.  Ankarstroem tries to
dissuade, but the King insists, and accordingly goes to Arvedson in
disguise.  During the witch's conjuration Malwina, his lady-love
appears, who seeks help from the sorceress against her forbidden
passion.  The concealed King hears Arvedson tell her to go at midnight
and gather a herb, which grows on the graves of criminals, and
triumphant in his knowledge of Malwina's confessed love, Gustavus
decides to follow her there.

When she has gone, he mockingly orders the witch to tell him his
fortune, and hears from her that he shall be killed by the man, who
first tenders him his hand.  Just then Ankarstroem who comes to protect
the King against his enemy, enters and they shake hands.

{17}

In the third act Malwina meets the King on the dismal spot, to which
she had been directed, but Ankarstroem, whose watchful fidelity never
suffers him to be far from the King, and who is utterly ignorant of the
deception being practised upon him, saves the lovers from further
guilt.  After a severe conflict with himself, Gustavus consents to fly
in his friend's cloak, Ankarstroem having pledged his honor not to ask
the veiled lady's secret, and to conduct her safely back to the city.
This plan is frustrated by the conspirators, who rush in and are about
to attack the Count.  Malwina throws herself between him and the
combatants, and the husband then recognizes in the King's companion his
own wife.  Full of indignation he turns from her and joins the
conspirators, promising to be one of them.

He swears to kill his unhappy wife, but not until another has first
fallen.

In the fourth act the conspirators have a meeting in Ankarstroem's
house, where they decide to murder the King.  The lots being cast, the
duty to strike the death-blow falls on Ankarstroem, and Malwina herself
draws the fatal paper.  At this moment an invitation to a masked ball
is brought by the King's page Oscar, and the conspirators resolve to
take advantage of this opportunity for the execution of their design.

In the last act the King, happy to know Malwina safe from discovery,
resolves to sacrifice his love to honor and friendship.  He is about to
give Ankarstroem the proof of his friendship, by naming {18} him
governor of Finland, and the minister is to depart with his wife on the
morning after the ball.  Meanwhile the King is warned by a missive from
an unknown hand, not to appear at the ball, but he disregards it.  He
meets Malwina at the ball.  His page, thinking to do the King a
service, has betrayed his mask to Ankarstroem.  Malwina warns the
prince, but in vain, for while he presents her with the paper, which is
to send her and her husband to their own beloved country, Ankarstroem
shoots him through the heart.  Gustavus dies, pardoning his murderer.



THE BARBER OF BAGDAD.

Comic Opera in two acts by PETER CORNELIUS.


It took a long time, before this charming little Opera took its place
amongst so many fellow operas much less entitled to notice.  The
composer had died 15 years previously, without having gained the
success he so fully deserved, as poet as well as composer.

Liszt, the great redeemer of many a tried genius brought the opera upon
the stage on the 15th of December 1858 in Weimar.

But the Intendant Dingelstedt was against him, the opera proved an
entire failure, though it was meant more as demonstration against Liszt
than against the opera.  Liszt, tired of these disgraceful intrigues,
quitted Weimar, only to return there from time to time in private.
With his abdication {19} Weimar's glorious time was passed.  In 1889 at
last the Barber of Bagdad took its rightful place after many years of
oblivion.

Munich, Mannheim and Vienna came first and the music having been
enthusiastically applauded, Dresden followed the good example in
October 1890.  The music is full of sweet melody, the composition
masterfully set.  Its comic parts are not quite natural, but the lyric
is almost classical and the text, written by the composer himself,
though lacking in action, shows, that Cornelius was a true poet as well
as a true musician.

The scene takes place in Bagdad, in the house of a wealthy young
Mussulman, called Nurredin.  He is lying on a couch, surrounded by his
servants, who think him dying.  But it is only the flame of love which
devours his strength and deprives him of all energy.--As soon as
Bostana, an old relative and companion of his ladylove, appears, in
order to tell him that Margiana, his adored, is willing to receive him,
Nurredin forgets his illness and only longs for the promised interview.
The ensuing duet between him and Bostana, wherein she gives instruction
about time and hour of the rendez-vous, is delightfully fresh and
piquant.

As Nurredin has neglected his personal appearance during his malady,
his first wish is for a barber, who is speedily sent to him by
Bostana.--This old worthy Abul Hassan Ali Ebe Bekar the barber makes
him desperate by his vain prattle.  Having solemnly saluted to
Nurredin, he warns him not to {20} leave the house to-day, as his
horoscope tells him that his life is in danger.  The young man not
heeding him, Abul Hassan begins to enumerate all his talents as
astrologer, philologer, philosopher, &c., in short he is everything and
knows everything.  When Nurredin orders him to begin his shaving he
relates the fate of his six brothers, who all died before him and
always of love.  At last Nurredin's patience giving way, he calls his
servants in to throw the old dotard out of doors.  But Abul drives them
all back and Nurredin tries to pacify him with flattery and finally
succeeds.

Now Abul is curious as all barbers are, and having heard Nurredin's
sighs, he determines to find out all about the young man's love.  This
scene is most ludicrous, when Abul sings his air "Margiana", which name
he has heard from Nurredin's lips, and the latter is in despair at
being left with only one side of his head shaved.  This great work done
at last, Abul wants to accompany the young lover to the house of the
Cadi Baba Mustapha, Margiana's father.  Nurredin again summons his
servants, who begin to surround Abul, pretending to doctor him.
Nurredin escapes, but Abul after having shaken off the servants, runs
after him.

The second act takes place in the Cadi's house.

Margiana is full of sweet anticipation, while her father, who has
already chosen a husband for his daughter in the person of an old
friend of his youth, shows her a large trunk full of gifts from the old
bridegroom.  Margiana admires them {21} obediently.  A musical scene of
surpassing beauty follows, where we hear the call of the Muezzin
summoning the faithful to prayer.  It is also the sign for Nurredin to
appear.  The Cadi hurries to the Mosque and Bostana introduces the
lover.  Here ensues a charming love-duet, accompanied, originally
enough, by a song from the old barber, who watches before the house.
Suddenly they are interrupted by cries of alarm, and with dismay they
learn from Bostana, that the Cadi has returned to punish a slave, who
has broken a precious vase.

Nurredin, unable to escape unobserved, is hidden in the big trunk.
Meanwhile Abul, having heard the slave's cries and mistaking them for
Nurredin's, summons the latter's servants and breaks into the Cadi's
house to avenge his young friend, whom he believes to be murdered.
Bostana angrily bids him carry away the trunk signifying to him whom
she has hidden in it, but the Cadi intervenes, believing the servants
to be thieves who want to rob his daughter's treasure.  The rumor of
the murder gradually penetrates the whole town; its inhabitants gather
before the house, and the appointed wailing-women mingle their doleful
lamentations with the general uproar.  At last the Calif himself
appears in order to settle the quarrel.

The Cadi accuses the barber of theft, while Abul calls the Cadi a
murderer.--To throw light upon the matter, the Calif orders the trunk
to be opened, which is done with great hesitation by {22} Margiana.
When the lid gives way Nurredin is lying in it in a deep swoon.  All
are terrified believing him to be murdered, but Abul, caressing him,
declares that his heart still throbs.  The Calif bids the barber show
his art, and Abul wakens Nurredin by the love-song to Margiana.  The
young man revives and the truth dawns upon the deceived father's mind.
The Calif, a very humane and clement prince, feels great sympathy with
the beautiful young couple, and advises the Cadi to let his daughter
have her treasure, because he had told them himself, that it was
Margiana's treasure, kept hidden in the trunk.

The Cadi consents, while the Calif bids the funny barber come to his
palace to entertain him with his stories, and invites all present to
the wedding of the betrothed pair, to the great satisfaction of the
people, who sing their Salam Aleikum in praise of their Prince,--a
brilliant finale, full of energy and melody.--



IL BARBIERE DI SEVIGLIA.

Comic Opera in two acts by ROSSINI.


This opera may be called a miracle of Rossini's creation, as it not
only is his best work, but was written by him in a fortnight, a
performance nearly incredible, for the music is so finely worked out,
and so elegant, that the opera has grown to be a favorite with all
nations.

The subject, taken from Beaumarchais' witty trilogy of "Figaros" had
ere this lent inspiration {23} to more than one composer; Mozart's
"Figaro", though done before the "Barbiere" is in a certain sense the
continuation of Rossini's opera.

The Barbiere had the peculiar misfortune, to experience an utter
reverse on the occasion of its first representation.  It was composed
for the Duke Cesarini, proprietor of the Argentina theatre in Rome, and
the cabals and intrigues of Paesiello's partisans (who had composed the
same subject) turned the balance in Rossini's disfavor.  But on the
second evening good taste prevailed, and since then the opera has been
a universal favorite.

Beaumarchais' tale was worked out anew by the Roman poet, Sterbini; in
our opera it runs as follows:

Count Almaviva is enamoured of Rosina, the ward of Doctor Bartolo.  She
is most jealously guarded by the old man, who wishes to make her his
own wife.  In vain the Count serenades her; she does not appear, and he
must needs invent some other means of obtaining his object.  Making the
acquaintance of the lighthearted and cunning barber Figaro, the latter
advises him to get entrance into Bartolo's house in the guise of a
soldier possessing a billet of quartering for his lodgings.  Rosina
herself has not failed to hear the sweet love-songs of the Count, known
to her only under the simple name of Lindoro; and with southern
passion, and the lightheartedness, which characterizes all the persons
who figure in this opera, but which is not to be mistaken for
frivolity, Rosina loves her nice lover {24} and is willing to be his
own.  Figaro has told her of Almaviva's love, and in return she gives
him a note, which she has written in secret.  But the old Doctor is a
sly fox, he has seen the inky little finger, and determines to keep his
eyes open.

When the Count appears in the guise of a half-drunken dragoon, the
Doctor sends Rosina away, and tries to put the soldier out of the
house, pretending to have a license against all billets.  The Count
resists, and while Bartolo seeks for his license, makes love to Rosina,
but after the Doctor's return there arises such an uproar, that all the
neighbors and finally the guards appear, who counsel the Count to
retire for once.

In the second act the Count gains entrance to Bartolo's house as a
singing-master who is deputed to give a lesson instead of the
feverstricken Basilio.  Of course the music-lesson is turned into a
love-lesson.

When all seems to be going well, the real Maestro, Basilio, enters and
all but frustrates their plans.  With gold and promises Figaro bribes
him to retreat, and the lovers agree to flee on the coming night.

Almost at the last moment the cunning of Bartolo hinders the projected
elopement, he shows a letter, which Rosina has written, and makes
Rosina believe that her lover, whom she only knows as Lindoro, in
concert with Figaro is betraying her to the Count.  Great is her joy,
when she detects, that Lindoro and Count Almaviva are one and the {25}
same person, and that he loves her as truly as ever.--They bribe the
old notary, who has been sent for by Bartolo to arrange his own
(Bartolo's) wedding with Rosina.  Bartolo signs the contract of
marriage, with Figaro as witness, and detects too late that he has been
duped, and that he has himself united the lovers.  At last he submits
with pretty good grace to the inevitable, and contents himself with
Rosina's dowry, which the Count generously transfers to him.



BENVENUTO CELLINI.

Opera in three acts by HECTOR BERLIOZ.

Text by de WAILLY and BARRIER, translated into German by PETER
CORNELIUS.


This opera by the spirited French musician has had a singular fate.
Composed more than forty years ago it never had the success it merited
in France; a "succes d'estime" was the only result.  Liszt, who was the
saviour of many a talented struggler was the first to recognize the
genius of the French composer.  He brought the opera out upon the stage
at Weimar, but without much success.  Berlioz was not understood by the
public.  Devrient in Carlsruhe tried a similar experiment and failed,
and so the opera was almost forgotten, until Germany, remembering the
duty owed to genius of whatever nationality it may be, placed it upon
the stage in Dresden, on the 4th of Nov. 1888 under the leadership of
one of the ablest of modern interpreters of music, Director
Schuch.--Its representation was {26} a triumph.  Though Berlioz can in
nowise be compared with Wagner, whose music is much more realistic and
sensuous Wagner may nevertheless be said to have opened a path for
Berlioz' style, which, though melodious differs widely from that of the
easy flowing Italian school, being more serious as well as more
difficult for the musical novice to understand.  This explains, why
Berlioz' compatriots esteemed, but never liked him; he was too
scientific.  To-day our ears and understanding are better prepared for
striking intervals and complicated orchestration, which latter is the
most brilliant feature in the opera.

Indeed the instrumentation is simply perfect, the choruses are
master-pieces of originality, life and melody, and the rythm with its
syncopes, is so remarkable, that one is more than justified in calling
the style unique; it is Berlioz and no other.

The text is far less good than the music, though the hero, whose life
Goethe found worthy of description in the 24th and 25th volume of his
works, might well interest.--The libretto is by no means strictly
historical, and suffers from improbabilities, which can only be excused
in an opera.

The tale is laid in Rome in the year 1532 under Pope Clement VII, and
comprises the events of three days, Monday before Shrove-tide,
Shrove-Tuesday and Ash-Wednesday.--Benvenuto Cellini, the Tuscan
goldsmith has been called to Rome by the Pope, in order to embellish
the city with his {27} masterpieces.  He loves Teresa, the daughter of
the old papal treasurer Balducci, and the love is mutual.--At the same
time another suitor, Fieramosca, the Pope's sculptor, is favored by her
father.  Old Balducci grumbles in the first scene at the Pope's
predilection for Cellini, declaring that such an excellent sculptor as
Fieramosca ought to suffice.  He goes for a walk and Cellini finds
Teresa alone.  To save her from Fieramosca he plans an elopement,
selecting the close of the Carnival as the time best suited for
carrying out their design.  The rendez-vous is to be the Piazza di
Colonna, where he will wait for her, disguised as a monk in white,
accompanied by a Capuchin, his pupil Ascanio.--Unhappily the rival
Fieramosca has entered unseen, and overheard all.  The ensuing terzetto
is a masterpiece.  While the lovers are bidding each-other farewell
Balducci returns; and Cellini has scarcely time to hide behind the
window-curtain before he enters.  The father is surprised to find his
daughter still up and Teresa, seeking for an excuse to send him away,
feigns to be frightened by a thief in her chamber.  There Balducci
finds the hapless Fieramosca hidden and Cellini meanwhile escapes.
Balducci and his daughter calling for help, all the female servants and
women of the neighborhood appear armed with brooms and wooden spoons.
They fall upon the hapless lover and finally force him to escape
through the window.

In the second act we find Cellini in a tavern with his pupils and
friends.  They have no money {28} left to pay for their wine, when
Ascanio brings gold from the Pope, which however he only delivers after
Cellini has given a solemn promise to finish at once the statue of
Perseus he is engaged upon.  Great is the general wrath, when they find
the money consist of but a paltry sum, and they resolve to avenge
themselves on the avaricious treasurer Balducci, by personating him in
the theatre.  Fieramosca, who has again been eaves-dropping turns for
help to his friend Pompeo, a bravo.--And they decide to outwit Cellini,
by adopting the same costumes as he and his pupil.

The scene changes; we see the Piazza di Colonna and the theatre, in
which the pantomime of King Midas is acted.  Balducci who is there with
his daughter among the spectators recognizes in the snoring King a
portrait of himself and furiously advances to grapple with him.
Cellini profits by the ensuing tumult to approach Teresa, but at the
same time Fieramosca comes up with Pompeo, and Teresa cannot discern
which is the true lover, owing to the masks.--A fight ensues, in which
Cellini stabs Pompeo.  He is arrested and Teresa flies with the
Capuchin Ascanio to Cellini's atelier.  The enraged people are about to
lynch the murderer, when three cannon shots are fired announcing that
it is Ash-Wednesday; the lights are extinguished and Cellini escapes in
the darkness.

The third act represents Cellini's atelier with the workmen in it.
Teresa, not finding her lover is in great distress.  Ascanio consoles
her, and {29} when the Miserere of the Penitents is heard, both join in
the prayer to the Holy Virgin.

Suddenly Cellini rushes in, and embracing Teresa, relates that he fled
the night before into a house.  A procession of penitent monks passing
by in the morning, he joined them, as their white cowls were similar to
his own disguise.  He decides to escape at once to Florence with
Teresa, but is already pursued by Balducci, who appears with Fieramosca
and insists on his daughter's returning and marrying the latter.  At
this moment the Cardinal Salviati steps in to look for the statue.  He
is highly indignant, that Cellini, thoughtless like all artists, has
not kept his promise.  Hearing him moreover accused by Balducci, he
threatens severe punishment and finally declares that Perseus shall be
cast by another.--Cellini in the pride of genius and full of rage
seizes a hammer, and, surrounded by his workmen declares, that he will
rather destroy his work than see it finished by another.

The Cardinal, overcome by fear of the loss, changes his tactics, and in
compliance with Cellini's request promises him full pardon and Teresa's
hand, if he finishes Perseus in an hour's time, as Cellini offers to
do.--Should he fail in his gigantic task, his life will be forfeit.

All set to work at once; even Fieramosca at the Cardinal's request
assists.  More and more metal is demanded; Cellini sacrifices all his
masterpieces in gold and silver.  At last the casting is completed,
Cellini breaks the mould and the statue {30} of Perseus shines
faultlessly forth, a wonder of art, a thing of glory bringing
immortality to its maker.  All present bend before the greatness of
genius and Fieramosca, the rival in art and love is the first to kiss
and embrace Cellini, who obtains full pardon and the hand of Teresa
along with her father's blessing.



BY ORDER OF HIS HIGHNESS

(AUF HOHEN BEFEHL.)

Comic Opera in three acts by CARL REINECKE.

Text by the composer after RIEHL's novel: "Ovidius at Court."


Reinecke of Leipzig is known both as excellent pianist and composer of
no ordinary talent.  The Dresden theatre has been one of the first to
put the new opera upon its boards and with regard to the music, the
expectations entertained have been fully realised.

It is true music, melodious and beautiful.  Reinecke's musical language
free, untrammelled and suggestive, only assumes decided form in the
character of a song, or when several voices are united.  The
instrumentation is very interesting and the popular melody remarkably
well characterized.

So he introduces for instance the wellknown popular song: "Kein Feuer,
keine Kohle" (no fire, no coal can burn) with the most exquisite
variations.

The libretto is not as perfect as the music, being rather improbable.

A little German Residential Capital of the last century forms the
background to the picture.

{31}

Franz, the son of the Organist Ignaz Laemml, introduces himself to Dal
Segno, the celebrated Italian singing-master as the Bohemian singer
Howora.  He obtains lessons from the capricious old man, who however
fails to recognize in him the long-absent son of his old enemy.
Cornelia, Dal Segno's daughter however is not so slow in recognizing
the friend of her childhood, who loves her and has all her love, as we
presently learn.  Franz has only taken the name of Howora, in order to
get into favor with the maiden's father, an endeavour in which he
easily succeeds owing to his musical talents.

Meanwhile the Prince is determined to have an opera composed from
Ovid's metamorphoses.  He has chosen Pyramus and Thisbe, but as the
Princess is of a very gay disposition, a request is made that the
tragedy have a happy solution, a whim which puts old pedantic Laemml
quite out of sorts.

In the second act Louis, one of the princely lackeys, brings a large
cracknel and huge paper-cornet of sweets for Cornelia, whom he courts
and whose favor he hopes in this way to win.

When he is gone, Dal Segno's sister Julia, lady's maid to the Princess,
enters with birthday-presents for her niece Cornelia, and among the
things which attract her attentions sees the cracknel, beside which she
finds a note from her own faithless lover Louis.  Filled with righteous
indignation she takes it away.

Cornelia stepping out to admire her {32} birthday-presents, meets
Franz, and after a tender scene, the young man tells his lady-love,
that he has been fortunate enough to invent for his father a happy
issue to the tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe, and that they may now hope
the best from the grateful old master.

Meanwhile good old Laemml himself appears to ask his old enemy Dal
Segno to give singing-lessons to his dear son.  The Italian teacher is
very rude and ungracious, Laemml's blood rises also and a fierce
quarrel ensues, which is interrupted by the arrival of the Prince.
Having heard their complaints, he decides that the quarrel is to be
settled by a singing competition in which Howora, Dal Segno's new and
greatly praised pupil, and Franz, Laemml's son, are to contest for the
laurels.  Both masters are content and decide on a duet for tenor and
soprano.  This is a happy choice and Franz, who with Cornelia has heard
everything, causes his lady-love to disguise herself, in order to play
the part of Franz, while he decides to appear as Howora.

In the third act the Princess receives old Laemml, who comes to tell
her, that he has complied with her wishes as to the happy issue of the
tale and confides to her his son's secret, that Franz and Howora are
one and the same person.--The gracious Princess promises her
assistance, and Laemml leaves her very happy, dancing and merry-making
with the Prince's fool.--

In the evening Louis finds Julia attired in {33} Cornelia's dress, and
believing her to be her niece, he places a ring on her finger and once
more pledges his faith to his old love.

The two singers perform their duet so perfectly, that Laemml, uncertain
who will obtain the prize begs for a solo.  Each-one then sings a
popular song (Volkslied), and all agree that Howora has triumphed.  The
happy victor is crowned with the laurels.  But the Princess, touched by
the sweet voice of the other singer puts a rose-wreath on his brow.
When the cap is taken off, Dal Segno perceives that the pretended Franz
has the curls of his own daughter.--Howora being presented to him as
Laemml's son, he can do no other than yield.  He embraces old Laemml
and gives his benediction to the lovers.



CARLO BROSCHI

or

THE DEVIL'S PART.

Comic Opera in three acts by AUBER.

Text by SCRIBE.


This composition might rather be called a Vaudeville with musical
accompaniment, than an opera.  The music is not above mediocrity,
though we find many pleasing and even exquisite melodies in it.  That
it has held its present place on the stage for the past forty years is
due principally to its excellent libretto, which is full of comical and
ingenious situations.  The principal role is given to Carlo Broschi.
He is no other than the famous {34} singer Farinelli, who as a matter
of fact did heal a Spanish King from madness, though it was not
Ferdinand IV, but his predecessor Philip V, the husband of Elizabeth of
Ferrara.  Notwithstanding these anachronisms the libretto ranks with
the best.

Carlo Broschi has placed his only sister Casilda in a convent near
Madrid, to save her from the persecutions of the clergy, who have been
trying for reasons of their own to give the beautiful maiden to the
King.  Casilda confesses to her brother that she is in love with an
unknown cavalier, who entertains a like passion for her, but Carlo, a
poor minstrel, considers that his sister, a milliner, does not stand
high enough in the social scale to permit a lawful union with a
nobleman.

Carlo meets the King accidentally.  He has fallen into deep melancholy,
and Carlo succeeds in cheering him by singing an old romance, which he
learnt from his mother.  Both King and Queen are full of gratitude, and
Carlo soon finds himself at court and loaded with honors.  In his new
position he meets with Raphael d'Estuniga, Casilda's lover.

In despair at having lost his lady-love he is about to appeal to the
Devil for help, when Carlo appears, presenting himself as Satan.  He
promises his help on condition that Raphael shall give him one half of
all his winnings.  This is a condition easily accepted, and Raphael is
made a Court Official through Carlo's influence.

Meanwhile the clergy vainly try to ensnare the King again; Carlo is
like his better self; he {35} disperses his Sire's melancholy by
singing to him and rekindles his interest in government.

Raphael, feeling quite secure in his league with the Devil, begins to
play; he is fortunate, but Carlo never fails to claim the share, which
is willingly surrendered to him.

All at once Casilda appears on the scene to put herself under the
protection of her brother, the priests having found out her refuge.
She recognizes the King, and tells her brother that it was he, to whom
she was taken against her will.  The King believes her to be a ghost
and his reason threatens to give way, but Carlo assures him that the
girl is living.  The Queen, who knows nothing of her husband's secret,
here interrupts the conversation and bids Carlo follow her.

Meanwhile Raphael and Casilda have an interview, but the King comes
suddenly upon them and at once orders Raphael to be put to death, the
latter having failed in the reverence due to his Sovereign.  Raphael
however trusting in the Devil's help does not let his spirits sink and
Carlo actually saves him by telling the King, that Casilda is Raphael's
wife.

But the Grand-Inquisitor succeeds in discovering this untruth, and in
exciting the King's anger against his favorite.  Carlo, much
embarrassed, obtains an interview with the King, and confessing the
whole truth assures him, that the Queen knows as yet nothing and
implores him to give his thoughts and his affections once more to her
and to his country.  {36} The King, touched to generosity, gives his
benediction to the lovers, together with a new title for Raphael, who
is henceforth to be called Count of Puycerda.  Now at last Raphael
learns that the so-called Devil is his bride's brother, who tells him
that this time his share lies in making two lovers happy, a share which
gives him both pleasure and content.



CARMEN.

Opera in four acts by GEORGE BIZET.


This opera is essentially Spanish.  The music throughout has a southern
character and is passionate and original to a high degree.

Carmen, the heroine is a Spanish gipsy, fickle and wayward, but endowed
with all the wild graces of her nation.  She is adored by her people,
and so it is not to be wondered at, that she has many of the stronger
sex at her feet.  She is betrothed to Don Jose, a brigadier of the
Spanish army; of course he is one out of many; she soon grows tired of
him, and awakens his jealousy by a thousand caprices and cruelties.

Don Jose has another bride, sweet and lovely, Micaela, waiting for him
at home, but she is forgotten as soon as he sees the proud gipsy.

Micaela seeks him out, bringing to him the portrait and the benediction
of his mother, ay, even her kiss, which she gives him with blushes.
His tenderness is gone, however, so far as Micaela is concerned, as
soon as he casts one look into the {37} lustrous eyes of Carmen.  This
passionate creature has involved herself in a quarrel and wounded one
of her companions, a laborer in a cigarette manufactory.  She is to be
taken to prison, but Don Jose lets her off, promising to meet her in
the evening at an inn kept by a man named Lillas Pastia, where they are
to dance the Seguedilla.

In the second act we find them there together, with the whole band of
gipsies.  Don Jose, more and more infatuated by Carmen's charms, is
willing to join the vagabonds, who are at the same time smugglers.  He
accompanies them in a dangerous enterprise of this kind, but no sooner
has he submitted to sacrifice love and honor for the gipsy, than she
begins to tire of his attentions.  Jose has pangs of conscience, he
belongs to another sphere of society and his feelings are of a softer
kind than those of nature's unruly child.  She transfers her affections
to a bull-fighter named Escamillo, another of her suitors, who returns
her love more passionately.  A quarrel ensues between the two rivals.
Escamillo's knife breaks and he is about to be killed by Don Jose, when
Carmen intervenes, holding back his arm.  Don Jose, seeing that she has
duped him, now becomes her deadly foe, filled with undying hatred and
longing for revenge.

Micaela, the tender-hearted maiden, who follows him everywhere like a
guardian-angel, reminds him of his lonely mother, everybody advises him
to let the fickle Carmen alone,--Carmen who never loved the same man
for more than six weeks.  But {38} in vain, till Micaela tells him of
the dying mother, asking incessantly for her son; then at last he
consents to go with her, but not without wild imprecations on his rival
and his faithless love.

In the fourth act we find ourselves in Madrid.  There is to be a
bull-fight; Escamillo, its hero, has invited the whole company to be
present in the circus.

Don Jose appears there too, trying for the last time to regain his
bride.  Carmen, though warned by a fellow gipsy, Frasquita, knows no
fear.  She meets her old lover outside the arena, where he tries hard
to touch her heart.  He kneels at her feet, vowing never to forsake her
and to be one of her own people, but Carmen, though wayward, is neither
a coward nor a liar, and boldly declares that her affections are given
to the bull-fighter, whose triumphs are borne to their ears on the
shouts of the multitude.  Almost beside himself with love and rage Jose
seizes her hand and attempts to drag her away, but she escapes from
him, and throwing the ring, Jose's gift, at his feet, rushes to the
door of the arena.--He overtakes her however and just as the trumpets
announce Escamillo's victory, in a perfect fury of despair he stabs her
through the heart, and the victorious bull-fighter finds his beautiful
bride a corpse.



{39}

CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA.

(SICILIAN RUSTIC CHIVALRY).

Opera in one act by PIETRO MASCAGNI.

Text after Verga's drama of the same name by TARGIONI-TOZZETTI and
MENASCI.


The composer of this very brief opera is a young man, who has had a
most adventurous life notwithstanding his youth.  Son of a baker in
Livorno, he was destined for the bar.  But his love for music made him
enter clandestinely into the Institute Luigi Cherubini, founded by
Alfreddo Soffredini.  When his father heard of this, he confined him in
his chamber, until Pietro's uncle, Steffano, promised to care for him
in future.  Pietro now was enabled to study diligently.  He composed at
the age of 13 years a small Opera "In filanda", which was put on the
stage by Soffredini.  Another composition, on Schiller's poem "An die
Freude" (To Joy), brought him money and Count Larderell's favor, who
allowed him to study at his expense at the Conservatory at Milan.  But
Mascagni's ambition suffered no restraint, so he suddenly disappeared
from Milan and turned up as musical Director of a wandering troupe.  In
Naples he grew ill, a young lady nursed him, both fell in love and she
became his wife.--Hearing that Sonzogno offered a prize for the best
opera, he procured himself a libretto, and composed the Cavalleria
Rusticana in little more than a week, and--gained the prize.

Henceforward all of course were anxious to {40} hear the music of the
unknown artist, and lo--the opera was an immense success.

It cannot be called a masterpiece, yet it is certainly the offspring of
genius, as fresh and as absolutely original, as it is highly dramatic.

The text, though retaining little of the exquisite beauty of the
original drama, which ought to be read before hearing its fragments in
the opera, assists the music a good deal.  The wave of human passion
sweeps over it, passion as it occurs in daily life, for the composition
belongs to the realistic style, as far as it is based on truth and
reality alone.

The true local color makes it doubly attractive.

The following are the very simple facts of the story, which takes place
in a Sicilian village.

Turridu, a young peasant has loved and wooed Lola before entering
military service.  At his return he finds the flighty damsel married to
the wealthy carrier Alfio, who glories in his pretty wife and treats
her very well.--Turridu tries to console himself with another young
peasant-girl, Santuzza, who loves him ardently, and to whom he has
promised marriage.

The opera only begins at this point.

Lola, the coquette however cannot bear to know, that her former
sweet-heart should love another woman.  She flirts with him, and before
the curtain has been raised after the overture, Turridu's love-song is
heard for Lola, who grants him a rendez-vous in her own house.

This excites Santuzza's wildest jealousy.  She {41} complains to
Turridu's mother, who vainly tries to soothe her.  Then she has a last
interview with Turridu, who is just entering the church.  She
reproaches him first with his treachery, then implores him, not to
forsake her and leave her dishonored.

But Turridu remains deaf to all entreaty, and flings her from him.  At
last, half mad through her lover's stubbornness Santuzza betrays him
and Lola to Alfio, warning the latter, that his wife has proved
false.--After church Alfio and Turridu meet in mother Lucia's
tavern.--Alfio refusing to drink of Turridu's wine, the latter divines
that the husband knows all.  The men and women leave while the two
adversaries after Sicilian custom embrace each-other, Alfio biting
Turridu in the ear, which indicates mortal challenge.--Turridu, deeply
repenting his folly, as well as his falsehood towards poor Santuzza,
recommends her to his mother.--He hurries into the garden, where Alfio
expects him;--a few minutes later his death is announced by the
peasants, and Santuzza falls back in a dead swoon; with which the
curtain closes over the tragedy.--



COSI FAN TUTTE.

Comic Opera in two acts by MOZART.

Text by DA PONTE, newly arranged by L. SCHNEIDER and ED. DEVRIENT.


This opera, though lovely in its way, has never had the success, which
the preceding Figaro and Don Juan attained, and this is due for the
most {42} part to the libretto.  In the original text it really shows
female fickleness, and justifies its title.  But the more Mozart's
music was admired, the less could one be satisfied with such a
libretto.  Schneider and Devrient therefore altered it and in their
version the two female lovers are put to the test, but midway in the
plot it is revealed to them that they are being tried--, with the
result that they feign faithlessness, play the part out and at the
close declare their knowledge, turning the sting against the authors of
the unworthy comedy.  The contents may be told shortly.

Don Fernando and Don Alvar are betrothed to two Andalusian ladies,
Rosaura and Isabella.

They loudly praise their ladies' fidelity, when an old bachelor, named
Onofrio, pretends that their sweet-hearts are not better than other
women and accessible to temptation.  The lovers agree to make the trial
and promise to do everything which Onofrio dictates.  Thereupon they
announce to the ladies, that they are ordered to Havannah with their
regiment, and after a tender leavetaking, they depart to appear again
in another guise, as officers of a strange regiment.  Onofrio has won
the ladies-maid, Dolores, to aid in the furtherance of his schemes and
the officers enter, beginning at once to make love to Isabella and
Rosaura, but each, as was before agreed, to the other's affianced.

Of course the ladies reject them, and the lovers begin to triumph, when
Onofrio prompts them to try another temptation.  The strangers, mad
with {43} love, pretend to drink poison in the young ladies' presence.
Of course these tenderhearted maidens are much aggrieved; they call
Dolores, who bids her mistresses hold the patients in their arms; then
coming disguised as a physician, she gives them an antidote.  By this
clumsy subterfuge they excite the ladies' pity and are nearly
successful in their foolish endeavours, when Dolores, pitying the
cruelly tested women, reveals the whole plot to them.

Isabella and Rosaura now resolve to enter into the play.  They accept
the disguised suitors, and even consent to a marriage.  Dolores appears
in the shape of a notary, without being recognized by the men.  The
marriage-contract is signed, and the lovers disappear to return in
their true characters, full of righteous contempt.  Isabella and
Rosaura make believe to be conscience-stricken, and for a long while
torment and deceive their angry bridegrooms.  But at last they grow
tired of teasing, they present the disguised Dolores, and they put
their lovers to shame by showing that all was a farce.  Of course the
gentlemen humbly ask their pardon, and old Onofrio is obliged to own
himself beaten.



CZAR AND ZIMMERMANN

THE TWO PETERS.

Comic Opera in three acts by LORTZING.


This charming little opera had even more success than Lortzing's other
compositions; it is {44} a popular opera in the best sense of the word.
Lortzing ought to have made his fortune by it, for it was soon claimed
by every stage.  He had composed it for Christmas 1837 and in the year
1838 every street-organ played its principal melodies.  But the
directors paid miserable sums to the lucky composer.  (F. e. a copy of
the work cost him 25 thalers, while he did not get more than 30 to 50
thalers from the directors.)

The libretto was composed by Lortzing himself; he took it out of an old
comedy.

Peter, Emperor of Russia, has taken service on the wharfs of Saardam as
simple ship-carpenter under the assumed name of Peter Michaelow.  Among
his companions is another Peter, named Ivanow, a Russian renegade, who
has fallen in love with Mary, the niece of the burgomaster Van Bett.

The two Peters being countrymen and fearing discovery, have become
friendly, but Ivanow instinctively feeling his friend's superiority, is
jealous of him, and Mary, a little coquette, nourishes his passion.

Meanwhile the ambassadors of France and England, each of whom wishes
for a special connection with the Czar of Russia, have discovered where
he must be, and both bribe the conceited simpleton Van Bett, who tries
to find out the real Peter.

He assembles the people, but there are many Peters amongst them, though
only two strangers.  He asks them whence they come, then takes aside
Peter Ivanow, cross-questioning him in vain as to what he wishes to
know.

{45}

At last, being aware of Peter's love for Mary, he gives him some hope
of gaining her hand, and obtains in exchange a promise from the young
man, to confess his secret in presence of the foreign nobleman.--The
cunning French ambassador, the Marquis de Chateauneuf, has easily found
out the Czar and gained his purpose, while the phlegmatic English Lord,
falsely directed by the burgomaster, is still in transaction with
Ivanow.  All this takes place during a rural festivity, where the
Marquis notwithstanding the claims upon his attention finds time to
court yet pretty Mary, exciting Ivanow's hate and jealousy.  Ivanow
with difficulty plays the role of Czar, which personage he is supposed
to be as well by Lord Syndham as by Van Bett.  He well knows that he
deserves punishment, if he is found out on either side.  The
burgomaster, getting more and more confused, and fearing himself
surrounded by spies and cheats, examines one of the strangers after the
other, and is of course confounded to hear their high-flown names; at
last he seizes the two Peters, but is deterred from his purpose by the
two ambassadors.  They are now joined by a third, the Russian General
Lefort, who comes to call back his Sovereign to his own country.  In
the third act Van Bett has prepared a solemn demonstration of fealty
for the supposed Czar, whom he still mistakes for the real one, while
the real Czar has found means to go on board of his ship with the
Marquis and Lefort.--Before taking farewell, he promises a pass-port to
Ivanow, who is very dubious as to what will become of {46} him.
Meanwhile Van Bett approaches him with his procession to do homage, but
during his long and confused speech cannon-shots are heard and an usher
announces, that Peter Michaelow is about to sail away with a large
crew.  The back-ground opens and shows the port with the Czar's ship.
Everybody bursts into shouts "Long live the Czar!" and Ivanow, opening
the paper, which his high-born friend left to him, reads that the Czar
grants him pardon for his desertion and bestows upon him a considerable
sum of money.



LA DAME BLANCHE.

Comic Opera in three acts by BOIELDIEU.

Text by SCRIBE.


Boieldieu is for the French almost what Mozart was for the German.
This opera especially may be called classic, so deliberate and careful
is its execution.

The "Lady in white" is the chef-d'oeuvre of all comic operas in French,
as Mozart's Figaro is in German.  The success of this opera, whose
composer and whose poet were equally liked and esteemed in Paris was
enormous, and since then it has never lost its attraction.

The scene is laid in Scotland, the subject being taken from Walter
Scott's romance: "Guy Mannering".

George Brown, the hero of the opera, a young lieutenant in English
service, visits Scotland.  He is hospitably received by a tenant of the
late Count Avenel, who has been dead for some years.  When {47} he
arrives, the baptism of the tenant's youngest child is just being
celebrated, and seeing that they lack a godfather, he good-naturedly
consents to take the vacant place.

Seeing the old castle of the Avenels, he asks for its history, and the
young wife Jenny tells him that according to the traditions of the
place it is haunted by a ghost, as is the case in almost every old
castle.  This apparition is called the "White Lady", but unlike other
ghosts she is good, protecting her sex against fickle men.  All the
people around believe firmly in her and pretend to have seen her
themselves.  In the castle there exists a statue which bears the name
of this benevolent genius, and in it the old Lord has hidden treasures.
His steward Gaveston, a rogue, who has taken away the only son of the
Count in the child's earliest days, brings the castle with all its
acres to public sale, hoping to gain it for himself.

He has a charming ward, named Anna.  It is she, who sometimes plays the
part of the white Lady.  She has summoned the young tenant Dickson, who
is sincerely devoted to her, into the castle, and the young man though
full of fear, yet dare not disobey the ghostly commands.

George Brown, thirsting for a good adventure, and disbelieving in the
ghost-story, declares that he will go in Dickson's place.

In the second act George, who has found entrance into the castle, calls
for the white Lady, who appears in the shape of Anna.  She believes
that {48} Dickson is before her and she reveals her secret to him,
imploring his help against her false guardian Gaveston, who means to
rob the true and only heir of his property.  She knows that the missing
son of the Avenels is living, and she has given a promise to the dying
Countess, to defend his rights against the rapacious Gaveston.  George
gives his hand to the pretended ghost in token of fidelity, and the
warm and soft hand which clasps his, awakes tender feelings in him.  On
the following morning Dickson and his wife Jenny are full of curiosity
about George's visit, but he does not breathe a word of his secret.

The sale of the castle as previously announced is to begin, and Dickson
has been empowered beforehand by all the neighboring farmers, to bid
the highest price, in order not to let it fall into the hands of the
hateful Gaveston.  They bid higher and higher, but at length Dickson
stops, unable to go farther.  Gaveston feels assured of his triumph,
when George Brown, recalling his vow to the white Lady, advances
boldly, bidding one thousand pounds more.  Anna is beside him, in the
shape of the spectre, and George obediently bids on, till the castle is
his for the price of three hundred thousand pounds.  Gaveston in a
perfect fury, swears avenge himself on the adventurer, who is to pay
the sum in the afternoon.  Should he prove unable to do so, he shall be
put into prison.  George, who firmly believes in the help of his
genius, is quietly confident, and meanwhile makes an inspection of the
castle.  {49} Wandering through the vast rooms, dim recollections arise
in him, and hearing the minstrel's song of the Avenels, he all at once
remembers and finishes the romance, which he heard in his childhood.

The afternoon comes and with it Mac-Irton, the justice of peace.  He
wants the money, and George begs to await the white Lady, who promised
her help.  Anna appears, bringing the treasure of the Avenels hidden in
the statue, and with them some documents, which prove the just claims
of Edwin Count Avenel.  This long lost Count she recognizes in George
Brown, whose identity with the playmate of her youth she had found out
the night before.  Gaveston approaches full of wrath to tear aside the
ghost's white veil, and sees his own ward, Anna.

The happy owner of castle and country holds firm to the promise which
he gave the white Lady, and offers hand and heart to the faithful Anna,
who has loved him from her childhood.



IL DEMONIO.

Fantastic Opera in three acts by ANTON RUBINSTEIN

Text after the Russian of ALFRED OFFERMANN.


This opera of the great Russian musician has an entirely national
character.  The great features of Rubinstein's work are most fertile
imagination and an immense power of expression, which however sometimes
almost passes the permitted bounds, although the forms are perfectly
mastered and the fanciful subject is well calculated to afford it room
{50} for play.  It is taken from the celebrated poem of Lermontoff, and
it treats of the devices, by which Satan seeks to ensnare the immortal
souls on earth.

The plot is laid in Grusia in the Caucasus.

The first scene represents a wild and lonely country, in the raging
storm voices are heard of good and bad spirits alternately.  The
Arch-Fiend appears, weary of everything, even of his power.  He curses
the world; in vain he is warned by the Angel of Light to cease his
strife against Heaven; the Demon's only satisfaction lies in opposition
to and battle with all that is loving and good.

He sees Tamara, daughter of Prince Gudal, who expects her bridegroom,
the Prince of Sinodal, and full of admiration for her loveliness he
wooes her.  Tamara, frightened calls her companions and they all return
to the castle, but the words of the stranger, whom she has recognized
by the halo of light surrounding him, as a being from a higher world,
vibrate in her ears: "Queen of my love, thou shalt be the Empress of
Worlds."

The following scene shows Prince Sinodal, encamping for the night with
his suite; the roughness of the way has delayed his coming to Tamara.
Near the camp is a chapel, erected in memory of one of his ancestors,
who was slain there by a ruffian and the Prince's old servant
admonishes him to pray for his soul.  To his destruction he postpones
it till morning, for during his sleep the Demon brings up his enemies,
the Tartars, and the Prince's caravan is robbed and he himself killed.

{51}

In the second act Tamara stands ready to receive her bridegroom, whose
coming has been announced to her by a messenger.

Tamara's thoughts are with the stranger, though against her will, when
an escort brings the dead body of Sinodal.  While the poor bride is
giving vent to her sorrow and her father seeks to comfort her by
offering religious consolation, she again hears the voice of the Demon,
whispering soft seductions to her.  At last she feels that her strength
is failing before a supernatural power, and so she begs her father to
let her enter a monastery.  After offering many objections he finally
consents, for in truth his thoughts are only of avenging his children.

In the third act the Demon, who really loves Tamara, and regrets his
wickedness, seeks to see her.  The Angel of Light denies him the
entrance, which however he finally forces.  Passionately he invokes
Tamara's pity and her love and she, rent by unutterable feelings
implores Heaven's aid, but her strength gives way, and the Demon
embraces and kisses her.  At this moment the Angel of Light appears,
and Tamara is about to hasten to him, when with a loud cry she sinks
down lifeless.  Satan has lost; despairing and cursing all, he vanishes
and a thunder-bolt destroys the cloister, from amid the ruins of which
the Angels bear the poor love-tortured Tamara to Heaven.



{52}

LE DOMINO NOIR.

Comic Opera in three acts by AUBER.

Text by SCRIBE.


This is one of the most charming comic operas, which were ever written
by this master.  Graceful archness and elegance of style are its
characteristics, and these lose nothing from the presence of a gay and
easy temper which makes itself felt throughout.  The same may be said
of the libretto.

The plot is well worked out and entertaining.  The scene is laid in
Madrid in our century.

The Queen of Spain gives a masqued ball, at which our heroine Angela is
present, accompanied by her companion Brigitta.  There she is seen by
Horatio di Massarena, a young nobleman, who had met her a year before
at one of these balls and fell in love with, without knowing her.

This time he detains her, but is again unable to discover her real
name, and confessing his love for her, he receives the answer, that she
can be no more than a friend to him.  Massarena detains her so long
that the clock strikes the midnight-hour as Angela prepares to seek her
companion.  Massarena confesses to having removed Brigitta under some
pretext, and Angela in despair cries out, that she is lost.  She is in
reality member of a convent, and destined to be Lady-Abbess, though she
has not yet taken the vows.  She is very highly connected, and has
secretly helped Massarena to advance in his career as a {53}
diplomatist.--Great is her anxiety to return in her convent after
midnight, but she declines all escort, and walking alone through the
streets, she comes by chance into the house of Count Juliano, a
gentleman of somewhat uncertain character, and Massarena's friend.
Juliano is just giving a supper to his gay friends and Angela bribes
his housekeeper Claudia, to keep her for the night.  She appears before
the guests disguised as an Arragonian waiting-maid, and charms them
all, and particularly Massarena with her grace and coquetry.  But as
the young gentlemen begin to be insolent, she disappears, feeling
herself in danger of being recognized.  Massarena, discovering in her
the charming black domino, is very unhappy to see her in such
company.--Meanwhile Angela succeeds in getting the keys of the convent
from Gil-Perez, the porter, who had also left his post, seduced by his
love of gormandizing and had come to pay court to Claudia.  Angela
troubles his conscience and frightens him with her black mask, and
flies.  When she has gone, the house-keeper confesses that her
pretended Arragonian was a stranger, by all appearance a noble lady,
who sought refuge in Juliano's house.

In the third act Angela reaches the convent, but not without having had
some more adventures.  Through Brigitta's cleverness her absence has
not been discovered.  At length the day has come when she is to be made
Lady-Abbess and she is arrayed in the attire suited to her future high
office, when Massarena is announced to her.--He comes to {54} ask to be
relieved from a marriage with Ursula, Lord Elfort's daughter, who is
destined for him, and who is also an inmate of the convent, but whom he
cannot love.  Notwithstanding her disguise he recognizes his beloved
domino, who, happily for both is released by the Queen from her high
mission and permitted to choose a husband.--Of course it is no other,
than the happy Massarena; while Ursula is consoled by being made
Lady-Abbess, a position which well suits her ambitious temper.



DON CARLOS.

Opera in four acts by VERDI.

Text by MERY and CAMILLA DU LOCLE.


This opera is one of the first of Verdi's.  It was half forgotten, when
being suddenly recalled to the stage it met with considerable success.
The music is fine and highly dramatic in many parts.

The scene of action lies in Spain.  Don Carlos, Crown-prince of Spain
comes to the convent of St. Just, where his grand-father, the Emperor
Charles the Fifth has just been buried.  Carlos bewails his separation
from his step-mother, Elizabeth of Valois, whom he loves with a sinful
passion.  His friend, the Marquis Posa reminds him of his duty and
induces him to leave Spain for Flanders, where an unhappy nation sighs
under the cruel rule of King Philip's governors.--Carlos has an
interview with the Queen, but beside himself with grief he again
declares his love, though having resolved only to ask for her
intervention with the King, on {55} behalf of his mission to Flanders.
Elizabeth asks him to think of duty and dismisses him.  Just then her
jealous husband enters, and finding her lady of honor, Countess
Aremberg, absent, banishes the latter from Spain.  King Philip favors
Posa with his particular confidence, though the latter is secretly the
friend of Carlos, who is ever at variance with his wicked father.  Posa
uses his influence with the King for the best of the people, and
Philip, putting entire confidence in him, orders him to watch his wife.

The second act represents a fete in the royal gardens at Madrid, where
Carlos mistakes the Princess Eboli for the Queen and betrays his
unhappy love.  The Princess, loving Carlos herself, and having nurtured
hopes of her love being responded to, takes vengeance.  She possesses
herself of a casket in which the Queen keeps Carlos' portrait, a
love-token from her maiden-years, and surrenders it to Philip.  The
King, though conscious of his wife's innocence, is more than ever
jealous of his son, and seeks for an occasion to put him out of the
way.  It is soon found, when Carlos defies him at an autodafe of
heretics.  Posa himself is obliged to deprive Carlos of his sword, and
the latter is imprisoned.  The King has an interview with the
Grand-Inquisitor, who demands the death of Don Carlos, asserting him to
be a traitor to his country.  As Philip demurs, the priest asks Posa's
life as the more dangerous of the two.  The King, who never loved a
human being except Posa, the {56} pure-hearted Knight, yields to the
power of the church.

In the following scene Elizabeth, searching for her casket, is accused
of infidelity by her husband.  The Princess Eboli, seeing the trouble
her mischievous jealousy has brought upon her innocent mistress,
penitently confesses her fault and is banished from court.  In the last
scene of the third act Carlos is visited by Posa, who explains to him,
that he has only imprisoned him in order to save him, and that he has
announced to the King, that it was himself, Posa, who excited rebellion
in Flanders.  While they speak, Posa is shot by an arquebusier of the
royal guard; Philip enters the cell to present his sword to Carlos, but
the son turns from his father with loathing and explains his friend's
pious fraud.  While Philip bewails the loss of the best man in Spain,
loud acclamations are heard from the people, who hearing that their
prince is in danger desire to see him.

In the last act the Queen, who promised Posa to watch over Carlos,
meets him once more in the convent of St. Just.  They are surprised by
the King, who approaches, accompanied by the Grand-Inquisitor, and into
his hands the unhappy Carlos is at last delivered.

{57}

DON JUAN.

Opera in two acts by MOZART.

Text by DA PONTE.


Don Juan is Mozart's most beautiful opera; we may even say, that it is
the greatest work of this kind, which was ever written by a German
musician.  The text too, written by Mozart's friend, is far above the
level of ordinary opera-texts.

The hero, spoilt by fortune and blase, is ever growing more reckless.
He even dares to attack the virtue of Donna Anna, one of the first
ladies of a city in Spain, of which her father, an old Spanish Grandee,
as noble and as strict in virtue as Don Juan is oversatiated and
frivolous, is governor.  The old father coming forward to help his
beloved daughter, with drawn dagger attacks Don Juan, who compelled to
defend himself, has the misfortune to stab his assailant.

Donna Anna, a lady not only noble and virtuous, but proud and
high-spirited, vows to avenge her father's death.  Though betrothed to
a nobleman, named Octavio, she will never know any peace until her
father, of whose death she feels herself the innocent cause, is
avenged.  Her only hope is death, and in that she offers the liveliest
contrast to her betrothed, who shows himself a gentleman of good temper
and qualities, but of a mind too weak for his lady's high-flown courage
and truly tragic character.  Though Octavio wants to avenge Donna
Anna's father, he would do it only to please {58} her.  His one aim is
marriage with her.  Her passionate feelings he does not understand.

Don Juan, pursued not only by Donna Anna, but also by his own neglected
bride, Donna Elvira, tries to forget himself in debauches and
extravagances.  His servant Leporello, in every manner the real
counterpart of his master, is his aider and abettor.  A more witty, a
more amusing figure does not exist.  His fine sarcasm brings Don Juan's
character into bold relief; they complement and explain each-other.

But Don Juan, passing from one extravagance to another, sinks deeper;
everything he tries begins to fail him, and his doom approaches.--He
begins to amuse himself with Zerlina, the young bride of a peasant,
named Masetto, but each time, when he seems all but successful in his
aim of seducing the little coquette, his enemies, who have united
themselves against him, interfere and present a new foe in the person
of the bridegroom, the plump and rustic Masetto.  At last Don Juan is
obliged to take refuge from the hatred of his pursuers.  His flight
brings him to the grave of the dead governor, in whose memory a
life-size statue has been erected in his own park.  Excited to the
highest pitch and almost beside himself, Don Juan even mocks the dead;
he invites him to a supper.  The statue moves its head in acceptance of
the dreadful invitation of the murderer.

Towards evening Donna Elvira comes to see him, willing to pardon
everything, if only her lover {59} will repent.  She fears for him and
for his fate, she does not ask for his love, but only for the
repentance of his follies, but all is in vain.  The half-drunken Don
Juan laughs at her, and so she leaves him alone.  Then the ghostly
guest, the statue of the governor enters.  He too tries to move his
host's conscience; he fain would save him in the last hour.  Don Juan
remains deaf to those warnings of a better self, and so he incurs his
doom.  The statue vanishes, the earth opens and the demons of hell
devour Don Juan and his splendid palace.



DON PASQUALE.

Comic Opera in three acts by DONIZETTI.

Text done after SER MARCANTONIO by SALVATORE GAMMERANO.


This opera, one of Donizetti's last compositions is a little jewel of
the modern Italian kinds.  Its music is sparkling with wit and grace
and may rank among the best comic operas, of which we have not too
many.  The reason, why it does not occupy the place on the German
stage, which is due to its undoubted merit, is the somewhat deficient
German translation of the textbook, and the very small frame, in which
it plays, without any of the dramatic pomp and decoration the people
are wont to see in our times, and finally it does not occupy a whole
evening and must needs have a ballet to fill it up.  The four persons
acting in the play, have excellent parts for good singers, as Donizetti
thoroughly knew how to treat the human voice.

{60}

The wealthy old bachelor Don Pasquale, desires to marry his only nephew
to a rich and noble lady, but, finding a hindrance in Ernesto's love
for another, decides to punish his headstrong nephew by entering
himself into marriage and thus disinheriting Ernesto.

His physician Malatesta, Ernesto's friend, pretends to have discovered
a suitable partner for him in the person of his (Malatesta's) sister,
an "Ingenue", educated in a convent and utterly ignorant of the ways of
the world.

Don Pasquale maliciously communicates his intentions to the young widow
Norina telling her to distrust Malatesta.  The latter however has been
beforehand with him, and easily persuades Norina to play the part of
his (Malatesta's) sister, and to endeavour, by the beauty of her person
and the modesty of her demeanour, to gain the old man's affections.
Should she succeed in doing so, Don Pasquale and Norina are to go
through a mock form of marriage,--a notary, in the person of a cousin
named Carlo has already been gained for the purpose,--after which
Norina, by her obstinacy, extravagance, capriciousness and coquetry is
to make the old man repent of his infatuation and ready to comply with
their wishes.

Urged on by her love for Ernesto, Norina consents to play the part
assigned to her and the charming simplicity of her manners, her modesty
and loveliness so captivate the old man, that he falls into the trap
and makes her an offer of his {61} hand.  The marriage takes place, and
one witness failing to appear, Ernesto, who happens to be near, and who
is aware of the plot, is requested to take his place.--Besides
appointing Norina heiress of half his wealth, Don Pasquale at once
makes her absolute mistress of his fortune.  Having succeeded in
attaining her aim, Norina throws aside her mask, and by her
self-willedness, prodigality and waywardness drives her would-be
husband to despair.  She squanders his money, visits the theatre on the
very day of their marriage ignoring the presence of her husband in such
a manner, that he wishes himself in his grave, or rid of the termagant,
who has destroyed the peace of his life.--The climax is reached on his
discovery among the accounts, all giving proof of his wife's reckless
extravagance, a billet-doux, pleading for a clandestine meeting in his
own garden.  Malatesta is summoned and cannot help feeling remorse on
beholding the wan and haggard appearance of his friend.  He recommends
prudence, advises Don Pasquale to assist, himself unseen, at the
proposed interview, and then to drive the guilty wife from the house.
The jealous husband, though frankly confessing the folly he had
committed in taking so young a wife, at first refuses to listen to
Malatesta's counsel, and determines to surprise the lovers and have
them brought before the judge.  Finally however he suffers himself to
be dissuaded and leaves the matter in Malatesta's hands.--

In the last scene the lovers meet, but Ernesto escapes on his uncle's
approach, who is sorely {62} disappointed at having to listen to the
bitter reproaches of his supposed wife, instead of being able to turn
her out of doors.--

Meanwhile Malatesta arrives, summons Ernesto and in his uncle's name
gives his (Don Pasquale's) consent to Ernesto's marriage with Norina,
promising her a splendid dowry.

Don Pasquale's wife, true to the part she has undertaken to play, of
course opposes this arrangement, and Don Pasquale, too happy to be able
to thwart his wife, hastens to give his consent, telling Ernesto to
fetch his bride.  His dismay on discovering that his own wife, whom he
has only known under the name of Sophronia and his nephew's bride are
one and the same person may be easily imagined.--His rage and
disappointment are however somewhat diminished by the reflection, that
he will no longer have to suffer from the whims of the young wife, who
had inveigled him into the ill-assorted marriage, and he at length
consents, giving the happy couple his blessing.--



LES DRAGONS DE VILLARS.

(THE BELL OF THE HERMIT.)

Comic Opera in three acts by LOUIS AIME MAILLART.

Text after the French by G. ERNST.


Maillart, who studied under Halevy in Paris and received the Roman
prize (prix de Rome) in the year 1841, composed six operas, all of
which are now almost forgotten with the single exception {63} of "Les
Dragons de Villars" (in 1856), which found favor in Germany by virtue
of its wit and grace.

The music sparkles with French charm and gaiety of the most exquisite
kind and these are the merits by which this unpretentious opera has
kept its place by the side of its grander and more pompous sisters.

The tale is clever and amusing.

The scene is laid in a French mountain-village near the frontier of
Savoy towards the close of the war in the Cevennes in 1704.

In the first act peasant women in the service of Thibaut, a rich
country Squire, are collecting fruit.  Georgette, Thibaut's young wife,
controls their work.  In compliance with a general request she treats
them to a favorite provencal song, in which a young girl, forgetting
her first vows made to a young soldier, gives her hand to another
suitor.  She is interrupted by the sound of trumpets.  Thibaut hurrying
up in great distress asks the women to hide themselves at once, because
soldiers are marching into the village.  He conceals his own wife in
the pigeon-house.  A detachment of dragoons arrive, and Belamy, their
corporal, asks for food and wine at Thibaut's house.  He learns, that
there is nothing to be had and in particular, that all the women have
fled, fearing the unprincipled soldiers of King Louis XIV., sent to
persecute the poor Huguenots or Camisards, who are hiding in the
mountains,--further that the "Dragons de {64} Villars"  are said to be
an especially wild and dissolute set.

Belamy is greatly disgusted and after having had his dinner and a sleep
in Thibaut's own bed, decides to march on.  The Squire gladly offers to
accompany the soldiers to St. Gratien's grotto near the hermitage,
where they have orders to search for the Huguenot refugees.

While Belamy is sleeping, Thibaut calls his servant Silvain and scolds
him because, though his best servant, he has now repeatedly been absent
over-long on his errands; finally orders him to saddle the mules.

Stammering Silvain owns, that they have gone astray in the mountains,
but that he is sure of their being found in due time.  While Thibaut
expresses his fear that they may be stolen by the fugitives, Rose
Friquet, an orphan-girl, brings the mules, riding on the back of one of
them.  Thibaut loads her with reproaches, but Silvain thanks her
warmly, and though she mockingly repudiates his thanks, he discovers
that she has taken the mules in order not to let the provost into
Silvain's secret.  The fact is that Silvain carries food every day to
the refugees, and Rose Friquet, the poor goat-keeper, who is despised
and supposed to be wicked and malicious, protects him in her poor way,
because he once intercepted a stone, which was meant for her head.

While the soldiers are dining, Belamy, who has found Georgette's
bonnet, demands an explanation.  {65} Thibaut, confused, finds a
pretext for going out, but Rose betrays to Belamy first the wine-cellar
and then Georgette's hiding-place.  The young wife cries for help and
Rose runs in to fetch Thibaut.  Belamy is delighted with the pretty
Georgette, but she tells him rather anxiously, that all the wives of
the village must needs remain entirely true to their husbands, for the
hermit of St. Gratien, though dead for two hundred years, is keeping
rigid watch, and betrays every case of infidelity by ringing a little
bell, which is heard far and wide.

Belamy is somewhat desirous to try the experiment with Georgette and
asks her to accompany him to the hermitage instead of her husband.

After having found the other women in the village, the soldiers, to
Thibaut's great vexation, decide to stay and amuse themselves.  Silvain
rejoices and after a secret sign from Rose resolves to warn the
refugees in the evening.

In the second act Rose and Silvain meet near St. Gratien.  Rose, after
telling him that all the paths are occupied by sentries, promises to
show him a way for the refugees, which she and her goat alone know.
Silvain, thanking her warmly, endeavours to induce her to care more for
her outward appearance, praising her pretty features.  Rose is
delighted to hear for the first time that she is pretty, and the duet
ensuing is one of the most charming things in the opera.  Silvain
promises to be her friend henceforth and then leaves, in order to seek
the Camisards.  After this Thibaut {66} appears, seeking his wife, whom
he has seen going away with Belamy.  Finding Rose he imagines he has
mistaken her for his wife, but she laughingly corrects him and he
proceeds to search for Georgette.  Belamy now comes and courts
Thibaut's wife.  But Rose, seeing them, resolves to free the path for
the others.--No sooner has Belamy tried to snatch a kiss from his
companion, than Rose draws the rope of the hermit's bell, and she
repeats the proceeding, until Georgette takes flight, while Thibaut
rushes up at the sound of the bell.  Belamy reassures him, intimating
that the bell may have rung for Rose (though it never rings for girls)
and accompanies him to the village.  But he soon returns to look for
the supposed hermit, who has played him this trick and finds Rose
instead, who does not perceive him.--To his great surprise Silvain
comes up with the whole troop of refugees, leading the aged clergyman,
who had been a father to him in his childhood.  Silvain presents Rose
to them as their deliverer and vows to make her his wife.--Rose leads
them to the secret path, while Silvain returns to the village, leaving
Belamy triumphant at his discovery.

In the third act we find the people on the following morning speaking
of nothing but Silvain's wedding with Rose and of the hermit's bell.
Nobody knows who has been the culprit, but Thibaut slily calculates
that the hermit has rung before-hand, when Rose the bride kissed the
dragoon.  Having learned that the soldiers had been commanded to {67}
saddle their horses in the midst of the dancing the night before, and
that Belamy, sure of his prey, has come back, he believes that Rose has
betrayed the poor Camisards in order to win the price set on their
heads and this opinion he now communicates to Silvain.

To keep Belamy away from Georgette, the sly Squire has conducted him to
the wine-cellar, and the officier [Transcriber's note: officer?], now
half-drunk admits having had a rendez-vous with Rose.--When Thibaut has
retired, Belamy again kisses Georgette, and lo, the bell does not ring
this time!

Meanwhile Rose comes down the hill, neatly clad and glowing with joy
and pride and Georgette disregarding Thibaut's reproofs offers her the
wedding-garland.  The whole village is assembled to see the wedding,
but Silvain appears with dark brow and when Rose radiantly greets him,
he pushes her back fiercely, believing that she betrayed the refugees,
who are, as he has heard, caught.  Rose is too proud to defend herself,
but when Georgette tries to console her, she silently draws from her
bosom a paper, containing the information that the refugees have safely
crossed the frontier.--Great is Silvain's shame and heartfelt his
repentance.--Suddenly Belamy enters, beside himself with rage, for his
prey has escaped and he has lost his patent as lieutenant together with
the remuneration of 200 pistoles, and he at once orders Silvain to be
shot.  But Rose bravely defends her lover, threatening to reveal the
dragoon's neglect of duty.  {68} When therefore Belamy's superior
appears to hear the important news of which the messenger told him, his
corporal is only able to stammer out that nothing in particular has
happened, and so after all, Georgette is saved from discovery and Rose
becomes Silvain's happy bride.



THE DUSK OF THE GODS.

Third day of the Nibelungen Ring by WAGNER.


This is the end of the great and beautiful tragedy and really it may be
called both a sublime and grand conclusion, which unites once again all
the dramatic and musical elements of the whole and presents to us a
picture the more interesting and touching, as it is now purely human.
The Gods who, though filled with passions and faults like mortals,
never can be for us living persons, fall into the background, and human
beings, full of high aspirations, take their places.  The long and
terrible conflict between the power of gold and that of love is at last
fought out and love conquers.

In the Dusk of the Gods we see again the curse, which lies on gold, and
the sacred benediction of true love.  Can there be anything more noble,
more touching, than Bruennhilde's mourning for Siegfried and the grand
sacrifice of herself in expiation of her error?

The third day opens with a prelude, in which we see three Norns,
weaving world's fate.  When the cord breaks, they fly; the dawn of
another world is upon them.

{69}

In the first act Siegfried bids Bruennhilde fare well.  His active soul
thirsts for deeds, and Bruennhilde having taught him all she knows does
not detain him.  He gives her the fatal ring in token of remembrance,
confiding her to the care of Loge.  Then we are transported to the
Gibichung's hall on the Rhine.  Gunther and his sister Gutrune sit
there, together with their gloomy half-brother Hagen.  The latter
advises his brother to marry, telling him of the beautiful woman,
guarded by the flames.  When he has sufficiently excited Gunther's
longing, he suggests that, as Siegfried is the only one able to gain
Bruennhilde, Gunther should attach him to his person by giving him
Gutrune as wife.  This is to be achieved by a draught, which has the
power of causing oblivion.  Whoever drinks it forgets that ever a woman
has existed beside the one, who has tended the potion.  Hagen well
knows of Siegfried's union with Bruennhilde, but Gunther and Gutrune are
both ignorant of it.

Siegfried arrives and is heartily welcomed.  All turns out as Hagen has
foretold.  By the fatal potion Siegfried falls passionately in love
with Gutrune, so that he completely forgets Bruennhilde.  He swears
blood-brothership to Gunther, and promises to win Bruennhilde for him.
Then the two depart on their errand.

Meanwhile the Walkyrie Waltraute comes to Bruennhilde and beseeches her
to render Siegfried's ring to the Rhine-daughters, in order to save the
Gods from destruction.  Bruennhilde refuses to part {70} with the token
of her husband's love, and hardly has Waltraute departed, than fate
overtakes her in the person of Siegfried, who ventures through the
flames in Gunther's shape.  She vainly struggles against him, he
snatches the ring from her, and so she is conquered.  Siegfried holds
vigil through the night, his sword separating him and the woman he
wooed, and in the early dawn he leads her away to her bridegroom, who
takes Siegfried's place unawares.

In the second act Alberich appears to Hagen.  He tells his son of the
story of the ring and bids him kill Siegfried and recover the stolen
treasure for its owner.--Siegfried appears, announcing Gunther's and
Bruennhilde's arrival.  The bridal pair is received by all their men,
but the joy is soon damped by Bruennhilde recognizing in the bridegroom
of Gutrune her own husband.  Siegfried does not know her, but she
discovers her ring on his hand, and asserting that Gunther won it from
her, this hero is obliged to acknowledge the shameful role he
played.--Though Siegfried swears that his sword Nothung guarded him
from any contact with Gunther's bride, Bruennhilde responds in a most
startling manner, and both swear on Hagen's spear that it may pierce
them, should their words prove false.  All this makes a dreadful
impression on the weak mind of Gunther.

When Siegfried has withdrawn in high spirits with his bride Gutrune,
Hagen hoping to gain the ring offers to avenge Bruennhilde on the
faithless {71} Siegfried.  Bruennhilde in her deadly wrath betrays to
him the only vulnerable spot beneath Siegfried's shoulder.  Gunther
consents reluctantly to their schemes.

The third act opens with a scene on the Rhine.  The Rhine-daughters try
to persuade Siegfried to render them the ring.  He is about to throw it
into the water, when they warn him of the evil which will befall him,
should he refuse their request.  This awakens his pride, and laughing
he turns from them, he, the fearless hero.  His fellow-hunters overtake
him, and while he relates to them the story of his life, Hagen mixes a
herb with his wine, which enables him to remember all he has forgotten.
Hagen then treacherously drives his spear into Siegfried's back,
killing him.  He dies with Bruennhilde's praise on his lips.  The
funeral-march which here follows is one of the most beautiful ever
written.  When the dead hero is brought to the Giebichung's hall,
Gutrune bewails him loudly.  A dispute arises between Hagen and Gunther
about the ring, which ends by Hagen slaying Gunther.  But lo, when
Hagen tries to strip the ring off the dead hand, the fingers close
themselves, and the hand raises itself, bearing testimony against the
murderer.  Bruennhilde appears, to mourn for the dead; she drives away
Gutrune, who sees too late that under the influence of the fatal
draught, Siegfried forgot his lawful wife, whom she now recognizes in
Bruennhilde.  The latter, taking a long farewell of her dead husband,
orders a funeral pile {72} to be erected.  As soon as Siegfried's body
is placed on it, she lights it with a firebrand, and when it is in full
blaze, she mounts her faithful steed, leaping with it into the flames.

When the fire sinks, the Rhine-daughters are seen to snatch the ring,
which is now purified from its curse by Bruennhilde's death.

Hagen, trying to wrench it from them, is drawn into the waves and so
dies.

A dusky light, like that of a new dawn spreads over heaven, and through
a mist, Walhalla, with all the Gods sleeping peacefully, may be
perceived.



EURYANTHE.

Grand romantic Opera by C. M. VON WEBER.

Text by HELMINA VON CHEZY.


This opera has not had the success of Oberon or Freischuetz, a fact to
be attributed to the weakness of its libretto, and not to its music,
which is so grand and noble, that it cannot but fill the hearer with
admiration and pleasure.

The overture is one of the finest pieces ever written, and the choruses
and solos are equally worthy of admiration.

The plot is as follows:

Adolar, Count of Nevers and Rethel, is betrothed to Euryanthe of Savoy,
and the wedding is to take place, when one day, in the King's presence
Lysiart, Count of Forest and Beaujolais, suggests that all women are
accessible to seduction.  He provokes Adolar so much, that he succeeds
{73} in making him stake his lands and everything he possesses on his
bride's fidelity.  Lysiart on the other hand promises to bring a token
of Euryanthe's favor.

In the following scene we find Euryanthe in the company of Eglantine de
Puiset.  This lady is a prisoner, who has taken refuge in the castle of
Nevers, and has ingratiated herself so much with Euryanthe, that the
latter tenderly befriends the false woman.  Asking Euryanthe, why she
always chooses for her recreation the dreary spot of the park, where
Adolar's sister Emma lies buried, she is told by her in confidence,
that she prays for Emma, who poisoned herself after her lover's death
in battle.  Her soul could find no rest, until the ring, which
contained the venom should be wet with the tears of a faithful and
innocent maid, shed in her extreme need.  No sooner has Euryanthe
betrayed her bridegroom's secret that she repents doing so, foreboding
ill to come.  Lysiart enters to escort her to the marriage festival,
but he vainly tries to ensnare her innocence, when Eglantine comes to
his rescue.  She loves Adolar, and her passion not being returned, she
has sworn vengeance.  Stealing the fatal ring from the sepulchre, she
gives it to Lysiart as a token of Euryanthe's faithlessness, and
Lysiart, after having brought Euryanthe to Adolar, shows the ring in
presence of the whole court, pretending to have received it from
Euryanthe.  The poor maiden denies it, but as Lysiart reveals the
mystery of the grave, she cannot deny that she has broken her promise
of never telling the secret.

{74}

Adolar full of despair surrenders everything to his rival, leading
Euryanthe, whom he believes to be false, into the wilderness to kill
her.  A serpent is about to sting him, when his bride throws herself
between.  He kills the reptile, but after her sacrifice he is unable to
raise his arm against her and so leaves her to her fate.

She is found by the King and his hunters, and to them she relates the
whole story of her error of confiding in the false Eglantine.  The King
promises to inform Adolar and takes her back with him.  Meanwhile
Adolar returning once more to his grounds, is seen by his people.  One
of them, Bertha, tells him that Euryanthe is innocent, and that
Eglantine, who is about to marry Lysiart and to reign as supreme
mistress over the country, has been the culprit.

Eglantine, appearing in bridal attire, led by Lysiart, suddenly becomes
a prey to fearful remorse, she sees Emma's ghost, and in her anxiety
reveals the whole plot.  Her bridegroom stabs her in his fury, but is
at once seized by order of the King who just then comes upon the scene.
Adolar, believing Euryanthe dead, demands a meeting with Lysiart.  But
the King declares, that the murderer must incur the penalty of the
laws.  He renders up to Adolar his possessions and his bride, who the
more easily pardons her repentant bridegroom, that she has saved his
sister's soul by the innocent tears of her misfortune.



{75}

FALSTAFF.

A lyric Comedy in three acts by GIUSEPPE VERDI.

Text by ARRIGO BOITO.


Nobody who hears this opera would believe, that it has been written by
a man in his eightieth year.  So much freshness, wit and originality
seem to be the privilege of youth alone.  But the wonder has been
achieved, and Verdi has won a complete success with an opera,--which
runs in altogether different lines from his old-ones, another wonder of
an abnormally strong and original mind.

Falstaff was first represented in Milan in February 1893; since then it
has made its way to all theatres of renown, and it is now indisputable
that we have in it a masterpiece of composition and orchestration.
Those who only look for the easy-flowing melodies of the younger Verdi
will be disappointed; art is predominant, besides an exuberant humour
full of charm for every cultivated hearer.  The numbers which attract
most are the gossiping scene between the four women in the first act,
Falstaffs air "Auand'ero paggio del Duca di Norfolk era sottile" in the
second, and the fairy music in the last act.

The text is so well known to all readers of Shakespeare, that it may be
recorded quite shortly.  It is almost literally that of the Merry Wives
of Windsor.  The first scene is laid in the Garter Inn of that town.
After a quarrel with the French Physician Dr. Cajus, who has been
robbed while drunk by Falstaff's servants Bardolph and Pistol, {76}
Falstaff orders them off with two love-letters for Mrs. Alice Ford and
Mrs. Meg Page.  The Knaves refusing indignantly to take the parts of
go-betweens Falstaff sends them to the devil and gives the letters to
the page Robin.

In the second act the two ladies having shown each other the
love-letters, decide to avenge themselves on the old fat fool.

Meanwhile Falstaff's servants betray their master's intentions towards
Mrs. Ford to her husband, who swears to guard his wife, and to keep a
sharp eye on Sir John.  Then ensues a love-scene between Fenton and Mr.
Ford's daughter Anna, who is destined by her father to marry the rich
Dr. Cajus, but who by far prefers her poor suitor Fenton.

After a while the merry Wives assemble again, in order to entice
Falstaff into a trap.  Mrs. Quickley brings him an invitation to Mrs.
Ford's house in absence of the lady's husband, which Sir John accepts
triumphantly.

Sir John is visited by Mr. Ford, who assumes the name of Mr. Born, and
is nothing loth to drink the bottles of old Cypros-wine, which the
latter has brought with him.  Born also produces a purse filled with
sovereigns, and entreats Falstaff to use it in order to get admittance
to a certain Mrs. Ford, whose favour Born vainly sought.  Falstaff
gleefully reveals the rendez-vous, which he is to have with the lady
and thereby leaves poor disguised Mr. Ford a prey to violent jealousy.

{77}

The next scene contains Falstaff's well-known interview with
mischievous Alice Ford, which is interrupted by Mrs. Meg's announcement
of the husband.

Falstaff is packed into a washing-basket, while husband and neighbours
search for him in vain.  This scene, in which Falstaff, half
suffocated, alternately sighs and begs to be let out, while the women
tranquilly sit on the basket and enjoy their trick, is extremely comic.
The basket with Falstaff, full wash and all is turned over into a
canal, accompanied by the women's laughter.

In the third act Mrs. Quickley succeeds once more to entice the old
fool.  She orders him to another rendez-vous in the Park at midnight,
and advises him to come in the disguise of Herne the black hunter.  The
others hear of the joke and all decide to punish him thoroughly for his
fatuity.  Ford, who has promised Dr. Cajus, to unite Anna to him the
very night, tells him to wear a monk's garb, and also reveals to him,
that Anna is to wear a white dress with roses.  But his wife,
overhearing this, frustrates his designs.  She gives a black monk's
garb to Fenton, while Anna chooses the costume of the Fairy-Queen
Titania.  When Falstaff appears in his disguise he is attacked on all
sides by fairies, wasps, flies and mosquitos and they torment him so
long, until he cries for mercy.  Meanwhile Cajus, in a grey monk's garb
looks for his bride everywhere until a tall veiled female in flowing
white robes (Bardolph) falls into his arms; on {78} the other side Anna
appears with Fenton.  Both couples are wedded, and only when they
unveil, the mistake is discovered.  With bitter shame the men see how
they have all been duped by some merry and clever women, but they have
to make the best of a bad case, and so Ford grants his benediction to
the happy lovers, and embraces his wife, only too glad to find her true
and faithful.



FIDELIO.

Opera in two acts by L. van BEETHOVEN.


This opera, the only one by the greatest of German composers, is also
one of the most exquisite we possess.  The music is so grand and
sublime, so passionate and deep, that it enters into the heart of the
hearer.  The libretto is also full of the highest and most beautiful
feeling.

Florestan, a Spanish nobleman, has dared to blame Don Pizarro, the
governor of the state-prison, a man as cruel as he is powerful.
Pizarro has thus become Florestan's deadly foe, he has seized him
secretly and thrown him into a dreadful dungeon, reporting his death to
the Minister.

But this poor prisoner has a wife, Leonore, who is as courageous as she
is faithful.  She never believes in the false reports, but disguising
herself in male attire, resolves not to rest until she has found her
husband.

In this disguise we find her in the first act; she has contrived to get
entrance into the fortress {79} where she supposes her husband
imprisoned, and by her gentle and courteous behaviour, and readiness
for service of all kinds has won not only the heart of Rocco, the
jailer, but that of his daughter Marcelline, who falls in love with the
gentle youth and neglects her former lover Jaquino.  Fidelio persuades
Rocco to let her help him in his office with the prisoners.  Quivering
with mingled hope and fear she opens the prison gates, to let the state
prisoners out into the court, where they may for once have air and
sunshine.

But seek as she may, she cannot find her husband and in silent despair
she deems herself baffled.

Meanwhile Pizarro has received a letter from Sevilla, announcing the
Minister's forthcoming visit to the fortress.  Pizarro, frightened at
the consequences of such a call, resolves to silence Florestan for
ever.  He orders the jailer to kill him, but the old man will not
burden his soul with a murder and refuses firmly.  Then Pizarro himself
determines to kill Florestan, and summons Rocco to dig a grave in the
dungeon, in order to hide all traces of the crime.

Rocco, already looking upon the gentle and diligent Fidelio as his
future son-in-law, confides to him his dreadful secret, and with
fearful forebodings she entreats him to accept her help in the heavy
work.  Pizarro gives his permission, Rocco being too old and feeble to
do the work quickly enough if alone; Pizarro has been rendered furious
by the {80} indulgence granted to the prisoners at Fidelio's entreaty,
but a feeling of triumph overcomes every other, when he sees Rocco
depart for the dungeon with his assistant.

Here we find poor Florestan chained to a stone; he is wasted to a
skeleton as his food has been reduced in quantity week by week by the
cruel orders of his tormentor.  He is gradually losing his reason; he
has visions and in each one beholds his beloved wife.

When Leonore recognizes him, she well-nigh faints, but with a
supernatural effort of strength she rallies, and begins her work.  She
has a piece of bread with her, which she gives to the prisoner and with
it the remainder of Rocco's wine.  Rocco, mild at heart, pities his
victim sincerely, but he dares not act against the orders of his
superior, fearing to lose his position, or even his life.

While Leonore refreshes the sick man, Rocco gives a sign to Pizarro,
that the work is done, and bids Fidelio leave; but she only hides
herself behind a stone-pillar, waiting with deadly fear for the coming
event and decided to save her husband or to die with him.

Pizarro enters, secretly resolved to kill not only his foe, but also
both witnesses of his crime.  He will not kill Florestan however
without letting him know, who his assailant is.  So he loudly shouts
his own much-feared name, but while he raises his dagger, Leonore
throws herself between him and Florestan, shielding the latter with her
breast.  {81} Pizarro, stupefied like Florestan, loses his presence of
mind.  Leonore profits by it and presents a pistol at him, with which
she threatens his life, should he attempt another attack.  At this
critical moment the trumpets sound, announcing the arrival of the
Minister, and Pizarro, in impotent wrath is compelled to retreat.  They
are all summoned before the Minister, who is shocked at seeing his old
friend Florestan in this sad state, but not the less delighted with and
full of reverence for the noble courage of Leonore.

Pizarro is conducted away in chains, and the faithful wife with her own
hands removes the fetters, which still bind the husband for whom she
has just won freedom and happiness.

Marcelline, feeling inclined to be ashamed of her mistake, returns to
her simple and faithful lover Jaquino.



LA FIGLIA DEL REGGIMENTO.

Comic Opera in two acts by GAETANO DONIZETTI.

Text by ST. GEORGE and BAYARD.


This opera is one of the few of Donizetti's numerous works, which still
retain their attraction for the theatre-visitor, the others are his
Lucrezia Borgia and Lucia di Lammermoor.

The "Daughter of the Regiment" happily combines Italian richness of
melody with French "esprit" and French sallies, and hence the continued
charm of this almost international music.

The libretto can be accounted good.

{82}

The scene in the first act is laid near Bologna in the year 1815, the
second act in the castle of the Marchesa di Maggiorivoglio.

Mary, a vivandiere, has been found and educated by a French sergeant,
named Sulpice, and therefore belongs in a sense to his regiment, which
is on a campaign in Italy.  She is called the "daughter" of the
regiment, which has adopted her, and she has grown up, a bright and
merry girl, full of pluck and spirit, the pet and delight of the whole
regiment.

Tonio, a young Swiss, who has fallen in love with Mary, is believed by
the grenadiers to be a spy, and is about to be hanged.  But Mary,
knowing that he has only come to see her, tells them that he lately
saved her life, when she was in danger of falling over a precipice.
This changes everything and on his expressing a desire to become one of
them, the grenadiers suffer the Swiss to enlist into their company.
After the soldiers' departure he confesses his love to Mary, who
returns it heartily.  The soldiers agree to give their consent, when
the Marchesa di Maggiorivoglio appears, and by a letter once affixed to
the foundling Mary, addressed to a Marchesa of the same name and
carefully kept by Sulpice, it is proved that Mary is the Marchesa's
niece.  Of course this noble lady refuses her consent to a marriage
with the low-born Swiss and claims Mary from her guardian.  With tears
and laments Mary takes leave of her regiment and her lover, who at once
decides to follow her.  But he {83} has enlisted as soldier and is
forbidden to leave the ranks.  Sulpice and his whole regiment curse the
Marchesa, who thus carries away their joy.

In the second act Mary is in her aunt's castle.  She has masters of
every kind for her education in order to become a lady comme il faut,
but she cannot forget her freedom, and her dear soldiers, and instead
of singing solfeggios and cavatinas, she is caught warbling her
"Rataplan", to the Marchesa's grief and sorrow.  Nor can she cease to
think of Tonio, and only after a great struggle has she been induced to
promise her hand to a nobleman, when she suddenly hears the
well-beloved sound of drums and trumpets.  It is her own regiment with
Tonio as their leader, for he has been made an officer on account of
his courage and brave behaviour.  Hoping that his altered position may
turn the Marchesa's heart in his favor, he again asks for Mary, but his
suit is once more rejected.  Then he proposes flight, but the Marchesa
detecting his plan, reveals to Mary that she is not her niece, but her
own daughter, born in early wedlock with an officer far beneath her in
rank, who soon after died in battle.  This fact she has concealed from
her family, but as it is now evident that she has closer ties with
Mary, the poor girl dares not disobey her, and, though broken-hearted,
consents to renounce Tonio.

The Marchesa invites a large company of guests to celebrate her
daughter's betrothal to the son of a neighboring duchess.  But Mary's
faithful {84} grenadiers suddenly appear to rescue her from those
hateful ties, and astonish the whole company by their recital of Mary's
early history.  The obedient maiden however, submissive to her fate, is
about to sign the marriage contract, when at last the Marchesa, touched
by her obedience and her sufferings, conquers her own pride and
consents to the union of her daughter with Tonio.  Sulpice and his
soldiers burst out into loud shouts of approbation, and the highborn
guests retire silently and disgusted.



DER FLIEGENDE HOLLAeNDER.

(THE FLYING DUTCHMAN.)

Romantic Opera in three acts by WAGNER.


This fine opera is Wagner's second work, which he composed in direst
need, when living at Paris with his young wife.  The songs, which so
well imitate the hurricane and the howling of the ocean, he himself
heard during an awful storm at sea.  The whole opera is exceedingly
characteristic and impressive.  Wagner arranged the libretto himself,
as he did for all his operas which succeeded this one.  He found the
substance of it in an old legend, which dates from the 16th century.
The flying Dutchman is a sort of wandering Jew, condemned to sail
forever on the seas, until he has found a woman, whose love to him is
faithful unto death.

In the first act we find ourselves on the high seas.  Daland, a
Norwegian skipper, has met with {85} several misfortunes on his way
home, and is compelled to anchor on a deserted shore.  There he finds
the flying Dutchman, who vainly roves from sea to sea to find death and
with it peace.  His only hope is dooms day.  He has never found a
maiden faithful to him, and he knows not how often and how long he has
vainly tried to be released from his doom.  Once, every seven years, he
is allowed to go on shore, and take a wife.  This time has now come
again, and hearing from Daland, that he has a daughter, sweet and pure,
he begins to hope once more, and offers all his wealth to the father
for a shelter under the Norwegian's roof and for the hand of his
daughter Senta.--Daland is only too glad to accept for his child, what
to him seems an immense fortune and so they sail home together.

In the second act we find Senta in the spinning-room.  The servants of
the house are together spinning and singing.  Senta is amongst them,
but her wheel does not turn, she is dreamily regarding an old picture.
It is that of the flying Dutchman, whose legend so deeply touches her,
that she has grown to love its hero, without having in reality seen him.

Senta has a wooer already in the person of Erick the hunter, but she
does not care much for him.  With deep feeling she sings to the
spinning maidens the ballad of the doomed man, as she has heard it from
Mary, her nurse:

An old captain wanted to sail round the Cape {86} of Good Hope, and as
the wind was against him, he swore a terrible oath, that he never would
leave off trying.  The devil heard him and doomed him to sail on to
eternity, but God's angel had pity on him and showed him, how he could
find deliverance through a wife, faithful unto the grave.

All the maidens pray to God, to let the maiden be found at last, when
Senta ecstatically exclaims: "I will be his wife!"  At this moment her
father's ship is announced.  Senta is about to run away to welcome him,
but is detained by Erick, who tries to win her for himself.  She
answers evasively; then Daland enters and with him a dark and gloomy
stranger.  Senta stands spell-bound: she recognizes the hero of her
picture.  The Dutchman is not less impressed, seeing in her the angel
of his dreams and as it were his deliverer, and so, meeting by the
guidance of a superior power, they seem created for each other and
Senta, accepting the offer of his hand, swears to him eternal fidelity.

In the third act we see the flying Dutchman's ship; everybody
recognizes it by its black mast and its blood-red sail.  The Norwegian
sailors call loudly to the marines of the strange ship, but nothing
stirs, everything seems dead and haunted.  At last the unearthly
inhabitants of the Dutch ship awake; they are old and gray and
wrinkled, all doomed to the fate of their captain.  They begin a wild
and gloomy song, which sends a chill into the hearts of the stout
Norwegians.

{87}

Meanwhile Erick, beholding in Senta the betrothed of the Dutchman, is
in despair.  Imploring her to turn back, he calls up old memories and
at last charges her with infidelity to him.

As soon as the Dutchman hears this accusation, he turns from Senta,
feeling that he is again lost.  But Senta will not break her faith.
Seeing the Dutchman fly from her, ready to sail away, she swiftly runs
after him and throws herself from the cliff into the waves.

By this sacrifice the spell is broken, the ghostly ship sinks for ever
into the ocean, and an angel bears the poor wanderer to eternal rest,
where he is re-united to the bride, who has proved faithful unto death.



THE FOLKUNGS.

Grand Opera in five acts by EDMUND KRETSCHMER.

Text by MOSENTHAL.


The composer of this opera evidently belongs to the most talented of
our days, and it is no wonder that his two operas "Henry the Lion" and
"The Folkungs", have rapidly found their way to every stage of
importance.  Particularly "The Folkungs" is such a happy combination of
modern orchestration, abundance of fine melody, and northern
characteristical coloring, that it charms the connoisseur as well as
the unlearned.

The scene is laid in Sweden, in the 13th century.

The first act represents the convent Nydal on the snowy heights of the
Kyoeles.  Sten Patrik, the confidant and abettor of Bengt, Duke of
Schoonen, {88} has allured Prince Magnus, second son of King Erick of
Sweden, to follow him out of his convent, and has brought him hither by
ruse and force.  He now announces to the Prince, that he may choose
between death and a nameless life in the convent Nydal, and Magnus,
having no choice, swears on Sten's sword that he, Prince Magnus, will
be forever dead to the world.

The monks receive him into their brotherhood, as he answers to the
Abbot Ansgar's questions, that he is an orphan, homeless, abandoned,
seeking peace only.  The Abbot first subjects Magnus to a trial of his
constancy, by letting him hold the night-vigil in storm and snow.--The
monks retire, leaving the unhappy Prince outside the gates.  While he
sinks into deep reverie, Lars Olafson, the castellan of the King's
castle of Bognaes, and son of the Prince's nurse, appears.  He seeks his
Prince, who so mysteriously disappeared from the world, and relates to
Magnus, that King Erick is dead, as well as his eldest son, and that
Prince Magnus is called to come and claim his throne and bride.
Princess Maria, the only surviving Folkung, is already being wooed by
their enemy, Duke Bengt of Schoonen, and now the listener understands
the vile plot against himself.  And as Lars calls him to defend his
country and his Princess against the Duke and his confederates the
Danes, Magnus considers it a sign from heaven that he is to die for his
country, a course of action, which his oath does not prohibit.

When the Abbot calls his new guest, he has {89} disappeared, and Sten
Patrik consoles himself with the thought that the fugitive must have
perished in the raging snow-storm.

The second act shows us Princess Maria in her castle Bognaes on the lake
of Maelar.  She is the King's niece and successor to the throne.  She
takes a last farewell from her people, and Bengt appears to lead her to
Upsala for the coronation.

The nurse Kariri and her son Olaf assure her of her folk's fidelity,
and when she has departed, Lars calls the men together, and presenting
the youth from Skoelen as their leader, makes them take oath of faith on
their standard.--Karin recognizes the Prince in the stranger, but he
firmly denies his identity, and with glowing words calls the people to
rise against their common foe.

The next scene begins with the act of coronation.--The crowned Queen
Maria is to announce her choice of a husband from the Mora-stone, when
her words are arrested by a look from Magnus, in whom she recognizes
the youth she loved.

But, though almost mad with longing and torment, Magnus, mindful of his
oath, still denies himself, and the Duke with his friend Sten, who both
believed themselves lost, impetuously demand the impostor's arrest.
But the Queen asserts her right to judge him herself.

In the fourth act Magnus is brought to his mother's sleeping room.  The
charm of youthful remembrances surround him, and hearing an old ballad,
which Karin sings, he forgets himself and so {90} proves his identity
beyond any doubt to the hidden listeners.  Maria rushes forward; he
folds her to his breast in a transport of love, and only when Karin
greets him as her King, he remembers that he has broken his oath, and
without more reflection precipitates himself from the balcony into the
sea.  Maria sinks back in a swoon.

In the last act Sten Patrik comes, to remind Bengt of his promise to
give him Schoonen.  The Duke refuses to pay him, now that Sweden is in
revolt and the Prince living.  Sten threatens to reveal his treachery
against Magnus.  Bengt is about to kill the only accomplice in his
deed, when Maria, who has heard all, arrests his arm, and accuses him
of murder.  Then she rushes to the balcony to call her people to
vengeance.  Bengt draws his sword to stab her, but the people throng
in, seize and throw him into the sea.  Now Maria hears with rapture
that Magnus lives and has driven away the Danes.  With him enter the
monks, whose Abbot releases the Prince from his oath.  Maria lovingly
embracing him, places her crown on her bridegroom's head and all cry
hail! to their King Magnus Ericson.



FRA DIAVOLO.

Comic Opera in three acts by AUBER.

Text by SCRIBE.


This nice little opera, though not equal in beauty and perfection to
the "Muette de Portici" by the same author, is notwithstanding, a happy
{91} invention of Auber's, particularly because the local tints are so
well caught.  The banditti are painted with bright and glowing colors,
and the part of the heroine, Zerline is the most grateful ever written
for a soubrelte.  The text by Scribe abounds in happy sallies and
lively details.  It is laid at Terracina in Italy.  Fra Diavolo is a
celebrated and much feared chief of brigands.  The Roman court of
justice has set a price of 10,000 piastres on his head.  In the first
act we meet with the Roman soldiers who undertake to win the money.
Their captain Lorenzo has a double aim in trying to catch the brigand.
He is Zerline's lover, but having no money, Zerline's father Matteo,
the owner of a hotel, threatens to give her to a rich farmer's son.
Meanwhile Fra Diavolo has forced his society on a rich English lord,
Cookburn by name, who is on his wedding-tour with his fair young wife
Pamella.  Lord Cookburn looks jealously at Fra Diavolo, though he does
not recognize in him a brigand.  The English are robbed by Diavolo's
band.  Disgusted with the insecurity of "la bella Italia" they reach
the inn at Terracina, where the dragoons, hearing the account of this
new robbery, believe that it was Fra Diavolo with his band, and at once
decide to pursue him.

Shortly afterwards Fra Diavolo arrives at the inn, disguised as the
Marquis of San Marco, under which name the English lord has already
made his acquaintance.  He is not enchanted by the arrival of this
Marquis; he fears a new flirtation {92} with his own fair wife.
Pamella wears most valuable diamonds, and these strike the eye of Fra
Diavolo.

He sees that the English have been clever enough to conceal the greater
part of their wealth and resolves to put himself speedily into
possession of it.

He is flirting desperately with Pamella and looking tenderly at the
pretty Zerline, when the soldiers return, having captured twenty of the
brigands and retaken the greater part of Lord Cookburn's money and
jewels.  Lorenzo, the captain of dragoons is rewarded by the
magnanimous Lord with 10,000 Lire, and may now hope to win Zerline's
hand.  But Fra Diavolo vows to avenge the death of his comrades on
Lorenzo.

In the second act he conceals himself behind the curtains in Zerline's
sleeping-room, and during the night he admits his two companions Beppo
and Giacomo.  Zerline enters and is about to retire to rest, after
praying to the Holy Virgin for protection.--During her sleep Giacomo is
to stab her, while the two others are to rob the English Milord.

But Zerline's prayer, and her innocence touch even the robbers, the
deed is delayed, and this delay brings Lorenzo upon them.  Fra
Diavolo's two companions hide themselves, and the false Marquis alone
is found in Zerline's room.  He assures Lorenzo, that he had a
rendez-vous with his bride, and at the same time whispers into Milord's
ear, that he came by appointment with Milady, showing {93} her
portrait, of which he had robbed her the day before, as proof.  The
consequence of these lies is a challenge from Lorenzo, and a meeting
with Diavolo is fixed.  The latter is full of triumphant glee; he has
arranged a deep-laid plan with the surviving members of his band and
hopes to ensnare not only Lorenzo but his whole company.  Ordinarily
Diavolo is a noble brigand; he never troubles women, and he loads poor
people with gifts, taking the gold out of rich men's purses only, but
now he is full of ire and his one thought is of vengeance.

Finally he is betrayed by the carelessness of his own helpmates.  Beppo
and Giacomo, seeing Zerline, recognize in her their fair prey of the
evening before and betray themselves by repeating some of the words
which she had given utterance to.  Zerline, hearing them, is now able
to comprehend the wicked plot, which was woven to destroy her
happiness.  The two banditta are captured and compelled to lure their
captain into a trap.  Diavolo appears, not in his disguise as a
Marquis, but in his own well-known dress, with the red plume waving
from his bonnet, and being assured by Beppo, that all is secure, is
easily captured.  Now all the false imputations are cleared up.  Milord
is reconciled to his wife and Lorenzo obtains the hand of the lovely
Zerline.



{94}

FRAUENLOB.

Opera in three acts by REINHOLD BECKER.

Text by FRANZ KOPPEL-ELLFELD.


Becker, the well-known Dresden composer, has long won name and fame by
his beautiful songs, which may be heard all over the continent.  He is
a first-rate "Liedermeister", and great was the excitement, with which
his friends looked forward to his first opera.

Their expectations were not deceived, for the opera was put on the
stage in Dresden on Dec. 8th 1892, and was received with unanimous
applause.

Becker is not one of those high-flown artists who elevate us to the
skies; he rather lacks dramatic strength; the lyric element is his
strong point.  By the Lied he finds his way direct to the hearts of his
hearers, and where ever this could be woven into the action of his
opera, he has done it with subtle taste.  Tilda's dancing-air in the
first act, the evening-song, sung while the people are gliding down the
Rhine in boats, whose lovely variations remind us of quaint old airs of
bye-gone days,--the chorus of the stone-masons in the second act, and
the love-duet in the third are brilliant gems in Becker's music.

The libretto rivals the best of its kind.

The scene is laid near and in Maintz in the year 1308; it takes place
during the reign of Ludwig, Emperor of Bavaria.

Heinrich Frauenlob, the famous minstrel, who had won his name by his
songs in women's praise, {95} is by birth a knight, Dietherr zur Meise.
Years ago he slew the Truchsess of Maintz in self-defence, and having
therefore become an outlaw, had entered the service of the Emperor.  In
the beginning of the opera we find him however near Maintz, where he
stays as a guest at his friend's Wolf's castle.  He takes part in the
people's festival on Midsummer day, deeming himself unknown.

When the customary St. John's fire is lighted, no one dares leap over
it for fear of an old gipsy's prophesy, which threatened with sudden
death the first who should attempt it.  Frauenlob, disregarding the
prophesy, persuades Hildegund, Ottker von Scharfenstein's fair ward, to
venture through the fire with him.  Hildegund is the slain Truchsess'
daughter, and has sworn, to wed the avenger of her father's death, but
each lover is unconscious of the other's name.  The gipsy Sizyga alone,
who had been betrayed in her youth by Frauenlob's father, recognizes
the young knight, and though he has only just saved the old hag from
the people's fury, she wishes to avenge her wrongs on him.  To this end
she betrays the secret of Frauenlob's birth to Hildegund's suitor,
Servazio di Bologna, who is highly jealous of this new rival, and
determines to lay hands on him, as soon as he enters the gates of
Maintz.--Frauenlob, though warned by Sizyga, enters Maintz attracted by
Hildegund's sweet graces; he is determined to confess everything, and
then to fly with her, should she be willing to follow him.

{96}

The second act opens with a fine song of the warder of the tower.  The
city awakes, the stonemasons assemble, ready to greet the Emperor,
whose arrival is expected.  Tilda, Hildegund's friend, and daughter to
Klas, chief of the stone-masons is going to church, but on her way she
is accosted by the knight Wolf, who has lost his heart to her, and now,
forgetting his plan to look for Frauenlob, follows the lovely
damsel.--When Frauenlob comes up, and sees again the well-known places
of his youth, he is deeply touched, but seeing his lady love step on
the balcony and soon after come down to enter the dome, he waylays her,
imploring her, to fly with him.  At this moment Servazio, who has lain
in wait, steps forth with officers, who capture Frauenlob.  Servazio
now reveals the singer's secret and Hildegund hears that her lover is
her father's murderer.  Though Frauenlob tells Hildegund, that he
killed her father in self-defence, she turns from him shuddering.
Feeling that all hopes of his future happiness are at an end, he wishes
to atone for his deed by death, refusing the help of Wolf, who comes up
with his men, to release him.  But the stone-masons, having recognized
the celebrated minstrel, with whose song they are about to greet the
Emperor, decide to invoke the latter's clemency.

In the third act the citizens of Maintz hail the Emperor, after which
Frauenlob's cause is brought before him.  The whole population demands
his pardon, and the monarch, who loves the singer, {97} would fain
liberate him, had not Servazio roughly insisted on the culprit's
punishment.  Uncertain, what to do, the Emperor receives a long
procession of ladies with Tilda at its head, who all beseech pardon for
Frauenlob.  At last the Emperor calls for Hildegund, leaving in her
hands the destiny of the prisoner.  Left alone with him the latter,
prepared to die, only craves her pardon.  After a hard struggle with
her conscience, love conquers and she grants him pardon.  When the
Emperor reenters with his suite, to hear the sentence, they find the
lovers in close embrace.  To the joy of everybody the Monarch sanctions
the union and orders the nuptials to be celebrated at once.  Another
pair, Wolf and Tilda are also made happy.  But Servazio vows vengeance.
Sizyga, having secretly slipped a powder into his hands, he pours it
into a cup of wine, which he presents to Frauenlob as a drink of
reconciliation.  The Emperor handing the goblet to Hildegund, bids her
drink to her lover.  Testing it, she at once feels its deadly effect.
Frauenlob, seeing his love stagger, snatches the cup from her emptying
it at one draught.  He dies, still praising the Emperor and women,
breathing the name of his bride with his last breath.  Servazio is
captured, and while Hildegund's body is strewn with roses, the wailing
women of Maintz carry their beloved minstrel to his grave.--



{98}

DER FREISCHUeTZ.

Romantic Opera in three acts by C. M. VON WEBER.

Text by FRIEDRICH KIND.


This charming opera done at Dresden 1820, is the most favored of
Weber's compositions.  It is truly German, being both fantastic and
poetic.  The libretto is an old German legend and runs thus:

A young huntsman, Max, is in love with Agathe,' daughter of Cuno, the
chief-ranger of Prince Ottocar of Bohemia.  Max woos her, but their
union depends on a master-shot, which he is to deliver on the following
morning.

During a village-festival he has all day been unlucky in shooting, and
we see him full of anger and sorrow, being mocked at by peasants, more
lucky than he.

His comrade, Caspar, one of the ranger's older huntsmen is his evil
genius.  He has sold himself to the devil, is a gloomy, mysterious
fellow, and hopes to save his soul by delivering some other victim to
the demon.  He wants to tempt Max to try enchanted bullets, to be
obtained at the cross-road during the midnight-hour, by drawing a magic
circle with a bloody sword and invoking the name of the mysterious
huntsman.  Father Cuno, hearing him, drives him away, begging Max to
think of his bride and to pray to God for success.

But Max cannot forget the railleries of the peasants; he broods over
his misfortunes and when {99} he is well-nigh despairing, Caspar, who
meanwhile calls Samiel (the devil in person) to help, encourages him to
take refuge in stimulants.  He tries to intoxicate the unhappy lover by
pouring drops from a phial into his wine.  When Max has grown more and
more excited, Caspar begins to tell him of nature's secret powers,
which might help him.  Max first struggles against the evil influence,
but when Caspar, handing him his gun, lets him shoot an eagle, soaring
high in the air, his huntman's heart is elated and he wishes to become
possessed of such bullet.  Caspar tells him that they are enchanted and
persuades him to a meeting in the Wolf's-glen at midnight, where the
bullets may be moulded.

In the second act Agathe is with her cousin Aennchen.  Agathe is the
true German maiden, serious and thoughtful almost to melancholy.  She
presents a marked contrast to her gay and light-hearted cousin, who
tries to brighten Agathe with fun and frolic.  They adorn themselves
with roses, which Agathe received from a holy hermit, who blessed her,
but warned her of impending evil.  So Agathe is full of dread
forebodings, and after Aennchen's departure she fervently prays to
Heaven for her beloved.  When she sees him come to her through the
forest with flowers on his hat, her fears vanish, and she greets him
joyously.  But Max only answers hurriedly, that having killed a stag in
the Wolf's-glen, he is obliged to return there.  Agathe, filled with
terror at the mention {100} of this ill-famed name wants to keep him
back, but ere she can detain him, he has fled.  With hurried steps Max
approaches the Wolf's-glen, where Caspar is already occupied in forming
circles of black stones, in the midst of which he places a skull, an
eagle's wing, a crucible and a bullet-mould.  Caspar then calls on
Samiel, invoking him to allow him a few more years on earth.  To-morrow
is the day appointed for Satan to take his soul, but Caspar promises to
surrender Max in exchange.  Samiel, who appears through the cleft of a
rock, agrees to let him have six of the fatal balls, reserving only the
seventh for himself.

Caspar then proceeds to make the bullets, Max only looking on, stunned
and remorseful at what he sees.  His mother's spirit appears to him,
but he is already under the influence of the charm, he cannot move.
The proceeding goes forward amid hellish noise.  A hurricane arises,
flames and devilish forms flicker about, wild and horrible creatures
rush by and others follow in hot pursuit.  The noise grows worse, the
earth seems to quake, until at length after Caspar's reiterated
invocations Samiel shows himself at the word, "seven".  Max and Caspar
both make the sign of the cross, and fall on their knees more dead than
alive.

In the third act we find Agathe, waiting for her bridesmaids.  She is
perturbed and sad, having had frightful dreams, and not knowing what
has become of Max.  Aennchen consoles her, diverting her with a merry
song, until the bridesmaids {101} enter, bringing flowers and gifts.
They then prepare to crown her with the bridal wreath, when lo, instead
of the myrtle, there lies in the box a wreath of white roses, the
ornament of the dead.

Meanwhile everybody is assembled on the lawn near Prince Ottocar's
tent, to be present at the firing of the master-shot.  The Prince
points out to Max a white dove as an object at which to aim.  At this
critical moment Agathe appears, crying out: "Don't shoot Max, I am the
white dove!"  But it is too late; Max has fired, and Agathe sinks down
at the same time as Caspar, who has been waiting behind a tree and who
now falls heavily to the ground, while the dove flies away unhurt,
Everybody believes that Max has shot his bride, but she is only in a
swoon; the bullet has really killed the villain Caspar.  It was the
seventh, the direction of which Samiel reserved for himself, and Satan
having no power over the pious maiden, directed it on Caspar, already
forfeited to him.  Max confesses his sin with deep remorse.  The Prince
scornfully bids him leave his dominions for ever.  But Agathe prays for
him, and at last the Prince follows the hermit's advice, giving the
unhappy youth a year of probation, during which to prove his
repentance, and grow worthy of his virtuous bride.



{102}

FRIEND FRITZ.

A lyric Comedy in three acts by PIETRO MASCAGNI

Text after ERCKMANN-CHATRIAN'S novel of the same name.


After the immense success of Cavalleria Rusticana, the first
representation of Amico Fritz was awaited with feverish impatience by
the whole musical world.

But the high-strung expectations were not fulfilled.  Though many
pretended that the music was nobler and more artistic than that of the
author's first work, the success was by no means as great as Mascagni's
friends anticipated.  In Vienna and Berlin it was even received with
partial coolness.  But lo, the first representation in Dresden on June
2nd 1892 took place with a marked and decided success.

The artistically trained orchestra brought out to perfection all the
finesses, all the delightful shades of the music, and since that day
the opera has not failed to bring a full house.

The subject in itself is too simple for Mascagni's strong dramatic
talent, hence the lack of interest, hence the disillusion of so many.

Granting this, we cannot but admire the genius, which can compose an
opera so full of refined and noble sentiment, based on such a simple
plot.

No music more charming than the march, taken as well as the Pastorale
from a national Alsacian song, none more sweet and melodious, than the
Intermezzo and the cherry-duet.  The {103} finely depicted details in
the orchestra are a delight for musical ears.

The simple text follows strictly the French original.

Fritz Kobus, a well to do landowner receives the felicitations of his
friends on his fortieth birthday.  At the same time his old friend
Rabbi David, as consumate a match-maker, as Fritz is an inveterate
bachelor receives from the latter a loan of 1200 francs which is to
enable a poor girl to marry her lover.  Fritz gives it very graciously,
congratulating himself, that he is free from hymen's bonds.

He treats his friends to a hearty dinner, in which Susel, his tenant's
daughter, who comes to present her landlord with a nosegay of violets,
joins.  Fritz makes her sit beside him, and for the first time remarks
the growing loveliness of the young maiden.  While they are feasting a
gipsy, Seppel, plays a serenade in honor of the birthday, which makes a
deep impression on fair Susel.  When the latter has departed, the
joviality of the company increases.  Hanczo and Friedrich, two friends
laughingly prophesy to the indignant Fritz, that he will soon be
married, and David even makes a bet, which, should he prove right will
make him owner of one of his friend's vineyards.  At the end of the
first act a procession of orphans hail the landlord as their benefactor.

In the second act we find our friend Fritz as guest in the house of his
tenant.  Susel is sedulously engaged in selecting flowers and cherries
for her {104} landlord, who, coming down into the garden, is presented
by her with flowers.  Soon she mounts a ladder, and plucking cherries,
throws them to Fritz, who is uncertain which are the sweeter, the
maiden's red lips or the ripe cherries, which she offers him.  In the
midst of their enjoyment the sound of bells and cracking of whips is
heard, Fritz's friends enter.  He soon takes them off for a walk, only
old David stays behind with Susel, pleading fatigue.  Taking occasion
of her presenting him with a drink of fresh water, he makes her tell
him the old story of Isaac and Rebecca and is quite satisfied to guess
at the state of her feelings by the manner in which she relates the
simple story.  On Fritz's return he archly communicates to him that he
has found a suitable husband for Susel, and that he has her father's
consent.  The disgust and fright, which Fritz experiences at this news
reveals to him something of his own feelings for the charming maiden.
He decides to return home at once, and does not even take farewell of
Susel, who weeps in bitter disappointment.

In the third act Fritz, at home again, can find no peace anywhere.
When David tells him that Susel's marriage is a decided fact he breaks
out, and in his passion downright forbids the marriage.  At this moment
Susel appears, bringing her landlord a basket of fruit.  She looks pale
and sad, and when Fritz sarcastically asks her whether she comes to
invite him to her wedding, she bursts into tears.  Then the real state
of her heart is {105} revealed to him, and with passionate avowal of
his own love, amico Fritz takes her to his heart.  So David wins his
wager, which however he settles on Susel as a dowry, promising at the
same time to procure wives before long for the two friends standing
by.--



GENOVEVA.

Opera in four acts by ROBERT SCHUMANN.

Text after HEBBEL and TIECK.


The music of this opera is surpassingly delightful.  Though Schumann's
genius was not that of a dramatist of a very high order, this opera
deserves to be known and esteemed universally.  Nowhere can melodies be
found finer or more poetical and touching than in this noble musical
composition, the libretto of which may also be called interesting,
though it is faulty in its want of action.

It is the old legend of Genoveva somewhat altered.  Siegfried, Count of
the Palatinate, is ordered by the Emperor Charles Martell to join him
in the war with the infidels, who broke out of Spain under Abdurrhaman.
The noble Count recommends his wife Genoveva and all he possesses, to
the protection of his friend Golo, who is however secretly in love with
his master's wife.  After Siegfried has said farewell she falls into a
swoon, which Golo takes advantage of to kiss her, thereby still further
exciting his flaming passion.  Genoveva finally awakes and goes away to
mourn in silence for her husband.

{106}

Golo being alone, an old hag Margaretha, whom he takes for his nurse,
comes to console him.

She is in reality his mother and has great schemes for her son's future
happiness.  She insinuates to him that Genoveva, being alone, needs
consolation and will easily be led on to accept more tender attentions,
and she promises him her assistance.  The second act show Genoveva's
room.  She longs sadly for her husband and sees with pain and disgust
the insolent behavior of the servants, whose wild songs penetrate into
her silent chamber.

Golo enters to bring her the news of a great victory over Abdurrhaman,
news, which fill her heart with joy.

She bids Golo sing and sweetly accompanies his song, which so fires his
passion that he falls upon his knees and frightens her by glowing
words.  Vainly she bids him leave her; he only grows more excited, till
she repulses him with the word "bastard".  Now his love turns into
hatred, and when Drago, the faithful steward comes to announce that the
servants begin to be more and more insolent, daring even to insult the
good name of the Countess, Golo asserts that they speak the truth about
her.  He persuades the incredulous Drago to hide himself in Genoveva's
room, the latter having retired for the night's rest.

Margaretha, listening at the door, hears everything.  She tells Golo
that Count Siegfried lies wounded at Strassbourg; she has intercepted
his {107} letter to the Countess and prepares to leave for that town,
in order to nurse the Count and kill him slowly by some deadly poison.
Then Golo calls quickly for the servants, who all assemble to penetrate
into their mistress' room.  She repulses them full of wounded pride,
but at last she yields, and herself taking the candle to light the room
proceeds to search, when Drago is found behind the curtains and at once
silenced by Golo, who runs his dagger through his heart.  Genoveva is
led into the prison of the castle.

The third act takes place at Strassbourg, where Siegfried is being
nursed by Margaretha.  His strength defies her perfidy, and he is full
of impatience to return to his loving wife, when Golo enters bringing
him the news of her faithlessness.

Siegfried in despair bids Golo kill her with his own sword.  He decides
to fly into the wilderness, but before fulfilling his design, he goes
once more to Margaretha, who has promised to show him all that passed
at home during his absence.  He sees Genoveva in a magic looking-glass,
exchanging kindly words with Drago, but there is no appearance of guilt
in their intercourse.  The third image shows Genoveva sleeping on her
couch, and Drago approaching her.  With an imprecation Siegfried starts
up, bidding Golo avenge him, but at the same instant the glass flies in
pieces with a terrible crash, and Drago's ghost stands before
Margaretha, commanding her to tell Siegfried the truth.

{108}

In the fourth act Genoveva is being led into the wilderness by two
ruffians, who have orders to murder her.  Before this is done, Golo
approaches her once more, showing her Siegfried's ring and sword, with
which he has been bidden kill her.  He tries hard to win her, but she
turns from him with scorn and loathing, preferring death to dishonor.
At length relinquishing his attempts, he beckons to the murderers to do
their work and hands them Count Siegfried's weapon.  Genoveva in her
extreme need seizes the cross of the Saviour, praying fervently, and
detains the ruffians till at the last moment Siegfried appears, led by
the repentant Margaretha.  There ensues a touching scene of
forgiveness, while Golo rushes away to meet his fate by falling over a
precipice.



THE GOLDEN CROSS.

Opera in two acts by IGNAZ BRULL.

Text by MOSENTHAL.


Brull, born at Prossnitz in Moravia, Nov. 7th, 1846, received his
musical education in Vienna and is well known as a good pianist.  He
has composed different operas, of which however the above-mentioned is
the only popular one.

This charming little opera, which rendered its composer famous, has
passed beyond the frontiers of Germany and is now translated into
several languages.

The text is skillfully arranged, and so combined as to awaken our
interest.

{109}

The scene is laid in a village near Melun in the years between 1812 and
15.

Nicolas (or Cola) Pariset, an innkeeper, is betrothed to his cousin
Therese.  Unfortunately just on his wedding-day a sergeant, named
Bombardon, levies him for the army, which is to march against the
Russians.  Vainly does Therese plead for her betrothed, and equally in
vain is it that she is joined in her pleading by Nicolas' sister
Christine.  The latter is passionately attached to her brother, who has
hitherto been her only care.  Finally Christine promises to marry any
man who will go as substitute for her brother.  Gontran de l'Ancry, a
young nobleman, whose heart is touched by the maiden's tenderness and
beauty, places himself at Bombardon's disposal and receives from him
the golden cross, which Christine has placed in his hands, to be
offered as a pledge of fidelity to her brother's deliverer.  Christine
does not get to know him, as Gontran departs immediately.  The act
closes with Cola's marriage.

The second act takes place two years later.  Cola, who could not be
detained from marching against the enemy, has been wounded, but saved
from being killed by an officer, who received the bullet instead.  Both
return to Cola's house as invalids and are tended by the two women.
The strange officer, who is no other than Gontran, loves Christine and
she returns his passion, but deeming herself bound to another, she does
not betray her feeling.  Gontran is about to bid her farewell, but
{110} when in the act of taking leave, he perceives her love and tells
her that he is the officer, who was once substitute for her brother in
the war.

Christine is full of happiness; Gontran when asked for the token of her
promise, tells her, that the cross was taken from him, as he lay
senseless on the field of battle.  At this moment Bombardon, returning
also as invalid, presents the cross to Christine, and she believing
that Gontran has lied to her and that Bombardon is her brother's
substitute, promises her hand to him, with a bleeding heart, but
Bombardon relates that the true owner of the cross has fallen on the
battle-field and that he took it from the dead body.  Christine now
resolves to enter in a convent, when suddenly Gontran's voice is heard.
Bombardon recognizes his friend, whom he believed to be dead,
everything is explained and the scene ends with the marriage of the
good and true lovers.



THE TWO GRENADIERS.

Comic Opera in three acts by ALBERT LORTZING.

Text adapted from the French.


After a long interval of quiet Lortzing's charming music seems to be
brought to honor again and no wonder.--The ears of the public grow
overtired, or may we say over-taxed by Wagner's grand music, which his
followers still surpass, though only in noise and external effects;
they long for simplicity, for melody.  Well, Lortzing's operas overflow
with real, true, simple melody, and {111} generally in genuine good
humour.--For many years only two of his operas have been performed,
viz, "Undine" and "Czar and Zimmermann".--Now Hamburg has set the good
example, by representing a whole cyclus (seven operas of Lortzing's),
and Dresden has followed with the "Two Grenadiers."

The opera was composed in the year 1837 and is of French origin and
though its music breathes German humour and naivete, the French
influence may be felt clearly.  The persons show life and movement, the
music is light-hearted, graceful and truly comic.

The scene takes place in a little country-town, where we find Busch, a
wealthy inn-keeper, making preparations for the arrival of his only
son.  The young man had entered a Grenadier regiment at the age of
sixteen, ten years before, so the joyful event of his home-coming is
looked forward to with pleasure by his father and sister Suschen, but
with anxiety by a friend of hers, Caroline, to whom young Busch had
been affianced before joining his regiment.

Enter two young Grenadiers from the regiment on leave, the younger of
whom falls in love with Suschen at first sight.  However as the elder
Grenadier, Schwarzbart, dolefully remarks, they are both almost
pennyless and he reflects how he can possibly help them in their need.
His meditations are interrupted by the arrival of the landlord, who,
seeing the two knapsacks, and recognizing one of them as that of his
son, naturally supposes the owner to be his offspring, in which belief
he is {112} confirmed by Schwarzbart, who is induced to practice this
deceit, partly by the desire of getting a good dinner and the means of
quenching his insatiable thirst, partly by the hope of something
turning up in favour of his companion in arms, Wilhelm.  As a matter of
fact the knapsack does not belong to Wilhelm at all.  On leaving the
inn, at which the banquet following the wedding of one of their
comrades, had been held, the knapsacks had inadvertently been exchanged
much to Wilhelm's dismay, his own containing a lottery ticket which, as
he has just learnt, had won a great prize.  The supposed son is of
course received with every demonstration of affection by his fond
parent, but though submitting with a very good grace to the endearments
of his supposed sister--the maiden, with whom he had fallen in love so
suddenly--he resolutely declines being hugged and made much of by the
old landlord, this double-part being entirely distasteful to his
straightforward nature.  Nor does his affianced bride, the daughter of
the bailiff, fare any better, his affections being placed elsewhere,
and their bewilderment is only somewhat appeased by Schwarzbart's
explanation that his comrade suffers occasionally from weakness of the
brain.

In the next act Peter, a youth of marvellous stupidity and cousin of
the bailiff, presents himself in a woful plight, to which he has been
reduced by some soldiers at the same wedding festivities, and shortly
after Gustav, the real son appears on the scene.  He is a manly fellow,
full of tender {113} thoughts for his home.  Great is therefore his
surprise at finding himself repulsed by his own father, who not
recognizing him, believes him to be an impostor.  All the young man's
protestations are of no avail, for in his knapsack are found the papers
of a certain Wilhelm Stark, for whom he is now mistaken.--When silly
Peter perceives him, he believes him to be the Grenadier, who had so
ill-treated him at the wedding, though in reality it was Schwarzbart.
Gustav is shut up in a large garden-house of his father's; the small
town lacking a prison.

In the third act the Magistrate has found out that Wilhelm's papers
prove him to be the bailiff's son, being the offspring of his first
love ----, who had been with a clergyman, and who, after the death of
the bailiff's wife is vainly sought for by his father.  Of course this
changes everything for the prisoner, who is suddenly accosted
graciously by his gruff guardian Barsch, and does not know what to make
of his mysterious hints.

Meanwhile Caroline's heart has spoken for the stranger, who had
addressed her so courteously and chivalrously; she feels that, far from
being an impostor, he is a loyal and true-hearted young fellow and
therefore decides to liberate him.  At the same time enter Wilhelm with
Schwarzbart, seeking Suschen; Peter slips in for the same reason,
seeking her, for Suschen is to be his bride.  Gustav, (the prisoner)
hearing footsteps, blows out the candle, in order to save Caroline from
being recognized {114} and so they all run about in the dark, playing
hide and seek in an infinitely droll manner.  At last the bailiff,
having heard that his son has been found, comes up with the
inn-keeper.--The whole mystery is cleared up, and both sons embrace
their respective fathers and their brides.



HAMLET.

Grand Opera in five acts by AMBROISE THOMAS.

Text taken from SHAKESPEARE by MICHEL CARRE and JULES BARBIER.


Hamlet was first reproduced in Paris in 1868, a year after the
representation of Mignon, but it never reached the latter's popularity.
This is not due to the music, which is very fine, and even nobler than
in Mignon, but to the horrid mutilation of Shakespeare's glorious
tragedy, which almost turns into ridicule the most sublime thoughts.

The text is soon explained.  We find the Shakespearean name with their
thoughts and deeds turned into operatic jargon.

The first act shows Hamlet's disgust and pain at his mother's early
wedding with Claudius, King of Denmark, only two months after her first
husband's death.  Ophelia vainly tries to divert his somber thoughts,
he finds her love very sweet however, and when her brother Laertes,
before starting on a long journey commends her to his friends'
protection, Hamlet swears to be true to her unto death.

In the interview at midnight with his father's ghost, Hamlet
experiences great revulsion of feeling, when he discovers that his
mother's second {115} husband, is his father's murderer.  The ghost
urges Hamlet, to avenge his parent, which he swears to do.

In the second act we find Hamlet quite changed.  He not only avoids his
father and mother, but also shuns Ophelia, who vainly tries to
understand his strange behaviour.  Determined to find out the truth
about Claudius' guilt, Hamlet has paid some actor, to play the old
tragedy of Gonzaga's murder.  When the actor pours the poison into the
sleeping King's mouth Claudius sinks back half fainting, and Hamlet,
keenly observant, loudly accuses him of his father's death.  But he is
unable to act and after the King's escape he seeks his mother's room to
ponder on his wrongs.  Hidden behind a pillar he overhears from
Claudius' own lips that Ophelia's father, old Polonius is the King's
accomplice.  This destroys the last spark of his belief in humanity.
Thrusting the weeping Ophelia from him, he advises her to shut herself
into convent and to bid farewell to all earthly joys.  Left alone with
his mother he wildly reproaches her, and at last so far forgets
himself, that he is about to kill her, had not his father's ghost
appeared once more, exhorting him to take vengeance but to spare his
mother.

This scene is very powerful, the music of strange and weird beauty.--

In the fourth act poor demented Ophelia takes part in the plays of the
village-maidens.  The Swedish song she sings to them is full of sweet
pathos.  When her playmates leave her, she hides {116} among the
willows, enticed into the water by the "Neck" (Swedish for Sirens),
whose own song she has sung.  Slowly floating out on the waves her
voice dies away softly.  With her death the interest in the opera ends;
however a fifth act takes us to her grave, where the whole funeral
procession arrives.  The ghost once more appeals to Hamlet for
vengeance, until he rouses himself and runs his sword through Claudius,
after which the ghost disappears, while Hamlet is elected King of
Denmark on the spot.

The audience in German theatres is spared this last piece of absurdity
and the play is brought to a more appropriate close by Hamlet's
stabbing himself on his bride's bier.



HANSEL AND GRETEL.

A Fairytale in three pictures by ADELHEID WETTE.

Music by ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK.


After a long period of "Sturm und Drang" we have an opera so fresh and
simple, that any child will delight in it!  It not only captivates
children and people of simple tastes; but, the most blases must
acknowledge its charms.  No thrilling drama, but a simple fairytale,
known in every nursery has achieved this wonder.  It is a revelation.
True music finds its way to the hearts, and how wonderfully refreshing
are these simple nursery songs, recalling days of sweet childhood, how
droll and truly realistic are these children in {117} their natural and
naive sauciness!  Here is no display of human passions; simply and
clearly the old fairytale goes on, embellished by the masterly way in
which the musician handles the modern orchestra.

The first act represents the miserable little hut of a broom-maker.
Hansel is occupied in binding brooms, Gretel is knitting and singing
old nursery-songs, such as "Susy, dear Susy, what rattles in the
straw."  Both children are very hungry, and wait impatiently for the
arrival of their parents.  Hansel is particularly bad-tempered, but the
merry and practical Gretel finding some milk in a pot, soon soothes his
ruffled feelings by the promise of a nice rice-pap in the evening.
Forgetting work and hunger, they begin to dance and frolic, until they
roll on the ground together.  At this moment their mother enters, and
seeing the children idle, her wrath is kindled, and she rushes at them
with the intention of giving them a sound whipping.  Alas instead of
Hansel she strikes the pot and upsets the milk.  The mother's vexation
cools and only sorrow remains, but she quickly puts a little basket
into Gretel's hands, and drives the children away, bidding them look
for strawberries in the woods.  Then sinking on a chair utterly
exhausted, she falls asleep.  She is awakened by her husband, who comes
in singing and very gay.  She sees that he has had a drop too much and
is about to reproach him, but the words die on her lips, when she sees
him unfold his treasures, consisting of eggs, bread, butter and coffee.
He tells her that he has {118} been very fortunate at the church-ale
(Kirmes), and bids her prepare supper at once.  Alas, the pot is
broken, and the mother relates, that finding the children idle, anger
got the better of her, and the pot was smashed to pieces.  He
goodnaturedly laughs at her discomfiture, but his merriment is changed
to grief, when he hears that their children are still in the forest,
perhaps even near the Ilsenstein, where the wicked fairy lives, who
entices children in order to bake and devour them.  This thought so
alarms the parents that they rush off, to seek the children in the
forest.

The second act is laid near the ill-famed Ilsenstein.  Hansel has
filled his basket with strawberries, and Gretel is winding a garland of
red hips, with which Hansel crowns her.  He presents her also with a
bunch of wild flowers and playfully does homage to this queen of the
woods.  Gretel enjoying the play, pops one berry after another into her
brother's mouth; then they both eat, while listening to the cuckoo.
Before they are aware of it, they have eaten the whole contents of the
basket and observe with terror, that it has grown too dark, either to
look for a fresh supply, or to find their way home.  Gretel begins to
weep and to call for her parents, but Hansel, rallying his courage,
takes her in his arms and soothes her, until they both grow sleepy.
The dustman comes, throwing his dust into their eyes, but before their
lids close, they say their evening-prayer; then they fall asleep and
the fourteen guardian-angels, whose {119} protection they invoked, are
seen stepping down the heavenly ladder to guard their sleep.

In the third act the morning dawns.  Crystal drops are showered on the
children by the angel of the dew, Gretel opens her eyes first and wakes
her brother with a song.  They are still entranced by the beautiful
angel-dream they have had, when suddenly their attention is aroused by
the sight of a little house, made entirely of cake and sugar.
Approaching it on tiptoe, they begin to break off little bits, but a
voice within calls out "Tip tap, tip tap, who raps at my house?"  "The
wind, the wind, the heavenly child" they answer continuing to eat and
to laugh nothing daunted.  But the door opens softly and out glides the
witch, who quickly throws a rope around Hansel's throat.  Urging the
children to enter her house, she tells her name, Rosina sweet-tooth.
The frightened children try to escape, but the fairy raises her staff
and by a magic charm keeps them spellbound.  She imprisons Hansel in a
small stable with a lattice-door, and gives him almonds and currants to
eat, then turning to Gretel, who has stood rooted to the spot, she
breaks the charm with a juniper bough, and compels her to enter the
house and make herself useful.

Believing Hansel to be asleep, she turns to the oven, and kindles the
fire, then breaking into wild glee she seizes a broom and rides on it
round the house singing, Gretel all the while observing her keenly.
Tired with her exertions the witch awakes {120} Hansel and bids him
show his finger, at which command Hansel stretches out a small piece of
wood.  Seeing him so thin, the witch calls for more food and while she
turns her back, Gretel quickly takes up the juniper bough, and speaking
the formula, disenchants her brother.  Meanwhile the witch turning to
the oven, tells Gretel, to creep into it, in order to see, if the
honey-cakes are ready, but the little girl, affecting stupidity begs
her, to show, how she is to get in.  The witch impatiently bends
forward and at the same moment Gretel assisted by Hansel, who has
escaped from his prison pushes her into the hot oven and slams the iron
door.--The wicked witch burns to ashes, while the oven cracks and roars
and finally falls to pieces.  With astonishment the brother and sister
see a long row of children, from whom the honey-crust has fallen off,
standing stiff and stark.  Gretel tenderly caresses one of them, who
opens his eyes and smiles.  She now touches them all, and Hansel,
seizing the juniper bough works the charm and recalls them to new life.
The cake-children thank them warmly, and they all proceed to inspect
the treasures of the house, when Hansel hears their parents calling
them.  Great is the joy of father and mother at finding their
beloved-ones safe and in the possession of a sweet little house.  The
old sorceress is drawn out of the ruins of the oven in form of an
immense honey-cake, whereupon they all thank Heaven for having so
visibly helped and protected them.



{121}

HANS HEILING.

Romantic Opera in three acts with a prelude, by HEINRICH MARSCHNER.

Text by EDUARD DEVRIENT.


The text to this opera, which was written by the celebrated actor and
sent to Marschner anonymously, so struck the composer by its beauty
that he adapted music to it, music which ought to be heard much oftener
on our stages, on account of its freshness and of its healthy dramatic
action, which never flags, but continues to interest and move the
hearer with ever-increasing effect till the end is reached.

The contents are as follows:

Hans Heiling, King of the gnomes, has fallen in love with a daughter of
the earth; the charming Anna.  This maiden, a poor country-girl in the
first freshness of youth, has been induced by her mother to consent to
a betrothal with the rich stranger, whom she esteems, but nothing more,
her heart not yet having been touched by love.

In the prelude we are introduced into the depths of earth, where the
gnomes work and toil incessantly carrying glittering stones, gold and
silver and accumulating all the treasures, on which men's hearts are
set.

Their King announces to them, that he will no longer be one of theirs;
he loves, and therefore he resigns his crown.  All the passionate
entreatings of his mother and of the gnomes are of no avail.  {122} At
the Queen's bidding he takes with him a magic book, without which he
should lose his power over the gnomes, and after giving to her beloved
son a set of luminous diamonds mother and son part, Heiling with joy in
his heart, the mother in tears and sorrow.

In the first act Heiling arises from the earth, for ever closing the
entrance to the gnomes.

Anna greets him joyously and Gertrud, her mother, heartily seconds the
welcome.  Heiling gives to his bride a golden chain, and Anna adorning
herself, thinks with pleasure, how much she will be looked at and
envied by her companions.  She fain would show herself at once and begs
Heiling to visit a public festival with her.  But Heiling by nature
serious and almost taciturn, refuses her request.  Anna pouts, but she
soon forgets her grief, when she sees the curious signs of erudition in
her lover's room.  Looking over the magic book, the leaves begin to
turn by themselves, quicker and quicker, the strange signs seem to
grow, to threaten her, until stricken with horrible fear Anna cries
out, and Heiling, turning to her, sees too late what she has done.
Angry at her curiosity, he pushes her away, but she clings to him with
fervent entreaties to destroy the dreadful book.  His love conquers his
reason; and he throws the last link which connects him with his past
into the fire.  A deep thunder-peal is heard.  Anna thanks him
heartily, but from this hour the seed of fear and distrust grows in her
heart.

{123}

Heiling, seeing her still uneasy, agrees to visit the festival with her
upon condition that she refrains from dancing.  She gladly promises,
but as soon as they come to the festival, Anna is surrounded by the
village-lads, who entreat her to dance.  They dislike the stranger, who
has won the fairest maiden of the village, and Conrad the hunter, who
has long loved Anna, is particularly hard on his rival.  He mocks him,
feeling that Heiling is not what he seems, and tries to lure Anna away
from his side.  At last Heiling grows angry, forbidding Anna once more
to dance.  She is wounded by his words and telling him abruptly, that
she is not married yet and that she never will be his slave, she leaves
him.

In despair Heiling sees her go away with Conrad, dancing and frolicking.

In the second act we find Anna in the forest.  She is in a deep
reverie; her heart has spoken, but alas, not for her bridegroom, whom
she now fears; it only beats for Conrad, who has owned his love to her.
Darkness comes on and the gnomes appear with their Queen, who reveals
to the frightened girl the origin of her bridegroom and entreats her to
give back the son to his poor bereft mother.  When the gnomes have
disappeared, Conrad overtakes Anna, and she tells him all, asking his
help against her mysterious bridegroom.  Conrad, seeing that she
returns his love, is happy.  He has just obtained a good situation and
will now be able to wed her.

{124}

He accompanies her home, where Gertrud welcomes them joyously, having
feared that Anna had met with an accident in the forest.

While the lovers are together, Heiling enters, bringing the bridal
jewels.  Mother Gertrud is dazzled, but Anna shrinks from her
bridegroom.  When he asks for an explanation, she tells him that she
knows of his origin.  Then all his hopes die within him, but determined
that his rival shall not be happy at his cost, he hurls his dagger at
Conrad and takes flight.

In the last act Heiling is alone in a ravine in the mountains.  He has
sacrificed everything and gained nothing.  Sadly he decides to return
to the gnomes.  They appear at his bidding, but they make him feel that
he no longer has any power over them, and by way of adding still
further to his sorrows they tell him that his rival lives and is about
to wed Anna.  Then indeed all seems lost to the poor dethroned King.
In despair and repentance he casts himself to the earth.  But the
gnomes, seeing that he really has abandoned all earthly hopes, swear
fealty to him once more and return with him to their Queen, by whom he
is received with open arms.

Meanwhile Conrad, who only received a slight wound from Heiling's
dagger and has speedily recovered, has fixed his wedding-day and we see
Anna, the happy bride in the midst of her companions, prepared to go to
church with her lover.  But when she looks about her, Heiling is at her
{125} side, come to take revenge.  Conrad would fain aid her, but his
sword breaks before it touches Heiling, who invokes the help of his
gnomes.  They appear, but at the same moment the Queen is seen,
exhorting her son to pardon and to forget.  He willingly follows her
away into his kingdom of night and darkness, never to see earth's
surface again.  The anxious peasants once more breathe freely and join
in common thanks to God.



HENRY THE LION.

Opera in four acts by EDMUND KRETSCHMER.


This opera has not had the same success as "The Folkungs", which may be
attributed in part to the subject, which is less attractive.
Nevertheless it has great merit, and has found its way to the larger
stages of Germany.  The libretto is written by Kretschmer himself.  The
background is in this instance also historical.

The scene which takes us back to the middle of the 12th century is
laid, in the first act, in Rome, in the second and fourth in Henry the
Lion's castle and in the third act on the coast of Ancona.

In the first act Henry's praise is sung; he has gained the victory for
his Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, over the Italians.  Frederick
enters, thanking the Duke heartily for his fidelity and fortitude.  A
stranger, named Astoc, comes, prophesying an unhappy end to the
Emperor, if he continues to seek his laurels in strange lands.  To the
anger {126} of everybody Henry seconds him, entreating his Master to
return into his own country, where his presence is necessary.  The
Emperor rebukes him sternly, Henry grows hot, and is finally by order
of Frederick fettered and led away.

The second act shows the park in Henry's castle.  His lovely wife
Clementina, whose veil he wears on his helmet as a talisman, receives
the country-people, who come to congratulate her on the first
anniversary of her wedding-day.  Irmgard, sister-in-law of Duke Henry,
sees with envy how much Clementina is loved by everyone; she had
herself hoped to become Duchess of Saxony, and from the time when Henry
brought home his lovely bride, Irmgard has hated her.  Conrad von
Wettin, Henry's friend, appears in pilgrim's garb, to announce to the
lonely wife the sad news of her husband's captivity and she at once
resolves to travel to Ancona in order to entreat the Emperor's pardon.

Irmgard, thinking she sees in the disguised pilgrim, whose gait she
recognizes to be that of a knight, a lover of Clementina's, believes
that already the day of revenge is dawning.

In the third act the Emperor mourns the loss of his bravest hero, who
firmly refuses to retract his rash words.  A German song is heard, and
Conrad von Wettin presents a young minstrel to the homesick Prince.
The former begs for the favor of celebrating the coming festival in a
German song.  This is permitted and the festival begins.  {127} The
Anconites, whom Frederick delivered from their captivity, appear, to
thank him, then Henry the Lion is conducted to his presence and ordered
to ask his forgiveness.  But Henry repeats that he did nothing wrong in
telling the truth.  The Emperor decides to give him an hour for
reflection, after which if Henry does not bend his will, he shall be
banished.

When this hard sentence is heard, Clementina in minstrel's guise sings
her song of the German's fidelity to his Prince and his country, and of
his wife's faithfulness, and her highest glory.

The song so touches the Emperor, that he bids her ask a favor.  She
takes Henry the Lion's sword and buckler, which are lying near, and
handing them to the captive, entreats the Emperor to give him his
liberty and to pardon him.  Her request is granted by Frederick; and
Henry, shamed by his Prince's magnanimity, bends his knee, swearing
eternal fidelity to him.  From Henry the young minstrel only asks a
piece of the veil fastened round his helmet, in memory of his
deliverance.

The last act carries us back to Henry's castle, where the wife receives
her husband full of joy.  Clementina asks for the missing piece of
veil, and Henry tells her how he gave it away.  In the midst of this
intercourse horns sound and the Emperor appears with his whole suite.
He comes to recompense his hero, who has again won for him honor and
glory, with the duchy of Bavaria.  Henry presents his consort, as the
best and most {128} faithful of wives, when Irmgard steps forth,
accusing her sister-in law of faithlessness, and relating that she left
the castle with a young knight in pilgrim's attire, and only returned
when the news spread, that the Duke would come home victorious.
Clementina is too proud, to defend herself and forbids even Conrad von
Wettin to speak.

Everybody is convinced of her innocence, but her husband, always rash
and violent, turns from her, when she refuses to say nay, and banishing
her from his castle, casts his glove before Conrad von Wettin.

Clementina silently goes away, but soon reappears in her minstrel's
garb; with the piece of veil in her hand she sings the song, which they
heard in Ancona.  Now she is at once recognized and the opera ends with
a paean of praise to the faithfulness of German wives.



HERRAT.

Grand Opera in three acts by FELIX DRAESEKE.


The first representation of Herrat took place in Dresden on the 10th of
March 1892.  Its author is long known as one of the first living
composers, but his music is so serious, so extremely difficult in its
execution, that this is probably the cause, why his operas have been
almost unknown hitherto.  Like Wagner he did the libretto himself, like
him he chose his subject from the old "Heldensaga", but here all
likeness ends; there is no relation {129} between Draeseke and Wagner;
each goes his own way, each is an original genius.

The Amelungenlied a translation of which has appeared from Simrock,
bears great likeness to the Nibelungen; we even find in part the same
persons.  The subject is a bloody-one; love and heroism are the poles
which move it.  The music is grand, stern, sometimes sublime, but we
look vainly for grace and sweetness.  The libretto is rather poor, the
rhymes unmelodious and uneven; nevertheless the musical effect is deep
and lasting; the breath of a master-genius has brought it to life.

The first scene is laid in Etzel's (Attila's) castle Gran.  The King of
the Hun's best vassal, Dietrich of Bern has been severely wounded, and
sent by his Sire to Gran, that he might be tended by Queen Heike,
Etzel's wife.  Instead of taking care of the hero, she leaves him to
her maid Herlinde, who has nought but water at her disposition, while
the Queen nurses her kinsman Dietrich der Reusse, a prisoner of war.
The consequence of this is, that Etzel coming home finds his friend
sicker than before, while his enemy is well and strong.  Full of wrath
he orders the Queen to keep Dietrich den Reussen prisoner, without
leaving her any guards; should he escape, she is to be beheaded.

After Etzel's departure to the army Dietrich der Reusse escapes
notwithstanding the Queen's entreaties.--In her distress Heike turns to
the sore wounded Dietrich von Bern, who, though {130} bitterly cursing
her ingratitude rises from his sick-bed in order to pursue the fugitive.

In the second act Dietrich of Reuss arrives on foot at Saben's castle
in Esthonia.  (Saben is a usurper, who has dispossessed King Nentwin
and taken possession of his castle and his daughter Herrat.)
Dietrich's steed is dead, but hearing his pursuer close upon his heels
he takes refuge in an adjacent wood.  Herrat standing on a balcony, has
recognized him.  She sees him vanish with regret, because a prediction
told her, that a Dietrich would be her deliverer, but when another hero
comes up, she directs him to the wood, to which Dietrich has flown.
She hears the combat going on between the two, and soon the pursuer
comes back, telling her that his enemy is dead and begging for rest and
shelter.  When he tells her his name, she starts back, well knowing
that Saben, who has slain Dietrich's relatives, will not receive him
graciously.  She however accompanies him to a room, and determined to
protect him against Saben's wiles, she binds up his wounds and nurses
him tenderly.  Saben entering recognizes the Berner by his celebrated
helmet; he leaves the room telling Herrat to look well after such a
famous guest.  But Herrat's mind misgives her, she tries to rouse the
hero, who has sunk into the sleep of exhaustion, and not succeeding,
places his arms well within his reach.  When she is about to withdraw,
she sees Saben return with a band of assassins.  Their murmurs rouse
Dietrich, who defends himself bravely, {131} slaying one after another.
But his strength is failing, when suddenly a disguised youth rushes to
his assistance with eight well-armed companions.  Saben's men are
slain, Saben himself falls a victim to Dietrich's sword.  When the
youth unmasks Dietrich recognizes in his deliverer Herrat his sweet
nurse, whose likeness to his own dead wife Gotlinde has moved him from
the first.  She offers him her father's kingdom, which he though full
of love and gratitude, is loth to accept, as he only claims her heart
and hand.  But ambition urges him to accept her offer, and so he not
only obtains her hand but is proclaimed King of Esthonia.

The third act presents the camp of the Huns, pitched southwards of Gran
near the Danube.  Etzel has already twice granted respite to the Queen,
but as there is no trace of the two Dietrichs, Heike is now to be
executed.  Old Hildebrand, one of the Berner's followers is
particularly inimical to her, because he believes her to be the cause
of his beloved master's death.

Suddenly everybody's attention is attracted to a ship approaching the
camp.  Hildebrand, perceiving on it a hero in disguise, wearing
Dietrich's helmet, with Waldemar and Ilias, Etzel's enemies on his
side, calls the people to arms.  But when the foreign knight disembarks
and unmasking shows the face of Dietrich von Bern, everybody is full of
joy.  He brings the two hostile Kings as prisoners to Etzel and lays
the two crowns of Esthonia and of the Wiking country at his feet.

{132} Etzel's brow however remains somber; he sternly asks after
Dietrich von Reuss.  The Berner unwilling to sing his own praise, is
silent, when his wife Herrat steps forth, relating how her hero killed
his antagonist in Saben's woods.  Now at last Etzel relents; he draws
his wife to his breast in forgiveness, and all sing hail to Etzel and
Dietrich and to their Queens.



HOCHZEITSMORGEN.

(WEDDING'S MORNING.)

Opera in one act by KARL VON KASKEL.

Text by FRANZ KOPPEL-ELLFELD.


This opera, which was represented for the first time at the Royal Opera
in Dresden on April 29th, 1893, is the first attempt of its young
composer, and as such shows considerable talent, even genius.

Indeed it sins rather in too much than in too little invention; it
would seem that Kaskel's brain, overflowing with musical ideas, wanted
to put them all into this one first child of his muse.  This promises
well for the future, but it explains, why it lacks the great attraction
of Cavalleria with which it has some relation, without imitating it in
the least.  The hearer's attention is tired by too much and divided by
lack of unity.  Nevertheless the composer has understood how to make
the most of a somewhat weak libretto, and the manner in which the
musical interest increases from scene to scene is admirable in a
beginner.

{133}

The scene is laid in an Italian Frontier Fortress near Mentone at the
foot of Col di Tenda.  It may be added here, that the national
colouring is particularly well hit.

Giovanna, the daughter of Regina Negri an inn-keeper is betrothed to
Pietro Montalto, Captain of the Bersaglieri; and the wedding is fixed
for the following morning.  Before her betrothal Giovanna has carried
on a flirtation with Paolo Tosta, a wild fellow, who unfortunately took
the girl's play seriously, and seeing the friend of his childhood
estranged from him, has turned smuggler and head of a band of
Anarchists.  Giovanna is afraid of him, and trembles for her
bridegroom, whom she loves truly.

However, when she sees Paolo taken captive and sentenced to death by
her own lover, she implores the latter to deal mercifully with the
miscreant.  She has neglected to tell him of her early friendship for
the captive, and so Pietro, who does not understand her softness for
the ruffian refuses, his soldierly honour being at stake.  But at last
love conquers and Giovanna extracts a promise from him, to let the
prisoner escape during the night.

Left alone, Pietro's keen sense of duty reawakes and he leaves the
place without freeing the captive.

However Toto, a dealer in tobacco, Paolo's friend and helpmate in
smuggling arrives and releases him.  Instead of escaping Paolo seeks
Giovanna, and when she turns from him with loathing, he swears, either
to possess her, or to destroy her bridegroom.

{134}

On the following morning Pietro hears from Bastiano, the Bersaglieri
Sergeant, that the keys of the prison have been stolen, and the
prisoner has escaped.  Pietro rejoices, that this happened without his
own intervention and turns full of happiness to his bride, who stands
ready for the wedding.  The wedding-procession is slowly moving towards
church, when it is suddenly arrested by Paolo, who throws himself
between the lovers.  "Mine she was, before she knew you," he cries out,
"to me she swore eternal faith, which she has now falsely broken."
Giovanna, struck dumb by terror, is unable to defend herself.--Pietro
orders his men to recapture the ruffian, but quick as thought Paolo has
deprived the soldier nearest to him of his sabre and with the words
"Thou shalt die first," has thrust it towards Pietro.  Alas, it is
Giovanna's breast, he pierces; she has shielded her lover with her own
body.--With a sweet smile she turns to Pietro, who implores her to
speak.  "Pardon me," she sighs faintly, "he was long a stranger to my
heart; thee alone I loved, to thee I was faithful unto death."  With
those loving words she sinks back expiring.



LES HUGUENOTS.

Grand Opera in five acts by GIACOMO MEYERBEER.

Text by SCRIBE.


This is the best opera of this fertile composer, and one with which
only his "Robert le diable" can compare.  The music is not only
interesting, but highly {135} dramatic; the "mise en scene", the
brilliant orchestration, the ballet, everything is combined to
fascinate the hearer.  We find such an abundance of musical ideas, that
we feel Berlioz but spoke the truth, when he said that it would do for
twenty others of its kind.

The scene is laid in France, at the time of the bloody persecutions of
the Protestants or Huguenots by the Catholics.  The Duke of Medicis has
apparently made peace with Admiral Coligny, the greatest and most
famous of the Huguenots, and we are introduced into the castle of Count
Nevers, where the catholic noblemen receive Raoul de Nangis, a
protestant, who has lately been promoted to the rank of captain.
During their meal they speak of love and its pleasures, and everybody
is called on to give the name of his sweetheart.  Raoul begins, by
telling them, that once when taking a walk, he surprised a band of
students, molesting a lady in a litter.  He rescued her and as she
graciously thanked him for his gallant service, he thought her more
beautiful than any maiden he had ever before seen.  His heart burnt
with love for her, though he did not know her name.  While Raoul drinks
with the noblemen, Marcel, his old servant warns him of the danger of
doing so.

Marcel is a strict old protestant and sings a ballad of the Huguenots
to the young people, a song wild and fanatic.  They laugh at his
impotent wrath, when a lady is announced to Count Nevers, in whom Raoul
recognizes the lady of his dreams.

{136}

Of course he believes her false and bad, while as a matter of fact she
only comes to beseech Nevers, her destined bridegroom, to set her free.
Nevers does so, though not without pain.  When he returns to his
companions, he conceals the result of the interview, and presently
Urbain, a page, enters with a little note for Raoul de Nangis, in which
he is ordered to attend a lady, unknown to him.  The others recognize
the seal of Queen Margarita of Valois, and finding him so worthy, at
once seek to gain his friendship.

In the second act we find Raoul with the beautiful Queen, who is trying
to reconcile the Catholics with the Protestants.  To this end the Queen
has resolved to unite Raoul with Valentine, her lady of honor, and
daughter of the Count of St. Bris, a staunch catholic.  Valentine tells
her heart's secret to her mistress, for to her it was that Raoul
brought assistance, and she loves him.  The noble Raoul, seeing
Margarita's beauty and kindness, vows himself her knight, when suddenly
the whole court enters to render her homage.  Recognizing her at last
to be the Queen, Raoul is all the more willing to fulfil her wishes and
offers his hand in reconciliation to the proud St. Bris, promising to
wed his daughter.  But when he perceives in her the unknown lady, whom
he believes to be so unworthy, he takes back his word.  All are
surprised, and the offended father vows bloody vengeance.

In the third act Marcel brings a challenge to {137} St. Bris, which the
latter accepts, but Maurevert, a fanatical catholic nobleman, tells him
of other ways in which to annihilate his foe.  Valentine though deadly
offended with her lover, resolves to save him.  Seeing Marcel, she bids
him tell his master not to meet his enemy alone.  Meanwhile Raoul is
already on the spot, and so is St. Bris with four witnesses.  While
they fight, a quarrel arises between the catholic and the protestant
citizens, which is stopped by Queen Margarita.  The enemies accuse each
other, and when the Queen is in doubt as to whom she shall believe,
Valentine appears to bear witness.  Then Raoul hears that her interview
with Nevers had been but a farewell, sought for but to loosen forever
the ties which her father had formed for her against her will; but the
knowledge of his error comes too late, for St. Bris has once more
promised his daughter to Nevers, who at this moment arrives with many
guests, invited for the wedding.  The presence of the Queen preserves
peace between the different parties, but Raoul leaves the spot with
death in his heart.

In the fourth act the dreadful night of St. Bartholomew is already
beginning.

We find Valentine in her room despairing.  Raoul comes to take a last
farewell, but almost immediately St. Bris enters with a party of
Catholics and Raoul is obliged to hide in the adjoining room.  There he
hears the whole conspiracy for the destruction of the Protestants,
beginning with their leader, Admiral Coligny.  The Catholics all assent
{138} to this diabolical plot; Nevers alone refuses to soil his honor,
and swears only to fight in open battle.  The others, fearing treason,
decide to bind and keep him prisoner until the next morning.  Raoul
prepares to save his brethren or die with them.  Vain are Valentine's
entreaties; though she confesses to her love for him, he yet leaves
her, though with a great effort, to follow the path of duty.

In the last act Raoul rushes pale and bloody into the hall, where Queen
Margarita sits with her husband, Henry of Navarre, surrounded by the
court; He tells them of the terrific events, which are going on
outside, and beseeches their help.  It is too late however, Coligny has
already fallen, and with him most of the Huguenots.

Raoul meets Valentine once more; she promises to save him, if he will
go over to her faith.  But Marcel reminds him of his oath, and
Valentine, seeing that nothing can move her lover's fortitude and
firmness, decides to remain with him.  She accepts his creed and so
they meet death together, Valentine falling by the side of her deadly
wounded lover, both praising God with their last breath.



IDLE HANS.

(DER FAULE HANS.)

Opera in one act by A. RITTER.

Text after a poetic tale by FELIX DAHN.


The composer of this hitherto unknown opera is no young man.  He is
over sixty, and his well deserved fame reaches him but tardily.
Alexander {139} Ritter, a relation and a true friend of Wagner's, was
one of the few, who gave his help to the latter when he fled to
Switzerland poor and abandoned.  Though a warm admirer of Wagner's
music, Ritter is not his echo.  His music, saturated with the modern
spirit is absolutely independant and original.  His compositions are
not numerous; two operas and a few songs are almost all he did for
immortality, but they all wear the stamp of a remarkable talent.  "Idle
Hans" is a dramatic fairy-tale of poetical conception.  Its strength
lies in the orchestra, which is wonderfully in tune with the different
situations.  After having been represented in Weimar ten years ago, the
opera fell in oblivion, from which it has now come forth, and was given
on the Dresden stage on Nov. 9th 1892.  It has met with unanimous
approval from all those, who understand fine and spiritual music.

The plot is soon told.

Count Hartung has seven sons, all grown up after his own heart except
the youngest, Hans, called the Idle, who prefers basking in the
sunshine and dreaming away his life to hunting and fighting.  He is a
philosopher, and a true type of the German, patient, quiet and
phlegmatic, who does not deem it worth his while to move a finger for
all the shallow doings of the world in general, and his brothers in
particular.  The son's idleness so exasperates his father, that he
orders him to be chained like a criminal to a huge oaken post standing
in the courtyard, forbidding anybody under {140} heavy penalty, to
speak to him.  His brothers pity him, but they obey their father.

Left alone, Hans sighs after his dead mother, who so well understood
him, and who had opened his eyes and heart to an ideal world, with all
that is good and noble.  Far from loathing his father, he only bewails
the hardness of him, for whose love he craves in vain.  At last he
falls asleep.  Seeing this the maid servants come to mock him (by the
bye a delightful piece of music is this chatter-chorus).  When Hans has
driven away the impudent hussies, his brother Ralph the Singer
approaches to assure him of his unvarying love.--He is the only-one who
believes in Hans' worth, and now tries hard to rouse him into activity,
for he has heard, that the Queen is greatly oppressed by her enemies,
the Danes.  But Hans remains unmoved, telling him quietly to win his
laurels without him.  In the midst of their colloquy the Herald's voice
announces that the battle is lost, and that the Queen is coming to the
castle, a fugitive.  The old Count descends from his tower to assemble,
his sons and his vassals.  Hardly are they ready, when the Queen rides
up to ask for protection.  The gate closes behind her and the old Count
does homage, while Hans, still lying idle on his straw, stares at her
beauty with new awakened interest.  But the enemy is coming nearer; all
the Count's well-trained soldiers are defeated, and already Harald, the
Danish King peremptorily orders them to surrender.  Now Hans {141}
awakes.  His effort to break his chain excites the Queen's attention,
who asks the old Count, for what crime the beautiful youth is punished
so severely.  The father disowns his son but at this moment the gate
gives way and in rushes Harald, who is met by old Hartung.  Alas the
Count's sword breaks in pieces.  With the cry, "Now it is worth while
acting" Hans breaks his fetters and brandishing the oaken post to which
he was chained, he fells Harald to the ground with one mighty stroke.
Konrad the valet fetters the giant, and Hans slays every one, who tries
to enter; then rushing out, delivers his brothers and puts the whole
army to flight.  Then he returns to the Queen who has witnessed his
deeds with a heart full of deep admiration and swears allegiance.
Heartily thanking him, she only now hears, that the young hero is
Hartung's son, and full of gratitude she offers him one half of her
kingdom.  But Hans the Idler does not care for a crown; it is her own
sweet self he wants, and boldly he claims her hand.  Persuaded to have
found in him a companion for life as true and loyal as ever lived, she
grants him her heart and kingdom.



IDOMENEUS.

Opera in three acts by W. A. MOZART.

Text by ABBATE GIANBATTISTA VARESCO.


This opera, which Mozart composed in his twenty-fifth year for the
Opera-seria in Munich, was represented in the year 1781, and won
brilliant success.

{142}

It is the most remarkable composition of Mozart's youthful age, and
though he wrote it under Gluck's influence, there is many a spark of
his own original genius, and often he breaks the bonds of conventional
form and rises to heights hitherto unanticipated.  The public in
general does not estimate the opera very highly, in consequence
Idomeneus was only represented in Dresden, after the long interval of
21 years, to find the house empty and the applause lukewarm.  But the
true connoisseur of music ought not to be influenced by public opinion,
for though the action does not warm the hearer, the music is at once
divinely sweet and harmonious; no wild excitement, no ecstatic
feelings, but music pure and simple, filling the soul with sweet
content.

The scene takes place in Cydonia, on the isle of Crete soon after the
end of the Trojan war.--

In the first act Ilia, daughter of Priam, bewails her unhappy fate, but
won by the magnanimity of Idamantes, son of Idomeneus, King of Crete,
who relieves the captive Trojans from their fetters, she begins to love
him, much against her own will.  Electra, daughter of Agamemnon, who
also loves Idamantes perceives with fury his predilection for the
captive princess and endeavours to regain his heart.

Arbaces, the High-Priest enters, to announce that Idomeneus has
perished at sea in a tempest.  All bewail this misfortune and hasten to
the strand to pray to the gods for safety.

{143}

But Idomeneus is not dead.  Poseidon, whose help he invoked in his
direst need, has saved him, Idomeneus vowing to sacrifice to the God
the first mortal whom he should encounter on landing.--Unfortunately it
is his own son, who comes to the strand to mourn for his beloved
father.--Idomeneus, having been absent during the siege of Troy for ten
years, at first fails to recognize his son.  But when the truth dawns
on both, the son's joy is as great as the father's misery.  Terrified
the latter turns from the aggrieved and bewildered Idamantes.
Meanwhile the King's escort has also safely landed and all thank
Poseidon for their delivery.

In the second act Idomeneus takes counsel with Arbaces, and resolves to
send his son away, in order to save him from the impending evil.  The
King speaks to Ilia, whose love for Idamantes he soon divines.  This
only adds to his poignant distress.--Electra, hearing that she is to
accompany Idamantes to Argos is radiant, hoping that her former lover
may then forget Ilia.  They take a tender farewell from Idomeneus, but
just when they are about to embark, a dreadful tempest arises, and a
monster emerges from the waves, filling all present with awe and terror.

In the third act Idamantes seeks Ilia to bid her farewell.  Not
anticipating the reason of his father's grief, which he takes for hate,
he is resolved to die for his country, by either vanquishing the
dreadful monster, sent by Poseidon's wrath, or by perishing in the
combat.

{144}

Ilia, unable to conceal her love for him any longer, bids him live,
live for her.  In his new-found happiness Idamantes forgets his grief,
and when his father surprises the lovers, he implores him to calm his
wrath, and rushes away, firmly resolved to destroy the monster.--

With terrible misgivings Idomeneus sees Arbaces approach, who announces
that the people are in open rebellion against him.  The King hastens to
the temple, where he is received with remonstrances by the High-Priest,
who shows him the horrid ravages, which Poseidon's wrath has achieved
through the monster; he entreats him to name the victim for the
sacrifice and to satisfy the wishes of the God.  Rent by remorse and
pain Idomeneus finally names his son.

All are horror-stricken, and falling on their knees, they crave
Poseidon's pardon.--While they yet kneel, loud songs of triumph are
heard, and Idamantes returns victorious from his fight with the monster.

With noble courage he throws himself at his father's feet, imploring
his benediction and--his death.  For having heard of his father's
unhappy vow, he now comprehends his sorrow, and endeavours to lessen
his grief.

Idomeneus, torn by conflicting feelings at last is about to grant his
son's wish, but when he lifts his sword, Ilia throws herself between,
imploring him to let her be the victim.  A touching scene ensues
between the lovers, but Ilia gains her point.  {145} Just when she is
about to receive her death-stroke, Poseidon's pity is at last aroused.
In thunder and lightning he decrees, that Idomeneus is to renounce his
throne in favor of Idamantes, for whose spouse he chooses Ilia.

In a concluding scene we see Electra tormented by the furies of hate
and jealousy.  Idomeneus fulfils Poseidon's request, and all invoke the
God's benediction on the happy Royal house of Crete.



JEAN DE PARIS.

Comic Opera in three acts by ADRIEN BOIELDIEU.

Text by St. JUST.


After a lapse of many years this spirited little opera has again been
put upon the stage and its success has shown, that true music never
grows old.

Next to the "Dame blanche" Jean de Paris is decidedly the best of
Boieldieu's works; the music is very graceful, fresh and lively, and
the plot, though simple and harmless is full of chivalric honor and
very winning.

The scene takes us back to the 17th century and we find ourselves in an
inn of the Pyrenees.

The young and beautiful Princess of Navarre being widowed and her year
of mourning having passed, is induced by her brother, the King of
Navarre, to marry again.  The French Crown-Prince has been selected by
the two courts as her future husband, but both parties are of a
somewhat romantic turn of mind and desire to know each other, before
being united for life.

{146}

For this purpose the Prince undertakes a journey to the Pyrenees, where
he knows the Princess to be.

In the first scene we see preparations being made for the reception of
the Princess, whose arrival has been announced by her Seneshal.  In the
midst of the bustle there enters a simple Page to demand rooms for his
master.  As he is on foot the host treats him spitefully, but his
daughter Lorezza, pleased with his good looks, promises him a good
dinner.  While they are still debating, the numerous suite of the
Prince comes up and without further ado takes possession of the house
and stables, which have been prepared for the Princess and her people.
The host begins to feel more favorably inclined towards the strange
Seigneur, though he does not understand, how a simple citizen of Paris
(this is the Prince's incognito), can afford such luxury.

By the time "Monsieur Jean de Paris" arrives the host's demeanour has
entirely changed and seeing two large purses with gold, he abandons the
whole house to the strange guest, hoping that he shall have prosecuted
his journey before the arrival of the Princess.  But he has been
mistaken, for no sooner are Jean de Paris' people quartered in the
house, than the Seneshal, a pompous Spanish Grandee arrives, to
announce the coming of the Princess.  The host is hopelessly
embarrassed and the Seneshal rages at the impudence of the citizen, but
Jean de Paris quietly intimates, that the house {147} and everything in
it are hired by him, and courteously declares, that he will play the
host and invite the Princess to his house and dinner.

While the Seneshal is still stupefied by such unheard-of impudence, the
Princess arrives, and at once takes everybody captive by her grace and
loveliness.  Jean de Paris is fascinated and the Princess who instantly
recognizes in him her future bridegroom, is equally pleased by his
appearance, but resolves to profit and to amuse herself by her
discovery.

To the Seneshal's unbounded surprise she graciously accepts Jean's
invitation.

In the second act the preparations for the dinner of the honored guests
have been made.  Olivier the Page shows pretty Lorezza the minuets of
the ladies at court, and she dances in her simple country-fashion,
until Olivier seizes her and they dance and sing together.

Jean de Paris stepping in, sings an air in praise of God, beauty and
chivalry and when the Princess appears, he leads her to dinner, to the
unutterable horror of the Seneshal.  Dinner, service, plate, silver,
all is splendid and all belongs to Jean de Paris, who sings a tender
minstrel's-song to the Princess; she sweetly answers him, and telling
him, that she has already chosen her knight, who is true, honest and of
her own rank, makes him stand on thorns for a while, lest he be too
late,--until he perceives that she only teazes in order to punish him
for his own comedy.  Finally they are {148} enchanted with each other,
and when the people come up, the Prince, revealing his true name,
presents the Princess as his bride, bidding his suite render homage to
their mistress.  The Seneshal humbly asks forgiveness, and all unite in
a chorus in praise of the beautiful pair.



JESSONDA.

Opera in three acts by LOUIS SPOHR.

Text by HENRY GEHE.


Spohr wrote this opera by way of inauguration to his charge as master
of the court-chapel at Cassel, and with it he added to the fame, which
he had long before established as master of the violin and first-rate
composer.  His music is sublime, and sheds a wealth of glory on the
somewhat imperfect text.

The story introduces us to Goa on the coast of Malabar at the beginning
of the 16th century.

A Rajah has just died and is bewailed by his people, and Jessonda, his
widow, who was married to the old man against her will, is doomed to be
burnt with him, according to the country's laws.  Nadori, a young
priest of the God Brahma is to announce her fate to the beautiful young
widow.  But Nadori is not a Brahmin by his own choice; he is young and
passionate, and though it is forbidden to him to look at women, he at
once falls in love with Jessonda's sister Amazili, whom he meets when
on his sad errand.  He promises to help her in saving her beloved
sister from a terrible death.

{149}

Jessonda meanwhile hopes vainly for the arrival of the Portuguese
General, Tristan d'Acunha, to whom she pledged her faith long ago, when
a cruel fate separated her from him.  She knows that the Portuguese are
at this moment besieging Goa, which formerly belonged to them.
Jessonda is accompanied by her women through the Portuguese camp, to
wash away in the floods of the Ganges the last traces of earthliness.
She sacrifices a rose to her early love.

Turning back into the town, she is recognized by Tristan, but alas, a
truce forbids him to make an assault on the town in order to deliver
his bride.  Jessonda is led back in triumph by the High-priest Daudon,
to die an untimely death.

In the third act Nadori visits Tristan in secret, to bring the welcome
news that Daudon himself broke the truce, by sending two spies into the
enemy's camp to burn their ships.  This act of treachery frees Tristan
from his oath.  Nadori conducts him and his soldiers through
subterranean passages into the temple, where he arrives just in time to
save Jessonda from the High-priest's sword.  She gives him hand and
heart, and Nadori is united to her sister Amazili.



INGRID.

Opera in two acts by KARL GRAMANN.

Text by T. KERSTEN.


Ingrid is a musical composition of considerable interest, the local
tone and colouring being so well {150} hit.  It is a Norwegian picture
with many pretty and original customs, to which the music is well
adapted and effective, without being heart-stirring.

The scene is laid in Varoe in Norway.  Helga the rich Norwegian peasant
Wandrup's daughter is to wed Godila Swestorp, her cousin, and the most
desirable young man in the village.  She entertains but friendly
feelings for him while her heart belongs to a young German traveller,
and Godila, feeling that she is different from what she was, keeps
jealous watch over her, and swears to destroy his rival.

In the second scene Ingrid, a young girl (coach-maid), whose business
it is to direct the carioles from station to station, drives up with
the German Erhard, who meeting with a severe accident in the mountains,
is saved by her courage.  Full of tenderness she dresses his wounds; he
thanks her warmly, and presents her with a miniature portrait of his
mother.  She mistakes her gratitude for love, and it fills her with
happiness, which is instantly destroyed, when Helga appears and sinks
on the breast of her lover.  Ingrid, a poor orphan, who never knew
father or mother, is deeply disappointed and bitterly reproaches heaven
for her hard fate.  The scene is witnessed by old father Wandrup, in
whose heart it arouses long buried memories and he tries to console
Ingrid.  But when she claims the right to hear more of her parents he
only says, that she was found a babe at his threshold {151} twenty-five
years ago, and that nothing was ever heard of her father and mother.

The second act opens with a pretty national festival, in which the
youths and maidens, adorned with wild carnations wend their way in
couples to Ljora (love's-bridge in the people's mouth), from whence
they drop their flowers into the foaming water.  If they chance to be
carried out to sea together, the lovers will be united, if not, woe to
them, for love and friendship will die an untimely death.--Godila tries
to offer his carnations to Helga, but she dextrously avoids him, and
succeeds in having a short interview with Erhard, with whom she is to
take flight on a ship, whose arrival is just announced.  Erhard goes
off to prepare everything, and a few minutes afterwards Helga comes out
of the house in a travelling dress.  But Godila, who has promised
Wandrup to watch over his daughter, detains her.

Wild with love and jealousy he strains her to his breast and drags her
towards the Ljora-bridge.  Helga vainly struggles against the madman,
but Ingrid, who has witnessed the whole occurence, waves her white
kerchief in the direction of the ship, and calls back Erhard, who is
just in time to spring on the bridge, when its railing gives way, and
Godila, who has let Helga fall at the approach of his enemy, is
precipitated into the waves.  Erhard tries to save him, but is
prevented by Ingrid, who intimates that all efforts would be useless.
Helga in a swoon is carried to the House, when Wandrup, {152} seeing
his child wounded and apparently lifeless, calls Godila, and hears with
horror that his body has been found dashed to pieces on the rocks.  Now
the father's wrath turns against Erhard, in whom he sees Godila's
murderer, but Ingrid, stepping forth, relates how the catastrophe
happened, and how Godila seemed to be punished by heaven for his attack
on Helga.  Everybody is touched by poor despised Ingrid's
unselfishness, she even pleads for Helga's union with Erhard, nobly
renouncing her own claims on his love and gratitude.  Wandrup relents
and the happy lovers go on the Ljora-bridge, whence their carnations
float out to sea side by side.  The ship's departure is signalled, and
all accompany the lovers on board.  Only Ingrid remains.  Her strength
of mind has forsaken her; a prey to wild despair she resolves to
destroy herself.  Taking a last look at Erhard's gift, the little
medallion-picture, she is surprised by Wandrup, who recognizes in it
his own dead love.  "She is thy mother too Ingrid", he cries out.  "My
mother, she, and Erhard my brother!"--This is too much for Ingrid; with
an incoherent cry she rushes on the bridge intending to throw herself
over.  But Wandrup beseechingly stretches out his arms, crying "Ingrid,
stay, live for thy father".  At first the unhappy girl shrinks back,
but seeing the old man's yearning love she sinks on her knees, then
slowly rising, she returns to her father, who folds her in loving
embrace.



{153}

IPHIGENIA IN AULIS.

Grand Opera in three acts by GLUCK.

Text of the original rearranged by R. WAGNER.


This opera, though it does not stand from the point of view of the
artist on the same level with Iphigenia in Tauris, deserves
nevertheless to be represented on every good stage.  It may be called
the first part of the tragedy, and Iphigenia in Tauris very beautifully
completes it.  The music is sure to be highly relished by a cultivated
hearer, characterized as it is by a simplicity which often rises into
grandeur and nobility of utterance.

The first scene represents Agamemnon rent by a conflict between his
duty and his fatherly love; the former of which demands the sacrifice
of his daughter, for only then will a favorable wind conduct the Greeks
safely to Ilion.  Kalchas, the High-priest of Artemis, appears to
announce her dreadful sentence.  Alone with the King, Kalchas vainly
tries to induce the unhappy father to consent to the sacrifice.

Meanwhile Iphigenia, who has not received Agamemnon's message, which
ought to have prevented her undertaking the fatal journey, arrives with
her mother Klytemnestra.  They are received with joy by the people.
Agamemnon secretly informs his spouse, that Achilles, Iphigenia's
betrothed, has proved unworthy of her, and that she is to return to
Argos at once.--Iphigenia gives way to her feelings.  Achilles appears,
the lovers are soon reconciled and prepare to celebrate their nuptials.

{154}

In the second act Iphigenia is adorned for her wedding and Achilles
comes to lead her to the altar, when Arkas, Agamemnon's messenger,
informs them that death awaits Iphigenia.

Klytemnestra in despair appeals to Achilles and the bridegroom swears
to protect Iphigenia.  She alone is resigned in the belief, that it is
her father's will that she should face this dreadful duty.  Achilles
reproaches Agamemnon wildly and leaves the unhappy father a prey to
mental torture.  At last he decides to send Arkas at once to Mykene
with mother and daughter and to hide them there, until the wrath of the
goddess be appeased.  But it is too late.

In the third act the people assemble before the Royal tent and with
much shouting and noise demand the sacrifice.  Achilles in vain
implores Iphigenia to follow him.  She is ready to be sacrificed, while
he determines to kill anyone, who dares touch his bride.  Klytemnestra
then tries everything in her power to save her.  She offers herself in
her daughter's stead and finding it of no avail at last sinks down in a
swoon.  The daughter, having bade her an eternal farewell, with quiet
dignity allows herself to be led to the altar.  When her mother awakes,
she rages in impotent fury; then she hears the people's hymn to the
goddess, and rushes out to die with her child.--The scene changes.--The
High-priest at the altar of Artemis is ready to pierce the innocent
victim.  A great tumult arises, Achilles with his native Thessalians
makes his way through {155} the crowd, in order to save Iphigenia, who
loudly invokes the help of the goddess.  But at this moment a loud
thunder-peal arrests the contending parties, and when the mist, which
has blinded all, has passed, Artemis herself is seen in a cloud with
Iphigenia kneeling before her.

The goddess announces that it is Iphigenia's high mind, which she
demands and not her blood, she wishes to take her into a foreign land,
where she may be her priestess and atone for the sins of the blood of
Atreus.

A wind favorable to the fleet has risen, and the people filled with
gratitude and admiration behold the vanishing cloud and praise the
goddess.



IPHIGENIA IN TAURIS.

Opera in four acts by GLUCK.

Text by GUILLARD.


Gluck's Iphigenia stands highest among his dramatic compositions.  It
is eminently classic and so harmoniously finished, that Herder called
its music sacred.

The libretto is excellent.  It follows pretty exactly the Greek
original.

Iphigenia, King Agamemnon's daughter, who has been saved by the goddess
Diana (or Artemis) from death at the altar of Aulis, has been carried
in a cloud to Tauris, where she is compelled to be High-priestess in
the temple of the barbarous Scythians.  There we find her, after having
performed her cruel service for fifteen years.--Human {156} sacrifices
are required, but more than once she has saved a poor stranger from
this awful lot.

Iphigenia is much troubled by a dream, in which she saw her father
deadly wounded by her mother and herself about to kill her brother
Orestes.  She bewails her fate, in having at the behest of Thoas, King
of the Scythians, to sacrifice two strangers, who have been thrown on
his shores.  Orestes and his friend Pylades, for these are the
strangers, are led to death, loaded with chains.

Iphigenia, hearing that they are her countrymen, resolves to save at
least one of them, in order to send him home to her sister Electra.
She does not know her brother Orestes, who having slain his mother, has
fled, pursued by the furies, but an inner voice makes her choose him as
a messenger to Greece.  A lively dispute arises between the two
friends; at last Orestes prevails upon Iphigenia to spare his friend,
by threatening to destroy himself with his own hands, his life being a
burden to him.  Iphigenia reluctantly complies with his request, giving
the message for her sister to Pylades.

In the third act Iphigenia vainly tries to steel her heart against her
victim.  At last she seizes the knife, but Orestes' cry: "So you also
were pierced by the sacrificial steel, O my sister Iphigenia!" arrests
her; the knife falls from her hands, and there ensues a touching scene
of recognition.

Meanwhile Thoas, who has heard that one of the strangers was about to
depart, enters the temple with his body-guard, and though Iphigenia
tells {157} him, that Orestes is her brother and entreats him so spare
Agamemnon's son, Thoas determines to sacrifice him and his sister
Iphigenia as well.  But his evil designs are frustrated by Pylades,
who, returning with several of his countrymen, stabs the King of
Tauris.  The goddess Diana herself appears and helping the Greeks in
their fight, gains for them the victory.  Diana declares herself
appeased by Orestes' repentance and allows him to return to Mykene with
his sister, his friend and all his followers.



JOSEPH IN EGYPT.

Opera in three acts by ETIENNE HENRY MEHUL.

Text after ALEXANDER DUVAL.


This opera, which has almost disappeared from the French stage, is
still esteemed in Germany and always will be so, because, though clad
in the simplest garb, and almost without any external outfit, its music
is grand, noble and classic; it equals the operas of Gluck, whose
influence may be traced, but it is free from all imitation.  Here we
have true music, and the deep strain of patriarchal piety so touching
in the Biblical recital finds grand expression.

Joseph, the son of Jacob, who was sold by his brothers, has by his
wisdom saved Egypt from threatening famine; he resides as governor in
Memphis under the name of Cleophas.  But though much honored by the
King and all the people, he never ceases to long for his old father,
whose favorite child he was.

{158}

Driven from Palestine by this same famine, Jacob's sons are sent to
Egypt to ask for food and hospitality.  They are tormented by pangs of
conscience, which Simeon is hardly able to conceal, when they are
received by the governor, who at once recognized them.  Seeing their
sorrow and repentance, he pities them, and promises to receive them all
hospitably.  He does not reveal himself but goes to meet his youngest
brother Benjamin and his blind father, whose mourning for his lost son
has not been diminished by the long years.  Joseph induces his father
and brother to partake in the honors, which the people render to him.
The whole family is received in the governor's palace, where Simeon
consumed by grief and conscience-stricken at last confesses to his
father the selling of Joseph.  Full of horror Jacob curses and disowns
his ten sons.  But Joseph intervenes.  Making himself known, he grants
full pardon and entreats his father to do the same.

The old man yields, and together they praise God's providence and
omnipotence.



IRRLICHT.

(WILL-O'-THE WISP.)

Opera in one act by KARL GRAMANN.

Text by KURT GEUCKE.


With "Irrlicht" the composer takes a step towards verisme; both,
subject and music are terribly realistic, though without the last shade
of triviality.  The music is often of brilliant dramatic effect, {159}
and the fantastic text, well matching the music, is as rich in
thrilling facts as any modern Italian opera.  Indeed this seems to be
by far the best opera, which the highly gifted composer has written.

The scene is laid on a pilot's station on the coast of Normandy.  A
pilot-boat has been built and is to be baptized with the usual
ceremonies.  Tournaud, an old ship-captain expects his daughter
Gervaise back from a stay in Paris.  He worships her, and when she
arrives, he is almost beside himself with joy and pride.  But Gervaise
is pale and sad, and hardly listens to gay Marion, who tells her of the
coming festival.--Meanwhile all the fisher-people from far and near
assemble to participate in the baptism, and Andre, who is to be captain
of the boat, is about to choose a god-mother amongst the fair maidens
around, when he sees Gervaise coming out of the house, where she has
exchanged her travelling garb for a national-dress.  Forgotten are all
the village-lasses, and Andre chooses Gervaise, who reluctantly
consents to baptize the boat, and is consequently received very
ungraciously by the maidens and their elders.  She blesses the boat
which sails off among the cheers of the crowd with the simple words:
"God bless thee".  Andre, who loves Gervaise with strong and
everlasting affection turns to her full of hope.  He is gently but
firmly rebuked, and sadly leaves her, while Gervaise is left to her own
sad memories, which carry her back to the short happy time, when she
was loved and won and alas {160} forsaken by a stranger of high
position.  Marion, who loves Andre hopelessly, vainly tries to brighten
up her companion.  They are all frightened by the news of a ship being
in danger at sea.  A violent storm has arisen, and when Maire Grisard,
the builder of the yacht pronounces her name "Irrlicht," Gervaise
starts with a wild cry.  The ship is seen battling with the waves,
while Andre rushes in to bring Gervaise a telegraphic dispatch from
Paris.  It tells her, that her child is at death's door.  Tournaud,
catching the paper, in a moment guesses the whole tragedy of his
daughter's life.  In his shame and wrath he curses her, but all her
thoughts are centered on the ship, on which the count, her child's
father is struggling against death.  She implores Andre to save him,
but he is deaf to her entreaties.  Then she rushes off to ring the
alarm-bell, but nobody dares to risk his life in the storm.  At last,
seeing all her efforts vain, she looses a boat, and drives out alone
into night and perdition.  As soon as Andre perceives her danger, he
follows her.  At this moment a flash of lightning which is followed by
a deafening crash shows the Yacht rising out of the waves for the last
time, and then plunging down into a watery grave forever.--The whole
assembly sink on their knees in fervent prayer, which is so far
granted, that Andre brings back Gervaise unhurt.  She is but in a deep
swoon, and her father, deeply touched, pardons her.  When she opens her
eyes, and shudderingly understands that her sacrifice was fruitless,
she takes a little {161} flask of poison from her bosom and slowly
empties it.  Then, taking a last farewell of the home of her childhood
and of her early love, she recommends Marion to Andre's care.  By this
time the poison has begun to take effect and the poor girl, thinking
that in the waving willow branches she sees the form of her lover,
beckoning to her, sighs "I come beloved" and sinks back dead.



LA JUIVE (THE JEWESS).

Grand Opera in five acts by HALEVY.

Text by EUGENE SCRIBE.


This opera created a great sensation when it first appeared on the
stage of the Grand Opera at Paris in the year 1835, and it has never
lost its attraction.  It was one of the first grand operas to which
brilliant mise en scene, gorgeous decorations etc., added success.

Halevy's great talent lies in orchestration, which is here rich and
effective; his style, half French, half Italian, is full of beautiful
effects of a high order.

The libretto is one of the best which was ever written by the dexterous
and fertile Scribe.

The scene of action is laid in Constance, in the year 1414 during the
Council.

In the first act the opening of the Council is celebrated with great
pomp.

The Catholics, having gained a victory over the Hussites, Huss is to be
burnt, and the Jews, equally disliked, are oppressed and put down still
{162} more than before.  All the shops are closed, only Eleazar, a rich
Jewish jeweller has kept his open, and is therefore about to be
imprisoned and put to death, when Cardinal de Brogni intervenes, and
saves the Jew and his daughter Recha from the people's fury.  The
Cardinal has a secret liking for Eleazar, though he once banished him
from Rome.  He hopes to gain news from him of his daughter, who was
lost in early childhood.  But Eleazar hates the Cardinal bitterly.
When the mob is dispersed, Prince Leopold, the Imperial
Commander-in-Chief, approaches Recha.  Under the assumed name of Samuel
he has gained her affections, and she begs him to be present at a
religious feast, which is to take place that evening at her father's
house.  The act closes with a splendid procession of the Emperor and
all his dignitaries.  Ruggiero, the chief judge in Constance seeing the
hated Jew and his daughter amongst the spectators, is about to seize
them once more, when Prince Leopold steps between and delivers them, to
Recha's great astonishment.

In the second act we are introduced to a great assembly of Jews, men
and women, assisting at a religious ceremony.  Samuel is there with
them.  The holy act is however interrupted by the Emperor's niece,
Princess Eudora, who comes to purchase a golden chain, which once
belonged to the Emperor Constantin, and which she destines for her
bride-groom, Prince Leopold.  Eleazar is to bring it himself on the
following day.  Samuel overhearing {163} this is full of trouble.  When
the assembly is broken up and all have gone, he returns once more to
Recha, and finding her alone, confesses that he is a Christian.  Love
prevails over Recha's filial devotion, and she consents to fly with her
lover, but they are surprised by Eleazar.  Hearing of Samuel's
falseness, he first swears vengeance, but, mollified by his daughter's
entreaties, he only bids him marry Recha.  Samuel refuses and has to
leave, the father cursing him, Recha bewailing her lover's falseness.

In the third act we assist at the Imperial banquet.  Eleazar brings the
chain, and is accompanied by Recha, who at once recognizes in Eudora's
bridegroom, her lover, Samuel.  She denounces the traitor, accusing him
of living in unlawful wedlock with a Jewess, a crime, which is
punishable by death.

Leopold (alias Samuel) is outlawed, the Cardinal Brogni pronounces the
anathema upon all three, and they are put into prison.

In the fourth act Eudora visits Recha in prison, and by her prayers not
only overcomes Recha's hate, but persuades her to save Leopold by
declaring him innocent.  Recha, in her noblemindedness, pardons Leopold
and Eudora, and resolves to die, alone.

Meanwhile the Cardinal has an interview with Eleazar, who tells him
that he knows the Jew, who once saved the Cardinal's little daughter
from the flames.  Brogni vainly entreats him to reveal {164} the name.
He promises to save Recha, should Eleazar be willing to abjure his
faith, but the latter remains firm, fully prepared to die.

In the fifth act we hear the clamors of the people who furiously demand
the Jew's death.

Ruggiero announces to father and daughter the verdict of death by fire.
Leopold is set free through Recha's testimony.  When in view of the
funeral pile, Eleazar asks Recha, if she would prefer to live in joy
and splendor and to accept the Christian faith, but she firmly answers
in the negative.  Then she is led on to death, and she is just plunged
into the glowing furnace, when Eleazar, pointing to her, informs the
Cardinal, that the poor victim is his long-lost daughter; then Eleazar
follows Recha into the flames, while Brogni falls back senseless.



JUNKER HEINZ (SIR HARRY).

Opera in three acts by KARL VON PERFALL.

Text after Hertz's poem: Henri of Suabia by FRANZ GRANDOUR.


This opera composed recently by the Superintendent of the Royal Opera
in Munich, has made its way to the most renowned stages in Germany,
which proves that the composition is not a common one.

Indeed, though it is not composed in the large style to which we are
now accustomed from hearing so much of Wagner, the music is
interesting, particularly so, because it is entirely original and free
from reminiscenses.--There are some little {165} masterpieces in it,
which deserve to become popular on account of their freshness; wit and
humor however are not the composer's "forte" and so the first act, in
which the vagabonds present themselves, is by far the least interesting.

The libretto is very well done; it has made free use of Hertz's pretty
poem.

The scene is laid in the beginning of the 11th century.  The first act
lands us near Esslingen in Suabia, the two following near Speier.

Three swindlers concoct a plot to acquire wealth by robbing the
Emperor's daughter.  To this end, one of them, Marudas, a former clerk,
has forged a document, in which the Emperor of Byzantium asks for the
hand of Agnes, daughter of Conrad, Emperor of Germany, who just
approaching with his wife Gisela, is received with acclamation by the
citizens of Esslingen.  Soon after, the three vagabonds appear in
decent clothes, crying for help; they pretend to have been attacked and
robbed by brigands.  Boccanera, the most insolent of them wears a
bloody bandage round his head.  The document is presented to the
Emperor, who turns gladly to his wife and tells her of the flattering
offer of the Greek Prince.  After he has ordered that the ambassador be
taken good care of, the Emperor is left alone with his wife.  She
tenderly asks him why he always seems so sorrowful and gloomy, and
after a first evasive answer, he confides to his faithful wife what
oppresses him.

Twenty years ago he gave orders to kill a {166} little infant, the son
of his deadliest enemy, Count of Calw, his astronomer Crusius having
prophesied, that this child would wed the Emperor's daughter and reign
after him.  The remembrance of this cruelty now torments him, but
Gisela consoles her husband, hoping and praying that God will pardon
the repentant sinner.  During this intercourse, a young man comes up,
entreating the Emperor to read a document, which was given to the youth
by his dying uncle and destined for the Emperor.  As Conrad reads it,
he learns that this youth is the child, he would have had killed years
ago and who was carried to the forester-house and brought up there.
The Emperor and his wife thank Heaven that they have been spared so
dreadful a sin, but Conrad, afraid of the prophesy, determines to send
the young man, who is called Junker Heinz, away.  He gives him a
document, in which he orders Count Gerold, governor of Speier, to give
his daughter to the three ambassadors of the Emperor of Byzantium.

In the second act we see Agnes, the Emperor's daughter, working and
singing with her damsels.  She is well guarded by old Hiltrudis, but
the worthy lady is obliged to leave for some days and departs with many
exhortations.  Hardly has she gone, than all the working-material
disappears, and the maidens begin to sing and frolic.  The appearance
of Junker Heinz frightens them away.  Heinz, who has ridden long,
thinks to take a little rest, now that he sees the towers of Speier
before {167} him.  He stretches himself on a mossy bank and is soon
asleep.--Shortly afterwards the Princess Agnes peeps about with her
companion Bertha.  She is highly pleased with the appearance of the
strange hunter, and seeing him asleep, she gazes at him, until she
insensibly falls in love with him.  Observing the document which the
stranger has in his keeping, she takes and reads it, and disgusted with
its contents throws it into the fountain, quickly fetching another
parchment which was once given to her by her father, and which contains
both permission to wish for something and her father's promise to grant
her wish.

When Heinz awakes, and finds the loveliest of the maidens beside him,
he falls as deeply in love as the young lady, but their tender
interview is soon interrupted by the blowing of hunter's horns.

In the third act Count Gerold, who has come with a suite, to accompany
the Princess on a hunt, is presented with the Emperor's document by
Heinz, who cannot read and who is wholly ignorant of the change which
Agnes has made.  Though greatly astonished at the Emperor's command to
wed Agnes to the bringer of his letter, Count Gerold is accustomed to
obey, and Heinz, who first refuses compliance with the strange command,
at once acquiesces, when he sees that his lady-love and the Princess
are one and the same person.  About to go to church, they are detained
by the Emperor, who scornfully charges Heinz with fraud.

But when Count Gerold presents the document, {168} his scorn turns on
Agnes and he orders her to a convent.  Heinz fervently entreats the
Emperor to pardon Agnes, and takes a tender farewell of her.  On the
point of departing for ever, he sees the three ambassadors, whom he
recognizes and loudly denounces as robbers and swindlers.  Boccanera is
obliged to own that his wound came from Junker Heinz, who caught him
stealing sheep.  They are led to prison, while the Emperor, grateful to
Heinz for his daughter's delivery from robbers, gives her to him and
makes Heinz Duke of Suabia, persuaded that it is useless to fight
against that which the stars have prophesied.



A KING AGAINST HIS WILL.

(DER KONIG WIDER WILLEN.)

Comic Opera in three acts by EMANUEL CHABRIER.

Text after a comedy written by ANCELOT, from EMILE DE NAJAC and PAUL
BURANI.


The composer has recently become known in Germany by his opera
Gwendoline, performed at Leipsic a short time ago.  His latest opera,
"A King against his will", was represented on the Royal Opera in
Dresden, April 26th 1890, and through its wit, grace and originality
won great applause.--Indeed, though not quite free from "raffinement",
its melodies are exquisitely interesting and lovely.  Minka's Bohemian
song, her duet with De Nangis, her lover, as well as the duet between
the King and Alexina are master-pieces, and the {169} national coloring
in the song of the Polish bodyguard is characteristic enough.

The libretto is most amusing, though the plot is complicated.  The
scene is laid at Cracow in the year 1574.--Its subject is derived from
a historical fact.  Henry de Valois has been elected King of Poland,
through the machinations of his ambitious mother, Catarina di Medici,
to whom it has been prophesied, that all her sons should be crowned.

The gay Frenchman most reluctantly accepts the honor, but the delight
of his new Polish subjects at having him, is not greater than his own
enchantment with his new Kingdom.

The first act shows the new King surrounded by French noblemen, gay and
thoughtless like himself; but watching all his movements by orders of
his mother, who fears his escape.  By chance the King hears from a
young bondwoman Minka, who loves De Nangis, his friend, and wishes to
save him a price, that a plot had been formed by the Polish noblemen,
who do not yet know him personally, and he at once decides to join the
conspiracy against his own person.--Knowing his secretary, Fritelli to
be one of the conspirators, he declares that he is acquainted with
their proceedings and threatens him with death, should he not silently
submit to all his orders.--The frightened Italian promises to lead him
into the house of Lasky, the principal conspirator, where he intends to
appear as De Nangis.  But before this, in order to prevent discovery he
{170} assembles his guard and suite, and in their presence accuses his
favorite De Nangis with treachery, and has him safely locked up in
apparent deep disgrace.

The second act opens with a festival at Lasky's, under cover of which
the King is to be arrested and sent over the frontier.  Now the King,
being a total stranger to the whole assembly, excepting Fritelli,
presents himself as De Nangis and swears to dethrone his fickle friend,
the King, this very night.  But meanwhile De Nangis, who, warned by
Minka's song, has escaped from his confinement through the window,
comes up, and is at once presented by the pretended De Nangis as King
Henry.  The true De Nangis complying with the jest, at once issues his
Kingly orders, threatening to punish his antagonists and proclaiming
his intention to make the frightened Minka his Queen.  He is again
confined by the conspirators, who, finding him so dangerous, resolve to
kill him.  This is entirely against King Henry's will, and he at once
revokes his oath, proclaiming himself to be the true King and offering
himself, if need shall be as their victim.  But he is not believed; the
only person, who knows him, Fritelli, disowns him, and Alexina, the
secretary's wife, a former sweetheart of the King in Venice, to whom he
has just made love again under his assumed name, declares, that he is
De Nangis.--Henry is even appointed by lot to inflict the death-stroke
on the unfortunate King.  Determined to destroy himself rather than let
his friend suffer, he opens the door to De Nangis' {171} prison, but
the bird has again flown.  Minka, though despairing of ever belonging
to one so highborn has found means to liberate him, and is now ready to
suffer for her interference.  She is however protected by Henry, who
once more swears to force the King from the country.

The third act takes place in the environs of Crakow, where preparations
are made for the King's entry.  No one knows who is to be crowned,
Henry de Valois or the Arch-Duke of Austria, the pretender supported by
the Polish nobles, but Fritelli coming up assures the innkeeper, that
it is to be the Arch-Duke.  Meanwhile the King enters in hot haste
asking for horses, in order to take himself away as quickly as
possible.  Unfortunately there is only one horse left and no driver,
but the King orders this to be got ready, and declares that he will
drive himself.  During his absence Alexina and Minka, who have
proceeded to the spot, are full of pity for the unfortunate King, as
well as for his friend De Nangis.  Alexina resolves to put on servant's
clothes, in order to save the fugitive, and to drive herself.  Of
course Henry is enchanted when recognizing his fair driver and both set
about to depart.

Minka, left alone, bewails her fate and wants to stab herself,
whereupon De Nangis suddenly appears in search for the King.  At the
sight of him, Minka quickly dries her tears, being assured that her
lover is true to her.  Fritelli however, who at first had rejoiced to
see his wife's admirer depart, {172} is greatly dismayed at hearing
that his fair wife was the servant-driver.  He madly rushes after them,
to arrest the fugitives.  But the faithful guard is already on the
King's track, and together with his Cavaliers, brings them back in
triumph.

Finding that, whether her will or no, he must abide by his lot, and
hearing further, that the Arch-Duke has renounced his pretentions to
the crown of Poland, the King at last submits.  He unites the faithful
lovers, De Nangis and Minka, sends Fritelli as Ambassador to Venice
accompanied by his wife Alexina, and all hail Henry de Valois as King
of Poland.



LOHENGRIN.

Romantic Opera in three acts by RICHARD WAGNER.


This is the most popular of all Wagner's operas.  No need to say more
about its music, which is so generally known and admired, that every
child in Germany knows the graceful aria, where Lohengrin dismisses the
swan, the superb bridal chorus etc.

Wagner again took his material from the old legend, which tells us of
the mystical knight Lohengrin, (Veron of Percifal), Keeper of the "Holy
Grail".

The scene is laid near Antwerp, where "Heinrich der Vogler," King of
Germany, is just levying troops amongst his vassals of Brabant, to
repulse the Hungarian invaders.  The King finds the people {173} in a
state of great commotion, for Count Frederick Telramund accuses Elsa of
Brabant, of having killed her young brother Godfrey, heir to the Duke
of Brabant, who died a short time ago, leaving his children to the care
of Telramund.  Elsa was to be Telramund's wife, but he wedded Ortrud of
Friesland and now claims the deserted Duchy of Brabant.

As Elsa declares her innocence, not knowing what has become of her
brother, who was taken from her during her sleep, the King resolves to
decide by a tourney in which the whole matter shall be left to the
judgment of God.  Telramund, sure of his rights, is willing to fight
with any champion, who may defend Elsa.  All the noblemen of Brabant
refuse to do so, and even the King, though struck by Elsa's innocent
appearance, does not want to oppose his valiant and trustworthy warrior.

Elsa alone is calm, she trusts in the help of the heavenly knight, who
has appeared to her in a dream, and publicly declares her intention of
offering to her defender the crown and her hand.  While she prays,
there arrives a knight in silver armor; a swan draws his boat.  He
lands, Elsa recognizes the knight of her dream and he at once offers to
fight for the accused maiden on two conditions, first that she shall
become his wife, and second, that she never will ask for his name and
his descent.

Elsa solemnly promises and the combat {174} begins.  The strange knight
is victorious, and Telramund, whose life the stranger spares is with
his wife Ortrud outlawed.

The latter is a sorceress; she has deceived her husband, who really
believes in the murder of Godfrey, while as a matter of fact she has
abducted the child.  In the second act we see her at the door of the
Ducal palace, where preparations for the wedding are already being
made.  She plans vengeance.  Her husband, full of remorse and feeling
that his wife has led him on to a shameful deed, curses her as the
cause of his dishonor.  She derides him and rouses his pride by calling
him a coward.  Then she pacifies him with the assurance, that she will
induce Elsa to break her promise and ask for the name of her husband,
being sure, that then all the power of this mysterious champion will
vanish.

When Elsa steps on the balcony to confide her happiness to the stars,
she hears her name spoken in accents so sad, that her tender heart is
moved.  Ortrud bewails her lot, invoking Elsa's pity.  The Princess
opens her door, urging the false woman to share her palace and her
fortune.  Ortrud at once tries to sow distrust in Elsa's innocent heart.

As the morning dawns, a rich procession of men and women throng to the
Muenster, where Elsa is to be united to her protector.  Telramund tries
vainly to accuse the stranger; he is pushed back and silenced.  As Elsa
is about to enter the church, Ortrud steps forward, claiming the right
of {175} precedence.  Elsa, frightened, repents too late having
protected her.  Ortrud upbraids her with not even having asked her
husband's name and descent.  All are taken aback, but Elsa defends her
husband, winning everybody by her quiet dignity.

She turns to Lohengrin for protection, but, alas, the venom rankles in
her heart.

When they are all returning from church, Telramund once more steps
forth, accusing Lohengrin and demanding from the King to know the
stranger's name.  Lohengrin declares that his name may not be told,
excepting his wife asks.  Elsa is in great trouble, but once more her
love conquers, and she does not put the fatal question.

But in the third act, when the two lovers are alone she knows no rest.
Although her husband asks her to trust him, she fears that he may once
leave her as mysteriously, as he came, and at last she cannot refrain
from asking the luckless question.  From this moment all happiness is
lost to her.  Telramund enters to slay his enemy, but Lohengrin, taking
his sword, kills him with one stroke.  Then he leads Elsa before the
King and loudly announces his secret.  He tells the astounded hearers,
that he is the Keeper of the Holy-Grail.  Sacred and invulnerable to
the villain, a defender of right and virtue, he may stay with mankind
as long as his name is unknown.  But now he is obliged to reveal it.
He is Lohengrin, son of Percival, King of the Grail, and is now
compelled to leave his wife and return to his home.  The swan appears,
from whose neck {176} Lohengrin takes a golden ring, giving it to Elsa
together with his sword and golden horn.

Just as Lohengrin is about to depart Ortrud appears, triumphantly
declaring, that it was she, who changed young Godfrey into a swan, and
that Lohengrin would have freed him too, had Elsa not mistrusted her
husband.--Lohengrin, hearing this, sends a fervent prayer to Heaven and
loosening the swan's golden chain, the animal dips under water and in
his stead rises Godfrey, the lawful heir of Brabant.  A white dove
descends to draw the boat in which Lohengrin glides away and Elsa falls
senseless in her brother's arm.



LORLE.

Opera in three acts by ALBAN FOERSTER.

Text by HANS HEINRICH SCHEFSKY.


With this opera its composer has made a lucky hit; it stands far higher
than the "Maidens of Schilda", by dint of the charming subject, founded
on Auerbach's wonderful village-story: Die Frau Professorin.  This
romance is so universally known and admired all over Germany, that it
ensures the success of the opera.  The music is exceedingly well
adapted to the subject; its best parts are the "Lieder" (songs) which
are often exquisitely sweet, harmonious and refined.  They realize
Foerster's prominent strength, and nowhere could they be better placed
than in this sweet and touching story.

Though the libretto is not very carefully written, it is better than
the average performances of this {177} kind, and with poetical
intuition Schefsky has refrained from the temptation, to make it turn
out well, as Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer has done in her play of L'orle,
which is a weak counterpart of Auerbach's village-tragedy.

The first representation of the opera took place in Dresden on June
18th of 1891; it won the success it truly deserves.

The first act which is laid in a village of the Black Forest,
represents the square before the house of the wealthy Lindenhost.  He
wishes his only daughter Lorle to marry a well to do young peasant,
named Balder, who loved her from her childhood.  But Lorle rejects him,
having lost her heart to a painter, who had stayed in her father's
house, and who had taken her as a model for a picture of the Madonna,
which adorns the altar of the village church.  Lorle's friend Baerbele
guesses her secret, and advises her to consult fate, by wreathing
secretly a garland of blue-bells and reed grass.  This wreath she is to
throw into the branches of an oak calling aloud the name of her lover.
If the garland is stopped by the boughs, her wishes are fulfilled, if
it falls back into the girl's hands, she must give up hope for the year.

Both maidens resolve to try their fate on the very same night, which
happens to be St. John's (midsummer-night) the true night for the
working of the charm.

Meanwhile the Hussars arrive, to carry away the newly enlisted
peasants.  The sergeant willingly {178} permits a last dance, and all
join in it heartily, but when the hour of parting comes the frightened
Balder hides in an empty barrel.  Unfortunately his officer happens to
choose this one barrel for himself, deeming it filled with wine.  When
it is laid on the car, the missing recruit is promptly apprehended.

The scene changes now to one of sylvan solitude, through which two
wanderers are sauntering.  They are artists, and one of them,
Reinhardt, is attracted to the spot by his longing for the sweet
village-flower, whom he has not forgotten in the whirl of the great
world.  Already he sees the windows of his sweet-heart glimmer through
the trees, when suddenly light footsteps cause the friends to hide
behind a large oak-tree.  The two maidens who appear are Lorle and
Baerbele.  The former prays fervently, then throwing her garland she
shyly calls her lover's name Reinhardt.  The latter stepping from
behind the tree skillfully catches the wreath--and the maiden.  This
moment decides upon their fates; Reinhardt passionately declares his
love, while Walter amuses himself with pretty Baerbele, whose naive
coquetry pleases him mightily.

The following act introduces us to Reinhardt's studio in a German
residence.  A year has gone by since he wooed and won his bride; alas,
he is already tired of her.  The siren Maria countess of Matran, with
whom he was enamoured years ago and whose portrait he has just
finished, has again completely bewitched him.

{179}

In vain Lorle adorns herself in her bridal attire at the anniversary of
their wedding; the infatuated husband has no eye for her loveliness,
and roughly pushes her from him.  Left alone the poor young wife gives
vent to her feelings in an exquisite sigh of longing for her native
country.  "Haett' ich verlassen nie dich, meine Haiden."  (Would I had
never left thee, o my heath.)

A visit from her dear Baerbele somewhat consoles her and delights
Walter, the faithful house-friend.  Balder, Lorle's old play mate,
still recruit, also comes in and gladdens her by a bunch of
heath-flowers.  But hardly have they enjoyed their meeting, when the
prince is announced, who desires to have a look at the countess'
portrait.  The rustic pair are hastily hidden behind the easel, and
Lorle receives his Royal Highness with artless gracefullness,
presenting him with the flowers she has just received.  Her husband is
on thorns, but the prince affably accepts the gift and invites her to a
festival, which is to take place in the evening.  Then he looks at the
picture, expressing some disappointment about its execution, which so
vexes the sensitive artist that he roughly pushes the picture from the
easel thereby revealing the two innocents behind it.  Great is his
wrath at his wife's imprudence, while the prince exits with the
countess, unable to repress a smile at the unexpected event.

There now ensues a very piquant musical intermezzo, well making up for
the missing overture.  The rising curtain reveals a brilliant court
{180} festival.  Reinhardt has chosen the countess for his shepherdess,
while Lorle, standing a moment alone and heart-sore, is suddenly chosen
by the Prince as queen of the fete.  After a charming gavotte the
guests disperse in the various rooms.  Only the countess stays behind
with Reinhardt and so enthralls him, that he forgets honor and wife,
and falls at her feet, stammering words of love and passion.
Unfortunately Lorle witnesses the scene; she staggers forward, charging
her husband with treason.  The guests rush to her aid, but this last
stroke is too much for the poor young heart, she sinks down in a dead
faint.

The closing act takes place a year later.  Walter and Baerbele are
married, and only Lorle's sad fate mars their happiness.  Lorle has
returned to her father's home broken-hearted, and this grief for his
only child has changed the old man sadly.

Again it is midsummernight, and the father is directing his tottering
steps to the old oak, when he is arrested by a solitary wanderer, whom
sorrow and remorse have also aged considerably.  With disgust and
loathing he recognizes his child's faithless husband, who comes to
crave pardon from the wife he so deeply wronged.  Alas, he only comes,
to see her die.

Lorle's feeble steps are also guided by her friends to the old oak, her
favorite resting-place.  There she finds her last wish granted; it is
to see Reinhardt once more, before she dies and to pardon him.  The
luckless husband rushes to her feet {181} and tries vainly to restrain
the fast-ebbing life.  With the grateful sigh "he loves me", she sinks
dead into his arms, while a sweet and solemn choir in praise of St.
John's night concludes the tragedy.



LOVE'S BATTLE.

(DER LIEBESKAMPF.)

Opera in two acts.

Music and Text by ERIK MEYER-HELMUND.


This young composer, whose first opera was brought on the stage in
Dresden in the spring of 1892, has been known for several years to the
musical world by his most charming and effective songs.  That he has
talent, even genius is a fact which this opera again demonstrates, but
the "making" is somewhat too easy not to say negligent, and it reminds
us of Mascagni, whose laurels are an inducement to all our young
genius' to "go and do likewise".  Even the plot with its Corsican
scenery has a strong resemblance to Cavalleria Rusticana.  Its brevity,
both acts last but fifty minutes, is a decided advantage, for the
easy-flowing melodies, which come quite naturally to the composer
cannot fail to attract the public, without being able to tire
them.--One of the most delightful, a really exquisite piece of music is
the duet between Giulietta and Giovanni.

The text, which is likewise written by the musician himself, has a very
simple plot.--

{182}

Pietro, a sailor returns from a long voyage, only to find his promised
bride Maritana the wife of another.--

After having waited three years for his return, she fell into dire
distress, which was still augmented by the report, that Pietro's ship
"Elena" had been wrecked and her lover drowned.  An innkeeper Arrigo
came to her aid, and not only rescued her from misery, but also adopted
her child, the offspring of Maritana's love for Pietro, after which she
promised him her hand in gratitude.

Not long after their marriage the "Elena" returns with Pietro, who
never doubts his sweetheart's constancy.  Great is his dismay, when he
hears from Arrigo and his father, that Maritana is lost to him.  Pietro
endeavours to persuade Maritana to fly with him, but the young wife,
although conscious of her affections for him, denies that she ever
loved him.

The second act begins with the wedding festival of Giovanni and
Giulietta, Arrigo's niece.  After the charming love-duet above
mentioned, Pietro once more offers his love to Maritana, but in vain.

In the midst of the turmoil of frolic, in which Pietro seems one of the
wildest and gayest, Arrigo takes him aside, whispering: "There is no
room here for both of us, unless you leave Maritana in peace.  Quit
this place; there are more girls in the world to suit you."--Pietro
promises, and in his passion he at once turns to the bride Giulietta,
whom he embraces.--Of course her bridegroom {183} Giovanni is not
willing to put up with this piece of folly; a violent quarrel ensues,
in which the men rush upon Pietro with daggers drawn.

Maritana, willing to sacrifice herself in a quarrel, for which she
feels herself alone responsible, rushes between the combatants.  Then
Pietro, fully awake to her love, but seeing that she is lost to him,
quickly ascends a rock and calling out "O Sea eternal, I am thine,
farewell Maritana, we shall meet in Heaven" he precipitates himself
into the waves, while Maritana falls back in a faint.



LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR.

Tragic Opera in three acts by GAETANO DONIZETTI.

Text from Scott's romance by SALVATORE CAMMERANO.


This opera is Donizetti's master-piece and except his "Figlia del
reggimento" and "Lucrezia Borgia" is the only one of his fifty operas,
which is still given on all stages abroad.  The chief parts, those of
Lucia and Edgardo, offer plenty of scope for the display of brilliant
talent and Lucia in particular is a tragic heroine of the first rank.

In the libretto there is not much left of Scott's fine romance.
Edgardo, the noble lover is most sentimental, and generally English
characteristics have had to give place to Italian coloring.

Henry Ashton, Lord of Lammermoor has discovered that his sister Lucia
loves his mortal enemy, Sir Edgardo of Ravenswood.  He confides {184}
to Lucia's tutor, Raymond, that he is lost, if Lucia does not marry
another suitor of his (her brother's) choice.

Lucia and Edgardo meet in the park.  Edgardo tells her, that he is
about to leave Scotland for France in the service of his country.  He
wishes to be reconciled to his enemy, Lord Ashton, for though the
latter has done him all kinds of evil, though he has slain his father
and burnt his castle, Edgardo is willing to sacrifice his oath of
vengeance to his love for Lucia.  But the lady, full of evil
forebodings, entreats him to wait and swears eternal fidelity to him.
After having bound himself by a solemn oath, he leaves her
half-distracted with grief.

In the second act Lord Ashton shows a forged letter to his sister,
which goes to prove that her lover is false.  Her brother now presses
her more and more to wed his friend Arthur, Lord Bucklaw, declaring,
that he and his party are lost and that Arthur alone can save him from
the executioner's axe.  At last when even her tutor Raymond beseeches
her to forget Edgardo and, like the others, believes him to be
faithless, Lucia consents to the sacrifice.  The wedding takes place in
great haste, but just as Lucia has finished signing the
marriage-contract, Edgardo enters to claim her as his own.

With grief and unbounded passion he now sees in his bride a traitress,
and tearing his ring of betrothal from her finger, he throws it at her
feet.

Henry, Arthur and Raymond order the raving {185} lover to leave the
castle and the act closes in the midst of confusion and despair.

The third act opens with Raymond's announcement that Lucia has lost her
reason and has killed her husband in the bridal room.  Lucia herself
enters to confirm his awful news; she is still in bridal attire and in
her demented condition believes that Arthur will presently appear for
the nuptial ceremony.  Everybody is full of pity for her, and her
brother repents his harshness, too late, alas!--Lucia is fast dying and
Eliza leads her away amid the lamentations of all present.

Edgardo, hearing of these things, while wandering amid the tombs of his
ancestors, resolves to see Lucia once more.  When dying she asks for
him, but he comes too late.  The funeral-bells toll, and he stabs
himself, praying to be united to his bride in heaven.



LUCREZIA BORGIA.

A tragic Opera in three acts by DONIZETTI.

Text by FELICE ROMANI after Victor Hugo's drama.


Donizetti's Lucrezia was one of the first tragic operas to command
great success, notwithstanding its dreadful theme and its light music,
which is half French, half Italian.  It is in some respects the
predecessor of Verdi's operas, Rigoletto, Trovatore etc., which have
till now held their own in many theatres because the subject is
interesting and the music may well entertain us for an evening, {186}
though its value often lies only in the striking harmonies.  The
libretto cannot inspire us with feelings of particular pleasure, the
heroine, whose part is by far the best and most interesting, being the
celebrated murderess and poisoner Lucrezia Borgia.  At the same time
she gives evidence in her dealings with her son Gennaro of possessing a
very tender and motherly heart, and the songs, in which she pours out
her love for him are really fine as well as touching.

Lucrezia, wife of Don Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, goes to Venice in
disguise, to see the son of her first marriage, Gennaro.  In his
earliest youth he was given to a fisherman, who brought him up as his
own son.--Gennaro feels himself attracted towards the strange and
beautiful woman, who visits him, but hearing from his companions, who
recognize and charge her with all sorts of crimes, that she is Lucrezia
Borgia, he abhors her.  Don Alfonso, not knowing the existence of this
son of an early marriage, is jealous, and when Gennaro comes to Ferrara
and in order to prove his hatred of the Borgias, tears off Lucrezia's
name and scutcheon from the palace-gates, Rustighello, the Duke's
confidant is ordered to imprison him.  Lucrezia, hearing from her
servant Gubella of the outrage to her name and honor complains to the
Duke, who promises immediate punishment of the malefactor.

Gennaro enters, and terror-stricken Lucrezia recognizes her son.
Vainly does she implore the {187} Duke to spare the youth.  With
exquisite cruelty he forces her to hand the poisoned golden cup to the
culprit herself, and, departing, bids her accompany her prisoner to the
door.  This order gives her an opportunity to administer an antidote by
which she saves Gennaro's life, and she implores him to fly.  But
Gennaro does not immediately follow her advice, being induced by his
friend Orsini to assist at a grand festival at Prince Negroni's.

Unhappily all those young men, who formerly reproached and offended
Lucrezia so mortally in presence of her son, are assembled there by
Lucrezia's orders.  She has mixed their wine with poison, and herself
appears to announce their death.  Horror-stricken she sees Gennaro, who
was not invited, among them.  He has partaken of the wine like the
others, but on her offering him an antidote, he refuses to take it; its
quantity is insufficient for his friends, and he threatens to kill the
murderess.  Then she reveals the secret of his birth to him, but he
only turns from this mother, for whom he had vainly longed his whole
life, and dies.  The Duke coming up to witness his wife's horrible
victory, finds all either dead or dying and Lucrezia herself expires,
stricken down by deadly remorse and pain.



{188}

THE MACCABEES.

Opera in three acts by ANTON RUBINSTEIN.

Text by MOSENTHAL, taken from Otto Ludwig's drama of the same name.


This opera when it appeared, created a great sensation in the musical
world.  In it the eminent pianist and composer has achieved a splendid
success.  The music belongs to the noblest and best and is in most
masterly fashion adapted to the Jewish character.  Ludwig and
Mosenthal, both names of renown in Germany, have given a libretto
worthy of the music.

The hero is the famous warrior of the Old Testament.  The scene takes
place 160 years before Christ, partly at Modin, a city in the mountains
of Judah and partly in Jerusalem and its environs.

The first act shows Leah with three of her sons, Eleazar, Joarim and
Benjamin.  Eleazar is envious of Judah, the eldest son, whose courage
and strength are on everybody's lips, but his mother consoles him by a
prophesy, that Eleazar shall one day be High-priest and King of the
Jews.

The fete of the sheep-shearing is being celebrated, and Noemi, Judah's
wife, approaches Leah with garlands of flowers, asking for her
benediction.  But she is repulsed by her mother-in-law, who is too
proud to recognize the low-born maid as her equal, and slights her son
Judah for his love.  She tries to incite him into rebellion against the
Syrians, when Jojakim, a priest appears.  He {189} announces the death
of Osias, High-priest of Zion and calls one of Leah's sons to the
important office.--As Judah feels no vocation for such a burden,
Eleazar, his mother's favorite is chosen, and so Leah sees her dream
already fulfilled.  They are about to depart, when the approaching army
of the Syrians is announced.  Terror seizes the people, as Gorgias, the
leader of the enemy marches up with his soldiers and loudly proclaims,
that the Jews are to erect an altar to Pallas Athene, to whom they must
pray henceforth.  Leah seeks to inflame Eleazar's spirit, but his
courage fails him.  The altar is soon erected, and as Gorgias sternly
orders that sacrifices are to be offered to the goddess, Boas, Noemi's
father is found willing to bow to the enemy's commands.  But the
measure is full, Judah steps forth and striking Boas, the traitor to
their faith, dead, loudly praises Jehova.  He calls his people to arms,
and repulses the Syrians and Leah, recognizing her son's greatness,
gives him her benediction.

The second act represents a deep ravine near Emaus; the enemy is beaten
and Judah is resolved to drive him from Zion's walls, but Jojakim warns
him not to profane the coming Sabbath.

Judah tries to overrule the priests and to excite the people, but he is
not heard, and the enemy is able to kill the psalm-singing soldiers
like lambs.

The next scene shows us Eleazar with Cleopatra, daughter of King
Antiochus of Syria.

{190}

They love each other, and Eleazar consents to forsake his religion for
her, while she promises to make him King of Jerusalem.

In the next scene Leah in the city of Modin is greeted with
acclamations of joy, when Simei, a relative of the slain Boas appears
to bewail Judah's defeat: Other fugitives coming up, confirm his
narrative of the massacre.--Leah hears that Judah fled and that
Antiochus approaches conducted by her own son Eleazar.  She curses the
apostate.--She has still two younger sons, but the Israelites take them
from her to give as hostages to the King Antiochus.  Leah is bound to a
cypress-tree by her own people, who attribute their misfortunes to her
and to her sons.  Only Noemi, the despised daughter-in-law remains to
liberate the miserable mother, and together they resolve to ask the
tyrant's pardon for the sons.

In the third act we find Judah, alone and unrecognized in the deserted
streets of Jerusalem.  Hearing the prayers of the people that Judah may
be sent to them, he steps forth and tells them who he is, and all sink
at his feet, swearing to fight with him to the death.  While Judah
prays to God for a sign of grace, Noemi comes with the dreadful news of
the events at Modin, which still further rouses the anger and courage
of the Israelites.  Meanwhile Leah has succeeded in penetrating into
Antiochus' presence to beg the lives of her children from him.
Eleazar, Gorgias and Cleopatra join their prayers to those of the poor
mother, and at last {191} Antiochus consents, and the two boys are led
into the room.

But the King only grants their liberty on condition that they renounce
their faith.  They are to be burnt alive, should they abide by their
heresy.  The mother's heart is full of agony, but the children's noble
courage prevails.  They are prepared to die for their God, but the
unhappy mother is not even allowed to share their death.  When Eleazar
sees his brother's firmness, his conscience awakens, and
notwithstanding Cleopatra's entreaties he joins them on their way to
death.  The hymns of the youthful martyrs are heard, but with the sound
of their voices there suddenly mingles that of a growing tumult.
Antiochus falls, shot through the heart, and the Israelites rush in,
headed by Judah, putting the Syrians to flight.  Leah sees her people's
victory, but the trial has been too great, she sinks back lifeless.
Judah is proclaimed King of Zion, but he humbly bends his head, giving
all glory to the Almighty God.



THE MAGIC FLUTE.

(DIE ZAUBERFLOeTE.)

Opera in two acts by MOZART.

Text by SCHIKANEDER.


This last opera of Mozart's, written only a few months before his
death, approaches so near to perfection, that one almost feels in it
the motion of the spirit-wings which were so soon alas! to bear {192}
away Mozart's genius from earth, too early by far, for he died at the
age of 35, having accomplished in this short space of time more than
other great composers in a long life.

The Magic Flute is one of the most remarkable operas known on the
stage.  It is half fictitious, half allegorical.--The text, done by the
old stage-director Schikaneder was long mistaken for a fiction without
any common sense, but Mozart saw deeper, else he would not have adapted
his wonderful music to it.--It is true that the tales of old Egypt are
mixed up in a curious manner with modern freemasonry, but nobody,
except a superficial observer, could fail to catch a deep moral sense
in the naive rhymes.

The contents of the opera are the following: Prince Tamino, a youth as
valiant as he is noble and virtuous, is implored by the Queen of Night,
to save her daughter, whom the old and sage High-priest Sarastro has
taken from her by force.  The bereaved mother pours forth her woe in
heart-melting sounds and promises everything to the rescuer of her
child.  Tamino is filled with ardent desire to serve her.--On his way
he meets the gay Papageno, who at once agrees to share the Prince's
adventures.  Papageno is the gay element in the opera; always cheerful
and in high spirits, his ever-ready tongue plays him many a funny
trick.  So we see him once with a lock on his mouth by way of
punishment for his idle prating.  As he promises never to tell a lie
any more, the lock is taken {193} away by the three Ladies of the Queen
of Night.  Those Ladies present Tamino with a golden flute, giving at
the same time an instrument made with little silver bells to Papageno,
both of which are to help them in times of danger.  The Queen of Night
even sends with them three boy-angels.  These are to point out to them
the ways and means by which they may attain their purpose.

Now the young and beautiful Princess Pamina is pursued by declarations
of love from a negro-servant of Sarastro.  Papageno comes to her
rescue, frightening the negro Monostatos with his feathery dress.
Papageno, on the other hand fears the negro on account of his
blackness, believing him to be the devil in person.  Papageno escapes
with Pamina, but the negro overtakes him with his servants.  Then
Papageno shakes his bells, and lo, all forgetting their wrath forthwith
begin to dance.

Meanwhile Tamino reaches 'Sarastro's castle, and at once asks for the
High-priest, poor Pamina's bitter enemy.  The Under-priests do not
allow him to enter, but explain that their Master Sarastro is as good
as he is sage, and that he always acts for the best.  They assure
Tamino, that the Princess lives and is in no danger.  Full of thanks,
the Prince begins to play on his flute; and just then he hears
Papageno's bells.  At this juncture Sarastro appears, the wise Master,
before whom they al bow.  He punishes the wicked negro; but Tamino and
his Pamina are not to be united without first having given ample proof
of their love and constancy.  {194} Tamino determines to undergo
whatever trials may await him, but the Queen of Night, knowing all,
sends her three Ladies, to deter Tamino and his comrade from their
purpose.  But all temptation is gallantly set aside; they have given a
promise to Sarastro which they will keep.

Even the Queen of Night herself is unable to weaken their strength of
purpose; temptations of every kind overtake them, but Tamino remains
firm.  He is finally initiated into the mysteries of the goddess Isis.

In the interval Pamina deems Tamino faithless.  She would fain die, but
the three celestial youths console her, by assuring her that Tamino's
love is true, and that he passes through the most severe trials solely
on her behalf.

On hearing this Pamina at once asks to share in the trials, and so they
walk together through fire and water, protected by the golden flute, as
well as by their courage and constancy.  They come out purified and
happy.

Papageno, having lost his companion, has grown quite melancholy and
longs for the little wife, that was promised to him and shown to him
only for a few moments.  He resolves at last to end his life by hanging
himself, when the celestial youths appear, reminding him of his bells.
He begins to shake them, and Papagena appears in feathery dress, the
very counter-part of himself.  All might now be well, were it not that
the Queen of Night, a somewhat unreasonable lady, broods vengeance.
{195} She accepts the negro Monostatos as her avenger, and promises to
give him her daughter.  But already Sarastro has done his work; Tamino
is united to his Pamina, and before the sunny light of truth everything
else vanishes and sinks back into night.



THE MAIDENS OF SCHILDA.

Comic Opera in three acts by ALBAN FORSTER.

Text by RUDOLF BUNGE.


The first work of this composer was produced on the stage of the Royal
Dresden theatre on the twelfth of October 1889 and was received with
great applause.  This surprising success is due firstly to the great
popularity, which Forster enjoyed as former Director of the renowned
"Liedertafel" (Society for vocal music) and as teacher, and then to the
numerous pretty melodies intermixed with national airs, in which
particularly the old "Dessauer march" is skilfully interwoven, then the
wellknown student air "Was kommt dort von der Hoeh'", which of course
gladdens the heart of every student old or young.

Nevertheless it might be called an Operette rather than an Opera.  The
text at least does not range any higher, it is often almost silly, the
rhymes bad and unequal.

Nevertheless those who like to be amused by a light and agreeable flow
of music may pass a merry evening, listening to the droll exploits of
the two Schilda maidens.--Schilda and {196} Schildburghers are in
Germany synonymous with narrow mindedness, which is indeed strongly
marked in the inhabitants of this out-of-the way town.

The scene is laid in the last century.

In the first act an order of the Prince of Dessau calls all the
youngsters of Schilda to arms.--The chief magistrate with the
characteristic name of Ruepelmei (Ruepel=Clown), who has already given to
the town so many wise laws, as for instance the one, which decrees that
the Schilda maidens under thirty are not allowed to marry--now
demonstrates to his two nieces, Lenchen and Hedwig, the benefit of his
legislation, in as much as they might otherwise be obliged to take
leave of their husbands.  He wants to marry one of them himself, but
they have already given their hearts to two students and only laugh at
their vain uncle.  This tyrant now orders all the maidens to be locked
up in a place of safety every evening, in order to guard them from
outsiders; further the worthy Schildaers resolve to build a wall, which
is to shut them out from the depraved world.

While Ruepelmei is still reflecting upon these ingenious ideas, a French
Courier, the Marquis de Maltracy enters, imploring the Burgomaster to
hide him from the Prussian pursuers, who are on his track.  He promises
a cross of honor to the ambitious Ruepelmei, who at once hides him in
the Town-hall.--Meanwhile a chorus of students approaches, who have
left Halle to avoid being enlisted in the army.  Lenchen and Hedchen,
recognizing {197} their sweet-hearts among them, greet them joyfully,
and when Ruepelmei appears, they propitiate him by flattery.

A lively scene of student-life ensues, in which the maidens join, after
their old night-guardian Schlump has been intoxicated.

Ruepelmei returning and seeing this spectacle, orders the police to
seize the students, but instead of doing so, they thrust him into the
very same barrel, which he has invented for the punishment of male
citizens, and so he is obliged to be as impotent spectator of their
merry-making.

In the second act he has been liberated by his faithful citizens; the
students have escaped and the maidens are waiting to be locked up in
their place of refuge.--But in the shades of evening the two students,
Berndt and Walter return and are hidden by their sweet-hearts, Lenchen
and Hedchen among the other maidens, after having put on female
garments.--They all have hardly disappeared in the Town-hall, when the
Prince of Dessau arrives with his Grenadiers to seize the students, of
whose flight to Schilda he has been informed.--Ruepelmei tells him, that
he has captured and killed many of them, but the Prince, disbelieving
him, orders his soldiers to search the houses beginning with the
Town-hall.  Ruepelmei, remembering the Marquis, implores him to desist
from his resolution, the Town-hall being the nightly asylum for
Schilda's daughters, but in vain.  Schlump, the snoring guardian is
awakened and ordered to open {198} the door to the room, where the
maidens are singing and frolicking with their guests.--The Marquis de
Maltracy has also introduced himself, but perceiving that he is a spy,
they all turn from him in disdain; when the Prussian Grenadiers are
heard, they quickly hide him in a large trunk.

The Prince, finding all those pretty girls, is quite affable, and a
general dancing and merry-making ensues, during which the students
vainly try to escape, when suddenly two of the Grenadiers perceive that
their respective beauties have beards.--The students are discovered and
at once ordered to be put into the uniform, while Ruepelmei is arrested
and handcuffed notwithstanding his protestations.

When the third act opens, drilling is going on in the town, and Walter
and Berndt are among the recruits.

Lenchen and Hedwig arrive with the other girls to free the
students.--They flatter the drill-sergeant, and soon the drilling is
forgotten--and they are dancing merrily, when the Prince of Dessau
arrives in the midst of the fun and threatens to have the officer shot
for neglect of duty and the students as deserters.  While the maidens
are entreating him to be merciful, Berndt suddenly remembers the French
Courier.  He quickly relates to the Prince, that they have captured a
French Marquis, who has a most important document in his possession,
the plan of war.  The Prince promising to let them free, if that proves
to be true, the Marquis is conducted before the {199} Prince, and the
latter discovers that he is a messenger to the King of France, and that
his letter is to show how the French army might attack the Prussians
unawares.  By this discovery the Germans are saved, for Dessau has time
to send an officer to Saxony with orders to occupy Dresden before the
arrival of the enemy.

Of course, the students are set free, and each of them obtains an
office and the hand of his maiden besides.  The luckless Ruepelmei is
also liberated, being too much of a fool, to deserve even the Prince's
scorn, who further decrees that the foolish town may keep their
Burgomaster, as best suited to their narrow-mindedness.



MARGA.

Opera in one act by GEORG PITTRICH.

Text by ARNO SPIESS.


The first performance of this highly interesting little opera took
place in Dresden in February 1894 and awakened the interest of every
music lover in the hitherto quite unknown composer.  Scenery and Music
are of the colouring now common to modern composers, for whom
unfortunately Mascagni is still the God, at whose shrine they worship.

The scene is laid in a Bulgarian village at the foot of the
Schipka-Pass.  Marga the heroine, a Roumanian peasant-girl has had a
sister Petrissa, who, suffering cruel wrong at the hands of Vasil
Kiselow, has cursed her seducer and sought death {200} in the waves.
Marga, who had vowed to avenge her sister, is wandering through the
world in vain search of Vasil.  When the curtain opens she has just
reached the village, where Vasil occupies the most auspicious position
of Judge.  Thoroughly exhausted she sinks down at the foot of a cross
and falls asleep.

Vasil's son Manal, finding her thus, detects a wonderful likeness
between the sleeping beauty and a picture, which he had found some time
ago in the miraculous Sabor Cave, and which for him is the ideal of
love and beauty.--This picture, a likeness of Petrissa had been hung
there by Vasil in order to exorcise the curse of the unhappy virgin,
but Manal has no knowledge of his father's misdeed.

When Marga awakes, the young people of course fall in love with each
other, and Marga discovers too late, that Manal is the son of her
sister's destroyer.  Hesitating between love and her vow of vengeance
she wildly reproaches Vasil who falls at her feet in deep contrition
beseeching her forgiveness, which she grants at last.--Full of
penitence he relinquishes his property to the young people, and
exhorting Manal to be a just and clement Judge, he betakes himself to
the mountains, resolved to join in the war against the Turks.

{201}

MARGUERITE (OR FAUST).

Opera in five acts by CHARLES GOUNOD.


The subject of this piece is taken from the first part of Goethe's
greatest drama--"Faust".

Faust, a celebrated old Doctor, is consumed by an insatiable thirst for
knowledge, but, having already lived through a long life devoted to the
acquirement of learning and to hard work as a scholar, without having
his soul-hunger appreciably relieved, is dissatisfied and in his
disappointment wishes to be released from this life, which has grown to
be a burden to him.  At this moment Mephistopheles, the incarnation of
the Evil One, appears and persuades him to try life in a new shape.
The old and learned Doctor has only known it in theory, Mephisto will
now show it to him in practice and in all the splendor of youth and
freshness.  Faust agrees, and Mephisto endows him with youth and
beauty.  In this guise he sees earth anew.  It is Easter-time, when all
is budding and aglow with freshness and young life and on such a bright
spring-day he first sees Margaretha and at once offers her his arm.

But this lovely maiden, pure and innocent, and well guarded by a
jealous brother, named Valentin, refuses his company somewhat
sharply.--Nevertheless she cannot help seeing the grace and good
bearing of the fine cavalier, and the simple village-maiden is inwardly
pleased with his flattery.  A bad fate wills it, that her brother
Valentin, who is {202} a soldier, has to leave on active service and
after giving many good advices and warnings for his beautiful sister's
wellfare he goes and so Mephisto is able to introduce Faust to the
unprotected girl by means of a message, which he is supposed to have
received for an old aunt of Margaretha's "Frau Marthe Schwertlein".
This old gossip, hearing from Mephisto that her husband has been killed
in battle, lends a willing ear to the flatteries of the cunning Devil;
and Margaretha is left to Faust, who wins her by his love and easy
manners.  She is only a simple maiden, knowing nothing of the world's
ways and wiles, and she accepts her lover's precious gifts with
childish delight.

By and bye, her brother Valentin returns victorious from the war, but
alas! too late!  He challenges his sister's seducer; Mephisto however
directs Faust's sword, and the faithful brother is much against Faust's
own will slain, cursing his sister with his last breath.

Now Margaretha awakes to the awful reality of her situation and she
shrinks from her brother's murderer.  Everybody shuns her, and she
finds herself alone and forsaken.  In despair she seeks refuge in
church, but her own conscience is not silenced; it accuses her more
loudly than all the pious songs and prayers.  Persecuted by evil
spirits, forsaken and forlorn, Margaretha's reason gives way, and she
drowns her new-born child.

Meanwhile Mephisto has done everything to stifle in Faust the pangs of
conscience.  Faust never {203} wills the evil, he loves Margaretha
sincerely, but the bad spirit urges him onward.  He shows him all the
joys and splendors of earth, and antiquity in its most perfect form in
the person of Helena, but in the midst of all his orgies Faust sees
Margaretha.  He beholds her, pale, unlike her former self, in the white
dress of the condemned, with a blood-red circle round the delicate
neck.  Then he knows no rest, he feels that she is in danger, and he
bids Mephisto save her.

Margaretha has actually been thrown into prison for her deed of madness
and now the executioner's axe awaits her.  She sits on the damp straw,
rocking a bundle, which she takes for her baby, and across her poor
wrecked brain there flit once more pictures of all the scenes of her
short-lived happiness.  Then Faust enters with Mephisto, and tries to
persuade her to escape with them.  But she instinctively shrinks from
her lover, loudly imploring God's and the Saint's pardon.  God has
mercy on her, for, just as the bells are tolling for her execution; she
expires, and her soul is carried to Heaven by angels, there to pray for
her erring lover.  Mephisto disappears into the earth.



MARTHA

Comic Opera in four acts by FLOTOW.

Text by W. FRIEDRICH.


This charming opera finally established the renown of its composer, who
had first found his way to public favor through "Stradella".--It {204}
ranks high among our comic operas, and has become as much liked as
those of Lortzing and Nicolai.

Not the least of its merits lies in the text, which Friedrich worked
out dexterously, and which is amusing and interesting throughout.

Lady Harriet Durham, tired of the pleasures and splendours of Court,
determines to seek elsewhere for a pastime, and hoping to find it in a
sphere different from her own, disguises herself and her confidant
Nancy as peasant-girls, in which garb they visit the Fair at Richmond,
accompanied by Lord Tristan, who is hopelessly enamoured of Lady
Harriet and unwillingly complies with her wish to escort them to the
adventure in the attire of a peasant.--They join the servant-girls, who
are there to seek employment, and are hired by a tenant Plumkett and
his foster-brother Lionel, a youth of somewhat extraordinary behaviour,
his air being noble and melancholy and much too refined for a
country-squire, while the other, though somewhat rough, is frank and
jolly in his manner.

The disguised ladies take the handsel from them, without knowing that
they are bound by it, until the sheriff arrives to confirm the bargain.
Now the joke becomes reality and they hear that they are actually hired
as servants for a whole year.

Notwithstanding Lord Tristan's protestations, the ladies are carried
off by their masters, who know them under the names of Martha and Julia.

In the second act we find the ladies in the company of the tenants, who
set them instantly to {205} work.  Of course they are totally ignorant
of household-work, and as their wheels will not go round, Plumkett
shows them how to spin.  In his rough but kind way he always commands
and turns to Nancy, with whom he falls in love, but Lionel only asks
softly when he wishes anything done.  He has lost his heart to Lady
Harriet and declares his love to her.  Though she is pleased by his
gentle behaviour, she is by no means willing to accept a country-squire
and wounds him by her mockery.  Meanwhile Plumkett has sought Nancy for
the same purpose, but she hides herself and at last the girls are sent
to bed very anxious and perplexed at the turn their adventure has
taken.  But Lord Tristan comes to their rescue in a coach and they take
flight, vainly pursued by the tenants.--Plumkett swears to catch and
punish them, but Lionel sinks into deep melancholy, from which nothing
can arouse him.

In the third act we meet them at a Court-hunt, where they recognize
their hired servants in two of the lady-hunters.  They assert their
right, but the Ladies disown them haughtily, and when Lionel, whose
reason almost gives way under the burden of grief and shame, which
overwhelms him at thinking himself deceived by Martha, tells the whole
story to the astonished Court, the Ladies pronounce him insane and Lord
Tristan sends him to prison for his insolence, notwithstanding Lady
Harriet and Nancy's prayer for his pardon.

Lionel gives a ring to Plumkett, asking him {206} to show it to the
Queen, his dying father having told him that it would protect him from
every danger.

In the fourth act Lady Harriet feels remorse for the sad consequences
of her haughtiness.  She visits the prisoner to crave his pardon.  She
tells him that she has herself carried his ring to the Queen and that
he has been recognized by it as Lord Derby's son, once banished from
Court, but whose innocence is now proved.

Then the proud Lady offers hand and heart to Lionel, but he rejects
her, believing himself duped.  Lady Harriet, however who loves Lionel,
resolves to win him against his will.  She disappears, and dressing
herself and Nancy in the former peasant's attire, she goes once more to
the Fair at Richmond, where Lionel is also brought by his friend
Plumkett.  He sees his beloved Martha advance towards him, promising to
renounce all splendors and live only for him; then his melancholy
vanishes; and he weds her, his name and possessions being restored to
him, while Plumkett obtains the hand of pretty Nancy, alias Julia.



THE MASTER-SINGERS OF NUeREMBERG.

Opera in three acts by WAGNER.


This opera carries us back to the middle of the 16th century and the
persons whom we meet are all historical.

{207}

Amongst the tradesmen, whose rhyme-making has made them famous, Hans
Sachs, the shoemaker is the most conspicuous.

The music is highly original, though not precisely melodious and is
beautifully adapted to its characteristically national subject.

In the first act we see St. Catharine's church in Nueremberg, where
Divine Service is being celebrated, in preparation for St. John's Day.
Eva, the lovely daughter of Master Pogner the jeweller, sees the young
knight Walter Stolzing, who has fallen in love with Eva, and who has
sold his castle in Franconia to become a citizen of Nueremberg.  She
tells him that her hand is promised to the winner of the prize for a
master-song, to be sung on the following morning.

We are now called to witness one of those ancient customs still
sometimes practiced in old German towns.  The master-singers appear,
and the apprentices prepare everything needful for them.  Walter asks
one of them, called David, an apprentice of Sachs, what he will have to
do in order to compete for the prize.  He has not learnt poetry as a
profession like those worthy workmen, and David vainly tries to
initiate him into their old-fashioned rhyming.  Walter leaves him,
determined to win the prize after his own fashion.

Pogner appears with Beckmesser the clerk, whom he wishes to have as
son-in-law.  Beckmesser is so infatuated that he does not doubt of his
success.  Meanwhile Walter comes up to them, {208} entreating them to
admit him into their corporation as a master-singer.

Pogner consents, but Beckmesser grumbles, not at all liking to have a
nobleman among them.--When all are assembled, Pogner declares his
intention of giving his daughter to the winner of the master-song on
the day of St John's festival, and all applaud his resolution.  Eva
herself may refuse him, but never is she to wed another than a crowned
master-singer.  Sachs, who loves Eva as his own child, seeks to change
her father's resolution, at the same time proposing to let the people
choose in the matter of the prize, but he is silenced by his
colleagues.  They now want to know where Walter has learnt the art of
poetry and song, and as he designates Walter von der Vogelweide and the
birds of the forest, they shrug their shoulders.

He begins at once to give a proof of his art, praising Spring in a song
thrilling with melody.  Beckmesser interrupts him; he has marked the
rhymes on the black tablet, but they are new and unintelligible to this
dry verse-maker, and he will not let them pass.  The others share his
opinion; only Hans Sachs differs from them, remarking that Walter's
song, though new and not after the old use and wont rules of Nueremberg,
is justified all the same, and so Walter is allowed to finish it, which
he does with a bold mockery of the vain poets, comparing them to crows,
oversounding a singing-bird.  Sachs alone feels that Walter is a true
poet.

{209}

In the second act David the apprentice tells Magdalene, Eva's nurse,
that the new singer did not succeed, at which she is honestly grieved,
preferring the gallant younker for her mistress, to the old and
ridiculous clerk.  The old maid loves David; she provides him with food
and sweets and many are the railleries which he has to suffer from his
companions in consequence.

The evening coming on we see Sachs in his open work-shop; Eva, his
darling, is in confidential talk with him.  She is anxious about
to-morrow, and rather than wed Beckmesser she would marry Sachs, whom
she loves and honors as a father.  Sachs is a widower, but he rightly
sees through her schemes and resolves to help the lovers.

It has now grown quite dark, and Walter comes to see Eva, but they have
not sat long together, when the sounds of a lute are heard.

It is Beckmesser trying to serenade Eva, but Sachs interrupts him by
singing himself and thus excites Beckmesser's wrath and despair.  At
last a window opens, and Beckmesser, taking Magdalene for Eva addresses
her in louder and louder tones, Sachs all the time beating the measure
on a shoe.  The neighboring windows open, there is a general alarm, and
David, seeing Magdalene at the window apparently listening to
Beckmesser, steals behind this unfortunate minstrel and begins to slap
him.  In the uproar which now follows, Walter vainly tries to escape
from his refuge under the lime-tree, but Sachs comes to his rescue, and
takes him into {210} his own work-shop, while he pushes Eva unseen into
her father's house, the door of which has just been opened by Pogner.

In the third act we find Sachs in his room.  Walter enters, thanking
him heartily for the night's shelter.  Sachs kindly shows him the rules
of poetry, encouraging him to try his luck once more.  Walter begins
and quite charms Sachs with his love-song.  After they have left the
room, Beckmesser enters, and reading the poetry, which Sachs wrote
down, violently charges the shoemaker with wooing Eva himself.  Sachs
denies it and allows Beckmesser to keep the paper.  The latter who has
vainly ransacked his brains for a new song, is full of joy, hoping to
win the prize with it.

When he is gone, Eva slips in to fetch her shoes, and she sees Walter
stepping out of his dormitory in brilliant armor.  He has found a third
stanza to his song; which he at once produces.--They all proceed to the
place where the festival is to be held and Beckmesser in the first to
try his fortunes, which he does by singing the stolen song.  He sadly
muddles both melody and words, and being laughed at, he charges Sachs
with treachery, but Sachs quietly denies the authorship, pushing
forward Walter, who now sings his stanzas, inspired by love and poetry.
No need to say that he wins the hearer's hearts as he has won those of
Eva and Sachs, and that Pogner does not deny him his beloved daughter's
hand.

{211}

THE MASTER-THIEF.

A German Legend in three parts by EUGEN LINDNER.

After Fitger's poem by GUSTAV KASTROPP and the composer.


The young composer has hitherto been little heard of by the public,
though he has a good name in the musical world, as he had already
written an opera called "Ramiro", which was put on the stage in Leipsic
and excited considerable controversy among his admirers and his
opponents.  Lindner then left Leipsic for Weimar, where he studied
zealously and composed the above-mentioned opera which was at once
accepted on the small but celebrated stage of this town and has now
appeared on the greater one of Dresden.  This opera is half romantic
half lyric, neither does it lack the humorous elements.  It abounds in
melody, a great rarity in our times, and the romance (Lied) is its best
part.

Though the music is not precisely overpowering, it is very sweet and
pleasing; one sees that a great talent has been at work, if not a
genius.

The libretto is very nice on the whole, in some parts even charmingly
poetical and melodious.

The scene is laid in an Earldom on the Rhine.

The master-thief Wallfried, a young nobleman, who ten years before had
been put into a convent as younger son, has fled from it, and has since
then been the companion of roving minstrels and Bohemians.  Having
heard of his elder brother's death, he comes home to claim his rights.
There he sees Waldmuthe, the only daughter of Count {212} Berengar, the
Seigneur of the Earldom.  As her features are as sweet as her voice,
and as the father guards his treasures better than his daughter,
Wallfried falls in love with her, and after artfully robbing her of her
necklace, he even steals a kiss from her rosy lips.  At first she
reproaches him, but at last willingly leaves her ornament in his hands,
which he keeps as a token of seeing her again.

At a fair, where Wallfried for the last time makes merry with his
companions and sings to them the song of the pretty Aennchen,--by the
bye a pearl of elegance and delicacy,--he sees Count Berengar and his
daughter, and at once reclaims his own name and castle as Heir von
Sterneck from the Seigneur.--But Waldmuthe's companion, Hertha sees her
mistress's chain on Wallfried's neck and as our hero will not tell how
he came by it, he is considered a thief.  His friend Marquard now
pleads for him, intimating that he took the chain only to show his
adroitness as a master-thief.  Count Berengar hearing this, orders him
to give three proofs of his skill.  First he is to rob the Count of his
dearest treasure, which is guarded by his soldiers and which then will
be his own, secondly he is to steal the Count himself from his palace,
and finally he must rob the Count of his own personality.  Should he
fail in one of these efforts, he is to be hanged.

These tests seem to be very difficult, but Wallfried promises to
fulfill his task on the very same day.

{213}

In the second act Wallfried arrives with two friends at the Count's
castle.  All three are in pilgrim's garb and bring a beautiful
wassail-horn to the Count in token of friendship from the Sire of
Rodenstein.  The sentry and the Count consider these pious guests
harmless, and the Count, being a great amateur of good wine, drinks and
sings with them and soon gets drunk.  The roundelays are full of wit
and humor and particularly Wallfried's song, with the charming
imitation of the spinning-wheel in the orchestra, is of great
effect.--At last one of the pilgrims intimates, that though the wine be
good, they have drunk a far better at the clergyman's in the village.
This seems incredible to the Count and he is willing to put it to the
test.  He goes with his guests out of his castle and so the second of
his orders, to steal his own person, is already accomplished.

Wallfried however stays behind to rob the Count of his most valuable
treasure, which he deems to be the young Countess herself.  While the
soldiers carefully guard the jewels and diamonds in the tower,
Waldmuthe steps on her balcony and confides her love to the
moon.--Wallfried, hearing her confession, easily persuades her to
follow him, as she hopes thereby to save his life and so the first
condition is likewise fulfilled.

In the third act the Bohemians (Wallfried's companions) have carried
the Count into the forest, and having robbed him of his clothes, dress
him in the clergyman's cassock.  The Count, awaking {214} from his
inebriety, is quite confused.  His misery after the debauch is most
funnily and expressively depicted in the orchestration.  His confusion
increases, when the Bohemians, dressed as peasants, greet him as
"Seigneur Pastor", and when even Benno, the warden of Sterneck calls
him by this name,--for everybody is in the plot,--he storms and rages,
but grows the more troubled.  At last Wallfried makes his appearance in
the mask of Count Berengar, speaking of his presumed daughter and of
her love.  Then the mists of the wine gather thicker around the Count's
tortured brain, he repeats Wallfried's words and when alone says aloud
"There goes Count Berengar, now I believe myself to be the
pastor."--Thus too the third order is fulfilled; he is robbed of
himself.

Waldmuthe, stealing up to him, roguishly laughing repeats the tests and
now the Count at once becomes sober.--Of course he is in wrath at first
and most unwilling to give his only child to one, who has passed part
of his life with Bohemians.  But Waldmuthe reminds him of his own
youth, how audaciously he had won his wife, her mother, and how he had
promised her to care for their daughter's happiness.  The tender father
cannot resist her touching and insinuating appeal, but resolves to try
Wallfried's sincerity.  When the latter reminds him, that he has only
executed the Count's own orders, though in a somewhat different sense,
Berengar willingly grants him the tide and domains of Sterneck, but
refuses his {215} daughter, telling him to choose instead his finest
jewels.  Wallfried haughtily turns from him to join his old comrades,
and refuses name and heritage, which would be worthless to him without
his bride.  But the maiden is as noble as her lover; she rushes up to
him, ready to brave her father's scorn as well as the world's dangers.
Then the Count, persuaded of the young fellow's noble heart, folds him
in his embrace and readily gives his benediction to the union.



DER MAURER.

(THE MASON.)

Opera in three acts by AUBER.

Text by SCRIBE.


This charming little work is one of the best semi-comic operas ever
composed, from the time of its first representation in Paris until now
it has never lacked success.

The libretto is founded on a true anecdote, and is admirably suited to
the music.

The scene is laid in Paris in the year 1788.

The first act represents the merry wedding of Roger, a mason, with
Henrietta, sister of Baptiste, a locksmith.  A jealous old hag,
Mistress Bertrand, who would fain have married the nice young man, is
wondering, whence the poor mason has the money for his wedding, when
suddenly a young nobleman, Leon de Merinville, appears, greeting Roger
warmly.  He relates to the astonished hearers, that Roger saved his
life, but would not {216} take any reward, nor tell his name.  Roger
explains that the nobleman put so much money into his pocket, that it
enabled him to marry his charming Henrietta, but Merinville is
determined to do more for him.  Meanwhile Roger tries to withdraw from
the ball with his young wife; but Henrietta is called back by her
relations according to custom.--Roger, being left alone, is accosted by
two unknown men, who, veiling his eyes, force him to follow them to a
spot unknown to him, in order to do some mason-work for them.  It is to
the house of Abdallah, the Turkish ambassador, that he is led.  The
latter has heard that his mistress Irma, a young Greek maiden, is about
to take flight with a French officer, who is no other than de
Merinville.

The lovers are warned by a slave, named Rica, but it is too late;
Abdallah's people overtake and bind them.  They are brought into a
cavern, the entrance to which Roger is ordered to mure up.  There,
before him, he finds his friend and brother-in-law, Baptiste, who was
likewise caught and is now forced to help him.

Recognizing in the officer his benefactor, Roger revives hope in him by
singing a song, which Leon heard him sing at the time he saved his life.

Meanwhile Henrietta has passed a dreadful night, not being able to
account for her husband's absence.  In the morning Mistress Bertrand
succeeds in exciting the young wife's sorrow and jealousy to a shocking
degree, so that when Roger {217} at last appears, she receives him with
a volley of reproaches and questions.

Roger, unhappy about Merinville's fate and ignorant of where he has
been in the night, scarcely listens to his wife's complaints, until
Henrietta remarks that she well knows where he has been, Mistress
Bertrand having recognized the carriage of the Turkish ambassador, in
which he was wheeled away.

This brings light into Roger's brain and without more ado he rushes to
the police, with whose help the poor prisoners are delivered.  Roger
returns with him to his wife's house, where things are cleared up in
the most satisfactory manner.



MELUSINE.

Romantic Opera in three acts by CARL GRAMMANN.

Text after C. CAMP'S poem of the same name.

Tableaux and mise en scene after SCHWIND'S composition.


The composer of this opera is known in the musical world as the author
of many other fine works.  He has given us several operas worthy of
mention, "St. Andrew's Night", and "Thusnelda" among others, which were
brought on the stage in Dresden some years ago.--

Melusine was first represented in Wiesbaden in 1874 with but small
success.--Since then the opera has been rewritten and in part
completely changed by the author, and in this new garb has found its
first representation in the Dresden Opera-house, on the 23rd of May
1891.

{218}

Neither music nor libretto are strikingly original; both remind vividly
of Wagner.--Nevertheless the opera met with warm applause, the
principal part being splendidly rendered by Teresa Malten, and the mise
en scene justifying the highest expectations.  The beauty of the music
lies principally in its coloring which is often very fine.  Its best
parts are the tender songs of the nymphs, those parts which lead into
the realm of dream and of fairy-land.--Once only it soars to a higher
dramatic style; it is in the second act (the one which has undergone an
entire revision), when Bertram, the natural son, bewails his father.--

On the whole the weak libretto forbids every deeper impression.  It is
neither natural nor dramatic, and leaves our innermost feelings as cold
as the watery element, from which it springs.

The scene is laid in a French Department on the Upper Rhine, where a
Duchy of Lusignan can never have existed, about the time of the first
Crusade.--The first act shows a forest, peopled by water-nymphs and
fairies, who enjoy their dances in the light of the
full-moon.--Melusine, their princess emerges from her grotto.  While
they sing and dance, a hunter's bugle is heard and Count Raymond of
Lusignan appears with Bertram, his half-brother, seeking anxiously for
their father.--Both search on opposite sides; Bertram disappears, while
Raymond, hearing a loud outcry for help, rushes into the bushes whence
it comes, not heeding Melusine's warning, who watches the {219}
proceedings half hidden in her grotto.  The nymphs, foreseeing what is
going to happen, break out into lamentations, while Melusine sings an
old tale of the bloody strife of two brothers.  She is already in love
with Raymond, whose misfortune she bewails.  When he hurries back in
wild despair at having slain his father, whose life he tried to save
from the tusks of a wild boar,--his sword piercing the old man instead
of the beast, (a deed decreed by fate,)--he finds the lovely nymph
ready to console him.  She presents him with a draught from the magic
well, which instantly brings him forgetfulness of the past (compare
Nibelung's-ring).--The Count drinks it, and immediately glowing with
love for the beautiful maiden wooes her as his wife.  Melusine consents
to the union under the condition that he pledges himself by a solemn
oath, never to blame her, nor to spy her out, should she leave him in
the full-moon nights.  Raymond promises, and the sun having risen, the
hunters find him in his bride's company.  He presents their future
mistress to them, and all render homage; only Bertram, struck to the
heart by Melusine's loveliness, which is not for him, stands scornfully
aside.

The first scene of the second act represents the sepulchral crypt of
the Lusignan family.  The old Duke has been found dead in the forest,
and a choir of monks sings the Requiem.  Bertram's mournful song and
the lament of the women are of surpassing beauty; also the contrasting
sounds {220} from merry music of Raymond's wedding procession, now and
then heard, cause an excellent musical effect.  A hermit, Peter von
Amiens, now entering comforts the widowed Duchess and warns them all of
Melusine.  He relates the legend of the water-fairy, who with sweet
voice and mien entices and seduces human beings.  The poor mother
implores Heaven to save her son, while Bertram invokes Hell to avenge
his father on the murderer.

The scene changes into the park belonging to Raymond's palace.  Raymond
and Melusine enjoy their nuptial bliss, until the rising of the
full-moon awakes in Melusine the irresistible longing for her native
element.  Notwithstanding her husband's entreaties, she tears herself
from him, and Raymond, mindful of his oath, retires.  But Melusine's
steps are interrupted by Bertram, who has tracked her and now declares
his love.  She scornfully rejects him, and he, enraged and jealous,
threatens to betray Raymond, whose bloody sword he has found at the
spot, where their father was murdered.  But Melusine escapes to the
gray temple in the garden and she prophesies, that Raymond will be
happy as long as he keeps her faith, and then vanishes into the
interior.  Bertram remains motionless and stunned, until he hears
Raymond's voice, who is waiting for his wife.--Spurred by every evil
feeling of hate and envy he peremptorily asks Raymond to surrender all
his possessions, his wife Melusine, even his life, deeming that his
brother has forfeited every right through the murder.--But {221}
Raymond oblivious of the deed through the effect of the magic draught,
draws his sword, when his mother interferes.  The Duchess repeats to
her son the suspicion expressed by the hermit in regard to Melusine and
Raymond anxiously calls for her to refuse the accusation.--But instead
of his wife, sweet songs are heard from the temple, he forgets his
oath, spies into its interior through a cleft and perceives the place
of the nixies, with Melusine in their midst.  Recognizing his fate,
Raymond sinks back with a despairing cry.

In the third act the fishermen and women assemble on the banks of the
Rhine at day-break, preparing for their daily work.  They also know the
Count's wife to be a mer-maid, and they sing a ballad of the
water-nymph.  Suddenly Melusine appears and they take flight.
Melusine, finding the gates of her husband's castle closed, vainly
calls for him.--His mother answers in his stead, charging her with
witchcraft and refusing to admit her.  Melusine, sure of Raymond's love
undauntedly answers that only Raymond's want of faith could undo
her.--In the meantime a herald announces the arrival of Crusaders with
Peter von Amiens.--The latter exhorts Count Raymond to join the holy
army in order to expiate his father's murder.  Raymond is willing to
go, when Melusine entreats him not to leave her.  All present press
around to insult her, only Bertram steps forth as her protector, once
more showing Raymond's bloody sword, an act, which she alone
understands.  She kneels {222} to him, in order to save her husband,
but Raymond, misunderstanding her movements, accuses her of secret
intercourse with Bertram and in a fit of jealousy disowns her.
Scarcely have the luckless words escaped his lips, than a violent sound
of thunder is heard.  Melusine curses the palace, and throws her
husband's ring at his feet.  She disappears in the Rhine, Bertram
leaping after her, the stream overflows its banks, and a flash of
lightning destroys the castle.  Gradually the scene changes to the one
of sylvan solitude in the first act.  Raymond appears in pilgrim's garb
to seek for his lost love (see Tannhaeuser), Melusine once more emerges
from her grotto to comfort him, but also to bring him death.  Happy, he
dies in her embrace, she buries him under water-lilies and returns to
her watery domains.



MERLIN.

Opera in three acts by CHARLES GOLDMARK.

Text by SIEGFRIED LIPINER.


This latest creation of the talented composer at once proved itself a
success, when produced for the first time in the Opera-House in Vienna.
Since then it has quickly passed to all the larger stages.

Merlin surpasses the Queen of Sheba in dramatic value and is equal to
it in glowing coloring and brilliant orchestration.  Goldmark is quite
the reverse of Wagner.  Though equally master of modern
instrumentation, he abounds in melodies.  {223} Airs, duets and
choruses meet us of surpassing beauty and sweetness.  The text is
highly fantastic, but interesting and poetical.

King Artus is attacked by the Saxons and almost succumbs.--In his need
he sends Lancelot to Merlin, an enchanter and seer, but at the same
time the King's best friend and a Knight of his table.

Merlin, offspring of the Prince of Hell and of a pure virgin, has power
over the demons, whom however he only employs in the service of Heaven,
his good mother's spirit protecting him.  Merlin calls up a demon, whom
he forces to blind the heathen Saxons, so that the Britons may be
victorious.  The demon obeys unwillingly and after Merlin's departure
he calls up the fairy Morgana who knows all the secrets of the world.
Morgana tells the demon, that if Merlin loves an earthly woman, his
power will be gone and the demon resolves to tempt Merlin with the most
beautiful woman on earth.  He vanishes and the Britons return
victorious, Merlin with prophetic insight recognizing the knight, who
had betrayed his people to the Saxons.  While he sings a passionate
chant in honor of his King and his country, Vivien, a Duke's daughter,
appears and they are at once attracted to each other.  But Merlin
vanquishes his love and refuses to accept the crown of oak-leaves,
which his King offers him by the hand of Vivien.  Then Artus takes his
own crown and puts it on Merlin's curls.

{224}

The second act begins with a conspiracy headed by Modred, Artus'
nephew, against his uncle.  Lancelot openly accuses him of treason, and
the King sends to Merlin, for judgment.  But alas, Merlin's love has
already blinded his understanding; he fails to detect the culpable
Modred, and declares that he is not able to find fault in him.  King
Artus and his knights depart to seek new laurels, leaving the country
in Modred's hands.  Merlin stays in his sanctum, to where the demon now
leads Vivien who has lost her way.  The doors of the temple open by
themselves at Vivien's request, and she finds a rosy, glittering veil,
which, thrown into the air, causes various charming apparitions to
present themselves.--When Merlin comes, the whole charm vanishes into
air.  Vivien tells him of her delightful adventure, but Merlin,
frightened, informs her that who ever is touched by the veil, will be
in the power of demons, chained to a rock for ever.  Love conquers, and
the short hour succeeding is for both filled with earth's greatest
bliss.  The news of Modred's treachery to King Artus awakes Merlin from
his dream.  He tears himself from his love, vowing to shun her for ever
and to return to the well of grace.  But Vivien, finding all her
prayers vain, throws the fatal veil over him to hinder his flight.  The
dreadful effect becomes instantly apparent; the rose-garden disappears,
mighty rocks enclose the vale on all sides, and Merlin is held down by
burning chains.

While Vivien is consumed by self-reproach and {225} pain, the fairy
Morgana appears, telling her that love, which is stronger than death,
can bring Merlin eternal grace.  Vivien is led away by her maid, and
Lancelot enters with the knights to seek Merlin's help against the
treacherous Modred.

Seeing Merlin in this pitiful state, he sadly turns from him, but
Merlin in despair promises his soul to the demon, if he but assist to
deliver his King and his country.  The demon breaks the chains and
Merlin rushes with the knights into battle.  During his absence Vivien
prepares herself to receive her hero, but though she sees him return
victorious he is wounded to death.  The demon comes up to claim his
victim, but Vivien, remembering Morgana's words, sacrifices herself
piercing her heart at Merlin's feet.  The demon disappears cursing
heaven and earth, while Artus and his knights, though they sadly mourn
for their hero, yet praise the victory of true love.



THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.

Comic Opera in three acts by OTTO NICOLAI.

Text by MOSENTHAL.


This charming opera has achieved the fame of its composer, of whom very
little is known, except that he is the author of this really admirable
musical composition, which is valued not only in Germany but all over
Europe.  Its overture is played by almost every orchestra, and the
choruses and songs are both delightful and original.  As {226} may be
gathered from the title, the whole amusing story is taken from
Shakespeare's comedy.

Falstaff has written love-letters to the wives of two citizens of
Windsor, Mrs. Fluth and Mrs. Reich.  They discover his duplicity and
decide to punish the infatuated old fool.

Meanwhile Mr. Fenton, a nice but poor young man asks for the hand of
Miss Anna Reich.  But her father has already chosen a richer suitor for
his daughter in the person of silly Mr. Spaerlich.

In the following scene Sir John Falstaff is amiably received by Mrs.
Fluth, when suddenly Mrs. Reich arrives, telling them that Mr. Fluth
will be with them at once, having received notice of his wife's doings.
Falstaff is packed into a washing-basket and carried away from under
Mr. Fluth's nose by two men, who are bidden to put the contents in a
canal near the Thames, and the jealous husband, finding nobody,
receives sundry lectures from his offended wife.

In the second act Mr. Fluth, mistrusting his wife, makes Falstaff's
acquaintance, under the assumed name of Bach, and is obliged to hear an
account of the worthy Sire's gallant adventure with his wife and its
disagreeable issue.  Fluth persuades Falstaff to give him a rendezvous,
swearing inwardly to punish the old coxcomb for his impudence.

In the evening Miss Anna meets her lover Fenton in the garden, and
ridiculing her two suitors, Spaerlich and Dr. Caius, a Frenchman, she
{227} promises to remain faithful to her love.  The two others, who are
hidden behind some trees, must perforce listen to their own dispraise.

When the time has come for Falstaff's next visit to Mrs. Fluth, who of
course knows of her husband's renewed suspicion, Mr. Fluth surprises
his wife and reproaches her violently with her conduct.  During this
controversy Falstaff is disguised as an old woman and when the
neighbors come to help the husband in his search, they find only an old
deaf cousin of Mrs. Fluth's who has come from the country to visit her.
Nevertheless the hag gets a good thrashing from the duped and angry
husband.

In the last act everybody is in the forest, preparing for the festival
of Herne the hunter.  All are masked, and Sir John Falstaff, being led
on by the two merry wives is surprised by Herne (Fluth), who sends the
whole chorus of wasps, flies and mosquitos on to his broad back.  They
torment and punish him, till he loudly cries for mercy.  Fenton in the
mask of Oberon has found his Anna in Queen Titania, while Dr. Caius and
Spaerlich, mistaking their masks for Anna's, sink into each other's
arms, much to their mutual discomfiture.

Mr. Fluth and Mr. Reich, seeing that their wives are innocent and that
they only made fun of Falstaff, are quite happy and the whole scene
ends with a general pardon.



{228}

MIGNON.

Opera in three acts by AMBROISE THOMAS

Text by MICHEL CARRE and JULES BARBIER.


This opera is full of French grace and vivacity, and has been favorably
received in Germany.  The authors have used for their libretto Goethe's
celebrated novel "Wilhelm Meister", with its typical figure Mignon as
heroine, though very much altered.  The two first acts take place in
Germany.

Lothario, a half demented old man, poorly clad as a wandering minstrel,
seeks his lost daughter Sperata.  Mignon comes with a band of gipsies,
who abuse her because she refuses to dance.  Lothario advances to
protect her, but Jarno, the chief of the troop, only scorns him, until
a student, Wilhelm Meister steps forth and rescues her, a young actress
named Philine compensating the gipsy for his loss by giving him all her
loose cash.  Mignon, grateful for the rescue, falls in love with
Wilhelm and wants to follow and serve him, but the young man, though
delighted with her loveliness and humility is not aware of her love.
Nevertheless he takes her with him.  He is of good family, but by a
whim just now stays with a troop of comedians, to whom he takes his
protegee.  The coquette Philine loves Wilhelm and has completely
enthralled him by her arts and graces.  She awakes bitter jealousy in
Mignon who tries to drown herself, but is hindered by the sweet strains
of Lothario's harp which appeal to the nobler feelings of her nature.
The latter always keeps near her, watching {229} over the lovely child.
He instinctively feels himself attracted towards her; she recalls his
lost daughter to him and he sees her as abandoned and lonely as
himself.  Mignon, hearing how celebrated Philine is, wishes that the
palace within which Philine plays, might be struck by lightning, and
Lothario at once executes her wish by setting the house on fire.

While the guests rush into the garden, Philine orders Mignon to fetch
her nosegay, the same flowers, which the thoughtless youth offered to
his mistress Philine.  Mignon, reproaching herself for her sinful wish,
at once flies into the burning house, and only afterwards does her
friend Laertes perceive that the theatre has caught fire too.
Everybody thinks Mignon lost, but Wilhelm, rushing into the flames, is
happy enough to rescue her.--

The third act carries us to Italy, where the sick Mignon has been
brought.  Wilhelm, having discovered her love, which she reveals in her
delirium, vows to live only for her.  Lothario, no longer a minstrel,
receives them as the owner of the palace, from which he had been absent
since the loss of his daughter.  While he shows Mignon the relics of
the past, a scarf and a bracelet of corals are suddenly recognized by
her.  She begins to remember her infantine prayers, she recognizes the
hall with the marble statues and her mother's picture on the
wall.--With rapture Lothario embraces his long-lost Sperata.  But
Mignon's jealous {230} love has found out that Philine followed her,
and she knows no peace until Wilhelm has proved to her satisfaction,
that he loves her best.

At last Philine graciously renounces Wilhelm and turns to Friedrich,
one of her many adorers, whom to his own great surprise she designates
as her future husband.  Mignon at last openly avows her passion for
Wilhelm.  The people, hearing of the arrival of their master, the
Marquis of Cypriani, alias Lothario, come to greet him with loud
acclamations of joy, which grow still louder, when he presents to them
his daughter Sperata and Wilhelm, her chosen husband.



LA MUETTE DE PORTICI.

Grand historical Opera in five acts by AUBER.

Text by SCRIBE.

This opera was first put on the stage in the Grand Opera-House at Paris
in the year 1828, and achieved for its author universal celebrity; not
only, because in it Auber rises to heights, which he never reached
either before or after, but because it is purely historical.  The
"Muette" is like a picture, which attracts by its vivid reproduction of
nature.  In the local tone, the southern temper, Auber has succeeded in
masterly fashion, and the text forms an admirable background to the
music.  Its subject is the revolution of Naples in the year 1647 and
the rise and fall of Masaniello, the fisherman-King.

In the first act we witness the wedding of {231} Alfonso, son of the
Viceroy of Naples, with the Spanish Princess Elvira.  Alfonso, who has
seduced Fenella, the Neapolitan Masaniello's dumb sister and abandoned
her, is tormented by doubts and remorse, fearing that she has committed
suicide.  During the festival Fenella rushes in to seek protection from
the Viceroy, who has kept her a prisoner for the past month.  She has
escaped from her prison and narrates the story of her seduction by
gestures, showing a scarf which her lover gave her.  Elvira promises to
protect her and proceeds to the altar, Fenella vainly trying to follow.
In the chapel Fenella recognizes her seducer in the bridegroom of the
Princess.  When the newly married couple come out of the church, Elvira
presents Fenella to her husband and discovers from the dumb girl's
gestures, that he was her faithless lover.  Fenella flies, leaving
Alfonso and Elvira in sorrow and despair.

In the second act the fishermen, who have been brooding in silence over
the tyranny of their foes, begin to assemble.  Pietro, Masaniello's
friend, has sought for Fenella in vain, but at length she appears of
her own accord and confesses her wrongs.  Masaniello is infuriated and
swears to have revenge, but Fenella, who still loves Alfonso, does not
mention his name.  Then Masaniello calls the fishermen to arms and they
swear perdition to the enemy of their country.

In the third act we find ourselves in the marketplace in Naples, where
the people go to and fro, selling and buying, all the while concealing
their {232} purpose under a show of merriment and carelessness.  Selva,
the officer of the Viceroy's body-guard, from whom Fenella has escaped,
discovers her and the attempt to rearrest her is the sign for a general
revolt, in which the people are victorious.

In the fourth act Fenella comes to her brother's dwelling and describes
the horrors, which are taking place in the town.  The relation fills
his noble soul with sorrow and disgust.  When Fenella has retired to
rest, Pietro enters with comrades and tries to excite Masaniello to
further deeds, but he only wants liberty and shrinks from murder and
cruelties.

They tell him that Alfonso has escaped and that they are resolved to
overtake and kill him.  Fenella, who hears all, decides to save her
lover.  At this moment Alfonso begs at her door for a hiding-place.  He
enters with Elvira, and Fenella, though at first disposed to avenge
herself on her rival, pardons her for Alfonso's sake.  Masaniello,
reentering, assures the strangers of his protection and even when
Pietro denounces Alfonso as the Viceroy's son, he holds his promise
sacred.  Pietro with his fellow-conspirators leaves him full of rage
and hatred.

Meanwhile the magistrate of the city presents Masaniello with the Royal
crown and he is proclaimed King of Naples.

In the fifth act we find Pietro with the other fishermen before the
Viceroy's palace.  He confides to Moreno, that he has administered
poison to {233} Masaniello, in order to punish him for his treason, and
that the King of one day will soon die.  While he speaks, Borella
rushes in to tell of a fresh troop of soldiers, marching against the
people with Alfonso at their head.  Knowing that Masaniello alone can
save them, the fishermen entreat him to take the command of them once
more and Masaniello, though deadly ill and half bereft of his reason,
complies with their request.  The combat takes place, while an eruption
of Vesuvius is going on.  Masaniello falls in the act of saving
Elvira's life.  On hearing these terrible tidings Fanella rushes to the
terrace, from which she leaps into the abyss beneath, while the
fugitive noblemen take again possession of the city.



NACHTLAGER VON GRANADA.

(A NIGHT'S REST AT GRANADA.)

Romantic Opera in two acts by CONRADIN KREUTZER.

Text taken from Kind's drama of the same name by Freiherr K. VON BRONN.


This little opera, which literally overflows with charming songs and
true German melody, has never passed the bounds of the country which
gave it birth, for notwithstanding, its beauties, which endear it to
the German people, it lacks dramatic life and action.  But in Germany
its melodies have penetrated into the hearts of the people, and will
never be taken thence.

The tale is very simple and treats of Spanish life in the middle of the
16th century.

{234}

The Crown-prince of Spain has strayed from his train, and, disguised as
a simple hunter, has found some shepherds, who grant him a night's rest
in an old castle.  He excites their jealousy however by kissing the
pretty shepherdess Gabriela, and they resolve to kill and rob him.
Gabriela has two suitors, the kind shepherd Gomez, whom she loves, and
Vasco, a wild youngster, who calls her his bride against her wish and
will.  In her distress she turns to the hunter, who promises to apply
to the Crown-Prince on her and her lover's behalf.

Gabriela, hearing of the plot against the hunter, becomes his
guardian-angel, for just as the Prince is about to succumb to the
ruffians, she brings on his followers, who have been found out by her
lover Gomez.  The robbers are punished, and Gabriela, being allowed to
ask for a boon, begs to be united to Gomez.  The Crown-Prince himself
joins their hands, granting them rich presents, and takes leave of the
peasants amid loud acclamations and benedictions.



NORMA.

Tragic Opera in two acts by BELLINI.

Text by ROMANI.


Few operas can boast of as good and effective a libretto as that, which
Romani wrote for Bellini's Norma.  He took his subject from a French
tragedy and wrote it in beautiful Italian verse.

With this work Bellini won his fame and {235} crowned his successes.
Again it is richness of melody in which Bellini excels; highly finished
dramatic art and lofty style he does not possess, and it is this very
richness of melody, which make him and specially his Norma such a
favorite in all theatres.  His music is also particularly well suited
to the human voice, and Norma was always one of the most brilliant
parts of our first dramatic singers.

The contents are as follows:

Norma, daughter of Orovist, chief of the Druids and High-priestess
herself, has broken her vows and secretly married Pollio, the Roman
Proconsul.  They have two children.  But Pollio's love has vanished.
In the first act he confides to his companion Flavius, that he is
enamoured of Adalgisa, a young priestess in the temple of Irminsul, the
Druid's god.

Norma, whose secret nobody knows but her friend Clothilde, is
worshipped by the people, being the only one able to interpret the
oracles of their god.  She prophesies Rome's fall, which she declares
will be brought about, not by the prowess of Gallic warriors, but by
its own weakness.  She sends away the people to invoke alone the
benediction of the god.  When she also is gone, Adalgisa appears and is
persuaded by Pollio to fly with him to Rome.  But remorse and fear
induce her to confess her sinful love to Norma, whom she like the
others adores.  Norma however, seeing the resemblance to her own fate,
promises to {236} release her from her vows and give her back to the
world and to happiness, but hearing from Adalgisa the name of her
lover, who, as it happens, just then approaches, she of course reviles
the traitor, telling the poor young maiden, that Pollio is her own
spouse.  The latter defies her, but she bids him leave.  Though as he
goes he begs Adalgisa to follow him, the young priestess turns from the
faithless lover, and craves Norma's pardon for the offence she has
unwittingly been guilty of.

In the second act Norma, full of despair at Pollio's treason, resolves
to kill her sleeping boys.  But they awake and the mother's heart
shudders as she thinks of her purpose; then she calls for Clothilde,
and bids her fetch Adalgisa.

When she appears, Norma entreats her to be a mother to her children,
and to take them to their father Pollio, because she has determined to
free herself from shame and sorrow by a voluntary death.  But the
noble-hearted Adalgisa will not hear of this sacrifice and promises to
bring Pollio back to his first love.  After a touching duet, in which
they swear eternal friendship to each other, Norma takes courage again.
Her hopes are vain however, for Clothilde enters to tell her that
Adalgisa's prayers were of no avail.--Norma distrusting her rival,
calls her people to arm against the Romans and gives orders to prepare
the funeral pile for the sacrifice.  The victim is to be Pollio, who
was captured in the act of carrying Adalgisa off by force.  Norma
orders her father and the Gauls {237} away, that she may speak alone
with Pollio, to whom she promises safety, if he will renounce Adalgisa
and return to her and to her children.  But Pollio, whose only thought
is of Adalgisa, pleads for her and for his own death.  Norma, denying
it to him, calls the priests of the temple, to denounce as victim a
priestess, who, forgetting her sacred vows, has entertained a sinful
passion in her bosom and betrayed the gods.  Then she firmly tells them
that she herself is this faithless creature, but to her father alone
does she reveal the existence of her children.

Pollio, recognizing the greatness of her character, which impels her to
sacrifice her own life in order to save him and her rival, feels his
love for Norma revive and stepping forth from the crowd of spectators
he takes his place beside her on the funeral pile.  Both commend their
children to Norma's father Orovist, who finally pardons the poor
victims.



LE NOZZE DI FIGARO.

Comic Opera in four acts by MOZART.

Text by LORENZO DA PONTE.


This opera may be said to be the continuation of Rossini's "Barbiere di
Seviglia".  The text too is taken from Beaumarchais' Figaroade, and the
principal persons in it, we find to be old acquaintances.  It is the
same Count Almaviva, now married to Rosina; Figaro, the cunning barber,
has entered the Count's service and is about to marry Rosina's {238}
maid, Susanna.  We meet among the others old Doctor Bartolo and
Basilio.  Even in the management of the subject, and in the music we
find some resemblance.  "Figaro's wedding" has the same character of
gaiety; no storms, very few clouds; there prevails throughout an
atmosphere of sunshine and brightness.  After Don Juan, Figaro was
Mozart's darling, and it shines radiantly in the crown of his fame.
There is no triviality in it, as we find in most of the comic operas of
Offenbach and others; it is always noble as well as characteristic in
every part.

The text may be paraphrased thus:

Count Almaviva, though married to Rosina and loving her ardently,
cannot bring himself to cease playing the role of a gallant cavalier;
he likes pretty women wherever he finds them, and not withstanding his
high moral principles, is carrying on a flirtation with Rosina's maid,
the charming Susanna.  This does not hinder him from being jealous of
his wife, who is here represented as a character both sweet and
passive.  He suspects her of being overfond of her Page,
Cherubino.--From the by-standers, Doctor Bartolo and Marcellina, we
hear, that their old hearts have not yet ceased to glow at the touch of
youth and love; Bartolo would fain give his affections to Susanna,
while Marcellina pretends to have claims on Figaro.

These are the materials which are so dexterously woven into the
complicated plot and which furnish to many funny qui-pro-quos.

{239}

In the second act we find Cherubino the Page in the rooms of the
Countess, who, innocent and pure herself, sees in him only a child; but
this youth has a passionate heart and he loves his mistress ardently.
Mistress and maid have amused themselves with Cherubino, putting him
into women's dresses.  The Count, rendered suspicious by a letter,
given to him by Basilio, bids his wife open her door.  The women,
afraid of his jealousy, detain him a while, and only open the door,
when Cherubino has got safely through the window and away over the
flower-beds.  The Count, entering full of wrath, finds only Susanna
with his wife.  Ashamed of his suspicions, he asks her pardon and
swears never to be jealous again.  All blame in the matter of the
letter is put on Figaro's shoulders, but this cunning fellow lies
boldly, and the Count cannot get the clue to the mystery.  Figaro and
Susanna, profiting by the occasion, entreat the Count at last to
consent to their wedding, which he has always put off.  At this moment
the gardener Antonio enters, complaining of the spoilt flower-beds.
Figaro taking all upon himself, owns that he sprang out of the window,
having had an interview with Susanna and fearing the Count's anger.
All deem themselves saved, when Antonio presents a document, which the
fugitive has lost.  The Count, not quite convinced, asks Figaro to tell
him the contents; but the latter, never at a loss and discovering that
it is the Page's patent, says, that the document was given to him by
the Page, the seal {240} having been forgotten.  The Count is about to
let him off, when Bartolo appears with Marcellina, who claims a
matrimonial engagement with Figaro.  Her claim is favored by the Count,
who wishes to see Susanna unmarried.  Out of this strait however they
are delivered by finding that Figaro is the son of the old couple, the
child of their early love; and all again promises well.  But the
Countess and Susanna have prepared a little punishment for the jealous
husband as well as for the flighty lover.

They have both written letters, in which they ask the men to an
interview in the garden.  Susanna's letter goes to the Count, Rosina's
to Figaro.  Under the wings of night the two women meet, each, her own
lover, but Susanna wears the Countess' dress, while Rosina has arrayed
herself in Susanna's clothes.--

The Countess, not usually given to such tricks, is very anxious.  While
she awaits her husband, Cherubino approaches, and taking her for
Susanna, he, like a little Don Juan as he is, makes love to her.
Hearing the Count's steps, he disappears.  Almaviva caresses the
seeming Susanna, telling her nice things and giving her a ring, which
she accepts.  They are observed by the other couple and the sly Figaro,
who has recognized Susanna, notwithstanding her disguise, denounces the
Count to her, vows eternal love and generally makes his bride burn with
wrath.  In her anger she boxes his ears, upon which he confesses to
having known {241} her from the first, and at once restores her good
humor.

Seeing the Count approach, they continue to play their former roles,
and the false Countess makes love to Figaro, till the Count accosts her
as "traitress".  For a while she lets him suffer all the tortures of
jealousy, then the lights appear and the Count stands ashamed before
his lovely wife, recognizing his mistake.  The gentle Countess forgives
him, and the repenting husband swears eternal fidelity.  He speedily
unites the lovers Figaro and Susanna and forgives even the little Page
Cherubino.



THE NUREMBERG DOLL.

(DIE NUeRNBERGER PUPPE.)

Comic Opera in one act by A. ADAM.

Text by LEUVEN and BEAUPLAN, translated into German by ERNST PASQUE.


This Operette, though almost buried in oblivion, has been revived by
merit of its true comic humor, which is so rare now-a-days.  The music
is very simple, but melodious and natural and in Bertha's part offers
ample scope to a good songstress.

The scene takes place in a toy-shop at Nuremberg.  Cornelius the owner,
has an only son Benjamin, whom he dearly loves, notwithstanding his
stupidity, while he is most unjust to his orphan nephew, Heinrich, whom
he keeps like a servant, after having misappropriated the latter's
inheritance.

The old miser wants to procure a wife for his {242} darling, a wife
endowed with beauty and every virtue, and as he is persuaded, that such
a paragon does not exist in life, he has constructed a splendid doll,
which he hopes to endow with life by help of doctor Faust's magic book.

He only awaits a stormy night for executing his design.  Meanwhile he
enjoys life and when presented to us is just going with Benjamin to a
masked ball, after sending at the same time his nephew supperless to
bed.--When they have left Heinrich reappears in the garb of
Mephistopheles and clapping his hands, his fiancee Bertha, a poor
seamstress soon enters.

Sadly she tells her lover, that she is unable to go to the ball, having
given all her money, which she had meant to spend on a dress, to a poor
starving beggar-woman in the street.

Heinrich touched by his love's tender heart, goodhumoredly determines
to lay aside his mask, in order to stay at home with Bertha, when
suddenly a bright idea strikes him.  Remembering the doll, which his
uncle hides so carefully in his closet, which has however long been
spied out by Heinrich, he shows it to Bertha, who delightedly slips
into the doll's beautiful clothes which fit her admirably.--

Unfortunately Cornelius and his son are heard returning, while Bertha
is still absent dressing.  The night has grown stormy, and the old man
deems it favorable for his design; so he at once proceeds to open
Faust's book and to begin the charm.

{243}

Heinrich, who has hardly had time to hide himself in the chimney, is
driven out by his cousin's attempts to light a fire.  He leaps down
into the room and the terrified couple take him for no other than the
Devil in person, Heinrich wearing his mask and being besides blackened
by soot from the chimney.  Perceiving his uncle's terror, he profits by
it, and at once beginning a conjuration he summons the doll, that is to
say Bertha in the doll's dress.  Father and son are delighted by her
performances, but when she opens her mouth and reveals a very wilful
and wayward character, Cornelius is less charmed.  The doll
peremptorily asks for food, and Mephistopheles indicates, that it is to
be found in the kitchen.  While the worthy pair go to fetch it,
Mephistopheles hastily exchanging words with his lady-love, vanishes
into his sleeping room.

The doll now begins to lead a dance, which makes the toymaker's hair
stand on end.  She first throws the whole supper out of the window,
following it with plate, crockery, toys etc.  Then taking a drum, she
begins to drill them, like a regular tambour-major, slapping their
ears, mouths and cheeks as soon as they try to approach her.

At last, when they are quite worn out, she flies into the closet.  But
now the father's spirit is roused, he resolves to destroy his and the
Devil's work; however he is hindered by Heinrich, who now makes his
appearance, and seems greatly astonished at the uproar and disorder he
finds in {244} the middle of the night.  He only wants to gain time for
Bertha to undress and then escape.--

Resolutely the old man walks into the closet to slay the doll.  But he
returns pale and trembling, having destroyed her while asleep, and
believing to have seen her spirit escape through the window with
fiendish laughter.--Yet awed by his deed, he sees Heinrich returning
who confesses to his uncle, that he has found out his secret about the
doll, and that, having accidently broken it, he has substituted a young
girl.  Cornelius, half dead with fright, sees himself already accused
of murder; his only salvation seems to lie in his nephew's silence and
instant flight.  Heinrich is willing to leave the country, provided his
uncle give him back his heritage, which consists of 10,000 Thalers.
After some vain remonstrances, the old man gives him the gold.
Heinrich having gained his ends, now introduces Bertha, and the wicked
old fool and his son see too late, that they have been the dupes of the
clever nephew.--



OBERON.

Romantic Opera in three acts by WEBER.

English text by PLANCHE translated by TH. HELL.


Oberon is Weber's last work.  In the year 1824 he had the honor of
being commissioned to compose this opera for the Covent-garden theatre.
He began at once to study English, but, his health giving way, he
progressed slowly.  Notwithstanding his illness however, he worked on
and finished {245} the opera in the year 1826.  He had the happiness of
seeing it crowned with success, when he travelled to London in February
of that year, but he could not witness its triumphs in Germany, for he
died in the following July.

The text is most fantastic without any strict order of succession
either in the matter of time or locality.  It is taken from Wieland's
fairy-tale of the same name.

In the first act we find Oberon, the Elfin-king in deep melancholy,
which no gaiety of his subjects, however charming, avails to remove.
He has quarrelled with his wife Titania, and both have vowed never to
be reconciled, until they find a pair of lovers, faithful to each other
in all kinds of adversity.  Both long for the reunion, but the constant
lovers are not to be found.

Oberon's most devoted servant is little Puck, who has vainly roved over
the world to find what his master needs.  He has however heard of a
valiant knight in Burgundy, Hueon, who has killed Carloman, the son of
Charlemagne in a duel, having been insulted by him.  Charlemagne, not
willing to take his life for a deed of defence, orders him to go to
Bagdad, to slay the favorite, sitting to the left of the Calif, and to
wed the Calif's daughter Rezia.  Puck resolves to make this pair suit
his ends.  He tells Oberon the above-mentioned story, and by means of
his lily-sceptre shows Hueon and Rezia to him.  At the same-time these
two behold each other in a vision, so that when they awake both are
deeply in love.

{246}

Oberon wakes Hueon and his faithful shield-bearer Scherasmin, and
promises his help in every time of need.  He presents Hueon with a magic
horn, which will summon him at any time; Scherasmin receives a cup,
which fills with wine of itself.  Then he immediately transports them
to Bagdad.

There, we find Rezia with her Arabian maid Fatima.  The Calif's
daughter is to wed Babekan, a Persian Prince, but she has hated him
ever since she saw Hueon in her vision.  Fatima has discovered the
arrival of Hueon.  It is high time, for in the beginning of the second
act we see the Calif with Babekan, who wants to celebrate the nuptials
at once.  Rezia enters, but at the same time Hueon advances, recognizing
in Rezia the fair one of his dream.  He fights, and stabs Babekan.  The
Turks attack him, but Scherasmin blows his magic horn and compels them
to dance and laugh, until the fugitives have escaped.

In the forest they are overtaken, but Hueon and Scherasmin, who has come
after his master with Fatima, put the pursuers to flight.

Oberon now appears to the lovers, and makes them promise upon oath that
they will remain faithful to each other under every temptation.  He
immediately after transports them to the port of Ascalon, from which
they are to sail homeward.  Oberon now puts their constancy to the
proof.  Puck conjures up the nymphs and the spirits of the air, who
raise an awful tempest.  Hueon's ship sinks; the lovers are shipwrecked.
While Hueon seeks for {247} help, Rezia is captured by the pirates, and
Hueon, returning to save her, is wounded and left senseless on the
beach.  Oberon now causes him to fall into a magic sleep, which is to
last seven days.

In the third act we find Scherasmin and his bride, Fatima in Tunis
dressed as poor gardeners.

A corsair has saved the shipwrecked and sold them as slaves to the Emir
of Tunis.  Though poor and in captivity they do not lose courage and
are happy that they are permitted to bear their hard lot together.

Meanwhile the seven days of Hueon's sleep have passed.  Awaking, he
finds himself to his astonishment in Tunis, in the Emir's garden, with
his servant beside him, who is not less astonished at finding his
master.

Fatima, coming back, relates that she has discovered Rezia in the
Emir's harem.  Hueon, who finds a nosegay with a message, which bids him
come to the myrtle-bower during the night, believes that it comes from
Rezia and is full of joy at the idea of meeting his bride.  Great is
his terror, when the lady puts aside her veil, and he sees Roschana,
the Emir's wife.  She has fallen in love with the noble knight, whom
she saw in the garden, but all her desires are in vain; he loathes her
and is about to escape, when the Emir enters, captures and sentences
him to be consumed by fire.  Roschana is to be drowned.  Rezia, hearing
of her lover's fate, implores the Emir to pardon him.  But she has
already offended him by her {248} unwillingness to listen to his
protestations of love, and when he hears that Hueon is her husband, he
condemns them to be burnt together.  Their trials however are nearing
their end.  Scherasmin has regained his long-lost horn, by means of
which he casts a spell on everybody, until, blowing it with all his
might, he calls Oberon to their aid.  The Elfin-King appears
accompanied by Queen Titania, who is now happily reconciled to him and
thanking the lovers for their constancy, he brings them safely back to
Paris, where Charlemagne holds his court.  The Emperor's wrath is now
gone and he warmly welcomes Sir Hueon with his lovely bride, promising
them honor and glory for their future days.



ORFEO E EURYDICE.

Opera in three acts by GLUCK.

Text by RANIERO DI CALZABIGI.


This opera is the oldest of all we possess in our repertoire.  Gluck
had already written more than forty operas, of which we do not even
know the names now, when he composed his Orfeo, breaking with the old
Italian traditions and showing a new and more natural taste.  All the
charm of Italian melody is still to be found in this composition, but
it is blent with real feeling, united to great strength of expression
and its value is enhanced by a total absence of all those superfluous
warbles and artificial ornaments, which filled the Italian operas of
that time.  The libretto, taken from the old and beautiful Greek
tragedy, is as effective as the music.

{249}

Orpheus, the celebrated Greek musician and singer has lost his wife
Eurydice.  His mournful songs fill the groves where he laments, and
with them he touches the hearts not only of his friends but of the
gods.  On his wife's grave Amor appears to him, and bids him descend
into Hades, where he is to move the Furies and the Elysian shadows with
his sweet melodies, and win back from them his lost wife.

He is to recover her on a condition, which is, that he never casts a
look on her on their return to earth, for if he fail in this, Eurydice
will be for ever lost to him.

Taking his lyre and casque Orpheus promises obedience and with renewed
hope sallies forth on his mission.  The second act represents the gates
of Erebus, from which flames arise.  Orpheus is surrounded by furies
and demons, who try to frighten him; but he, nothing daunted, mollifies
them by his sweet strains, and they set free the passage to Elysium,
where Orpheus has to win the happy shadows.  He beholds Eurydice among
them, veiled, the happy shadows readily surrender her to him, escorting
the pair to the gates of their happy vale.

The third act beholds the spouses on their way back to earth.  Orpheus
holds Eurydice by the hand, drawing the reluctant wife on, but without
raising his eyes to her face, on and on through the winding and obscure
paths, which lead out of the infernal regions.  Notwithstanding his
protestations {250} of love and his urgent demands to her to follow
him, Eurydice never ceases to implore him to cast a single look on her,
threatening him with her death, should he not fulfil her wish.
Orpheus, forbidden to tell her the reason of his strange behaviour,
long remains deaf to her cruel complaints, but at last he yields, and
looks back, only to see her expire under his gaze.  Overwhelmed by
grief and despair Orpheus draws his sword to destroy himself, when Amor
appears, and stays the fatal stroke.

In pity for Orpheus' love and constancy he reanimates Eurydice
(contrary however to the letter of the Greek tragedy) and the act
closes with a beautiful chorus sung in Amor's praise.



OTHELLO.

Opera in four acts by GIUSEPPE VERDI.

Text by ARRIGO BOITO, translated into the German by MAX KALBECK.


In his seventy-third year the Maestro has given to his time an opera,
which surpasses his former compositions in many respects.  It proves,
that Verdi's genius has remained admirably fresh and that the new views
and revelations, which Wagner opened to the musical world have been
fully understood by the Italian.  He has now broken with the unnatural
traditions of the Italian opera, and has in Othello given us a work,
which secures to him an honored place among the best dramatic composers.

{251}

It must not be omitted, that Verdi had a splendid second in the person
of Boito, the high-minded and capable composer of "Mefistofele".  He
omits in his action all that is incidental, and as a consequence the
force of thought and expression is the more powerful.  It is written
strictly after Shakespeare's original.

The opera was put on the stage in Munich in the summer of 1888 with
great success.

The first scene represents the people, following excitedly the course
of Othello's ship, which battles with the waves.  After he has landed
and informed the assembly of his victory over the Turks, shouts of joy
and exultation rend the air.

Then follows a convivial chat between Cassio, Rodrigo and Jago, in the
course of which the latter makes Cassio drunk.  Jago's demoniacal
nature is masterfully depicted here, where he soon succeeds in ruining
Cassio, who loses his rank as captain.

In the third scene we see Desdemona with her husband, both rejoicing in
the felicity of their mutual love.

In the second act Jago proceeds to carry out his evil intents, by
sending Cassio to Desdemona, who is to intercede for him with Othello.
Jago then calls Othello's attention to the retiring Cassio and by
making vile insinuations inflames his deadly jealousy.  Desdemona
appears, surrounded by women and children, who offer her flowers and
presents.  She comes forward to plead for Cassio, and Othello
suspiciously refuses.--She takes out her {252} handkerchief to cool her
husband's aching forehead with it, but he throws it down and Emilia,
Jago's wife, picks it up.  Jago wrenches it from her and hides it.

In the next scene Jago's villainous insinuations work upon Othello, who
becomes wildly suspicious.  Jago relates a dream of Cassio's, in which
he reveals his love for Desdemona, then he hints that he has seen
Othello's first love-token, her lace-handkerchief in Cassio's hands,
and both swear to avenge Desdemona's infidelity.

In the third act Othello pretending to have a head-ache, asks for
Desdemona's lace-handkerchief.  She has lost it, she tells him, but he
is incredulous and charges her with infidelity.  All her protests are
useless, and at length he forces her to retire.  Meanwhile Jago has
brought Cassio and urges Othello to hide himself.  Cassio has a
lady-love named Bianca, and of her they speak, but Jago dexterously
turns the dialogue so as to make Othello believe that they are speaking
of his wife.  His jealousy reaches its climax, when Cassio draws forth
Desdemona's handkerchief which Jago has deposited in Cassio's house.
All his doubts now seem to be confirmed.  A cannon-shot announcing the
arrival of a galley interrupts the conversation and Cassio quickly
leaves.

In the following scene Jago advises Othello to strangle his wife.
Othello consents and gives Jago a captaincy.

Lodovico, an Ambassador of Venice, arrives {253} with other nobles to
greet their liberator Othello.  Desdemona once more asks pardon for
Cassio, but is roughly rebuked by her husband.  The latter reads the
order, which has been brought to him, and tells Cassio, that he is to
be General in his stead by will of the Doge of Venice, but while Cassio
is confounded by this sudden change of fortune, Jago secretly vows his
death, instigating his rival Rodrigo to kill him.  At last Othello
faints, overcome by conflicting emotions.

In the fourth act Desdemona filled with sad forebodings takes a
touching farewell of Emilia.  When she has ended her fervent prayer
(one of the most beautiful things in the opera), she falls into a
peaceful slumber.  Othello awakes her with a kiss, and tells her
immediately thereafter that she must die.  She protests her innocence,
but in vain, for Othello telling her that Cassio can speak no more,
smothers her.  Hardly has he completed his ghastly work than Emilia
comes up, announcing that Rodrigo has been killed by Cassio.  Desdemona
with her dying breath once more asserts her innocence, while Emilia
loudly screams for help.  When the others appear, Emilia discovers her
husband's villany.  Jago flies, and Othello stabs himself at the feet
of his innocent spouse.



{254}

PAGLIACCI.

(MERRY ANDREW.)

Musical Drama in two acts and a Prologue.

Music and Text by R. LEONCAVALLO.

Translated into the German by LUDWIG HARTMANN.


In the summer of the year 1892 a rumour was going through the musical
world, that Mascagni had found his equal, nay his superior in the
person of another young Italian composer.  When the "Pagliacci" by
Leoncavallo was executed in Italy, it excited a transport of enthusiasm
almost surpassing that of "Cavalleria", so that Berlin and Leipsic
brought the opera on the stage as quickly as possible, and Dresden
followed their example on January 22nd 1893, with the same great
success.

The opera is indeed eminently qualified to produce an impression.
Though less condensed in its tragic depths than Cavalleria, the music
is nobler without being less realistic.  In Leoncavallo the feeling of
artistic form is more developed.  Though of southern temper he never
lets passion get the better of the beautiful and true harmony, also he
is Mascagni's senior by four years.

Leoncavallo's excellent musical education is as unmistakable as the
influence of Wagner's music on his genius.--He, too, introduces the
"Leading Motives", but he is far from imitating his great predecessor.
Like Wagner he did his text himself, and it must be owned, that it is
very good.  The idea was suggested to him by an event, which {255} he
witnessed at Montalto in Calabria during the summer 1865, and which
impressed him deeply.

In the Prologue, a wonderful piece of music, Tonio the Fool announces
to the public the deep tragic sense which often is hidden behind a
farce, and prepares them for the sad end of the lovers in this comedy.

The introduction with its wonderful Largo is like a mournful
lamentation; then the curtain opens, showing the entry of a troop of
wandering actors, so common in southern Italy.  They are received with
high glee by the peasants, and Canio, the owner of the troop, invites
them all to the evening's play.  Canio looks somewhat gloomy, and he
very much resents the taunts of the peasants, who court his beautiful
wife Nedda, and make remarks about the Fool's attentions to her.
Nevertheless Canio gives way to his friends' invitation for a glass of
Chianti wine, and he takes leave of his wife with a kiss, which however
does not quite restore her peace of mind, Nedda's conscience being
somewhat disturbed.  But soon she casts aside all evil forebodings and
vies with the birds in warbling pretty songs, which, though reminding
the hearer of Wagner's Siegfried are of surpassing harmony and
sweetness.  Tonio the Fool, spying the moment to find Nedda alone,
approaches her with a declaration of love, but she haughtily turns from
him, and as he only grows more obtrusive and even tries to embrace her
she seizes a whip and slaps him in the face.  Provoked to fury he
swears to {256} avenge himself.  Hardly has he turned away when the
peasant Silvio appears on the wall.  He is Nedda's lover, and having
seen Canio sitting in the tavern, he entreats her to separate herself
from the husband she never loved and take flight with him.  Nedda
hesitates between duty and passion, and at last the latter prevails,
and she sinks into his arms.  This love-duet is wonderful in style and
harmony.  Tonio unfortunately has spied out the lovers and returns with
Canio.  But on perceiving the latter's approach Silvio has leapt over
the wall, his sweetheart's body covering his own person, so that Canio
is unable to recognize his rival; he once more reminds Nedda to be
ready that night and than takes flight.  With an inarticulate cry Canio
rushes after him and Nedda falls on her knees to pray for her lover's
escape, while Tonio the Fool triumphs over her misery.  The husband
however returns defeated; panting he claims the lover's name, and
Nedda's lips remaining sealed, he is about to stab his wife, when Beppo
the Harlequin intervenes, and, wrenching the dagger from his
unfortunate master's hands intimates, that it is time to prepare for
the play.  While Nedda retires, Canio breaks out into a bitter wail of
his hard lot, which compels him to take part in the farce, which for
him is bitter reality.  With this air the tragic height of the opera is
reached.

In the second act the spectators throng before the small stage, each of
them eager to get the best seat.  Nedda appears, dressed as Colombine,
{257} and while she is collecting the money, she finds time to warn
Silvio of her husband's wrath.  The curtain opens, and Nedda is seen
alone on the stage, listening to the sentimental songs of Arlequin, her
lover in the play.  Before she has given him the sign to enter, Tonio,
in the play called Taddeo the Fool enters, bringing the food which his
mistress has ordered for herself and Arlequin.  Just as it really
happened in the morning, the poor Fool now makes love to her in play;
but when scornfully repulsed he humbly retires, swearing to the
goodness and pureness of his lady-love.  Arlequin entering through the
window, the two begin to dine merrily, but Taddeo reenters in mocking
fright, to announce the arrival of the husband Bajazzo (Canio).  The
latter however is in terrible earnest, and when he hoarsely exacts the
lover's name, the lookers-on, who hitherto have heartily applauded
every scene, begin to feel the awful tragedy hidden behind the comedy.
Nedda remains outwardly calm and mockingly she names innocent Arlequin
as the one who had dined with her.  Then Bajazzo begins by reminding
her, how he found her in the street a poor waif and stray, whom he
nursed, petted and loved, and Nedda remaining cold, his wrath rises to
fury and he wildly curses her, shrieking "the name, I will know his
name!"  But Nedda, though false is no traitress.  "Should it cost my
life, I will never betray him" she cries, at the same time trying to
save her life, by hurrying from the stage amongst the spectators.  Too
late alas; Canio {258} already has reached and stabbed her, and Silvio,
who rushes forward, also receives his death-stroke from the hands of
the deceived husband, who has heard his name slip from the dying lips
of his wife.  All around stand petrified, nobody dares to touch the
avenger of his honor, who stands by his wife's corpse limp and
brokenhearted: "Go", says he, "go, the farce is ended."



PARSIFAL.

A festival Drama by RICHARD WAGNER.


Though Parsifal is never to be given on any stage except in Baireuth
(by Wagner's express wish), it must find its place here, by dint of
being the master's last and most perfect composition.

In Parsifal the heavenly greatness of the Christian idea of God, which
is at the foundation of the legend of the holy Grail, finds grand
expression.  There scarcely exists another composition of such lofty
and religious spirit, as finds expression in the Communion-scene.  It
is not possible to imagine a more vivid contrast than that between the
saintly melodies and those of the fascinating fairies, which latter,
glowing with poetry and ravishing music captivate all senses.

The contents are those of the ancient German legend.  The first scene
is laid in a forest on the grounds of the keepers of the Grail near
Castle Monsalvat.  Old Gurnemanz awakes two young Squires for their
morning prayer, and bids two {259} Knights prepare a bath for the sick
King Amfortas who suffers cruelly from a wound, dealt him by the
sorcerer Klingsor, the deadly foe of the holy Grail.  The Grail is a
sacred cup, from which Christ drank at the last Passover and which also
received his holy blood.  Titurel, Amfortas' father has built the
castle to shield it, and appointed holy men for its service.  While
Gurnemanz speaks with the Knights about their poor master's sufferings,
in rushes Kundry, a sorceress in Klingsor's service, condemned to laugh
eternally as a punishment for having derided Christ, while he was
suffering on the cross.  She it was who with her beauty seduced
Amfortas, and deprived him of his holy strength, so that Klingsor was
enabled to wring from the King his holy spear Longinus, with which he
afterwards wounded him.  Kundry is in the garb of a servant of the
Grail; she brings balm for the King, who is carried on to the stage in
a litter, but it avails him not: "a guileless fool" with a child's pure
heart; who will bring back the holy spear and touch him with it, can
alone heal his wound.

Suddenly a dying swan sinks to the ground, and Parsifal, a young
knight, appears.  Gurnemanz reproaches him severely for having shot the
bird, but he appears to be quite ignorant of the fact that it was
wrong, and, when questioned, proves to know nothing about his own
origin.  He only knows his mother's name "Herzeleid", (heart's
affliction), and Kundry, who recognizes him, relates, that his father
Gamuret perished in battle, and that {260} his mother reared him, a
guileless fool, in the desert.  When Kundry mentions that his mother is
dead, and has sent her last blessing to her son, Parsifal is almost
stunned by this, his first grief.  Gurnemanz conducts him to the
castle, where the Knights of the Grail are assembled in a lofty hall.
Amfortas is laid on a raised couch, and from behind, Titurel's voice is
heard, imploring his son to efface his guilt in godly works.  Amfortas,
writhing with pain, is comforted by the prophesy:

  "By pity lightened, the guileless fool"--
  "Wait for him,--my chosen tool."


The Grail is uncovered, the blessing given, and the repast of love
begins.  Amfortas' hope revives, but towards the end his wound bursts
out afresh.  Parsifal, on hearing Amfortas' cry of agony clutches at
his heart, without however understanding his own feelings.

The second act reveals Klingsor's magic castle.

Kundry, not as a demon now, but as a woman of imperious beauty, is
awakened by Klingsor to seduce Parsifal.  She yearns for pardon, for
sleep and death, but she struggles in vain against the fiendish
Klingsor.

The tower gradually sinks; a beautiful garden rises, into which
Parsifal gazes with rapture and astonishment.  Lovely maidens rush
towards him, accusing him of having destroyed their lovers.  Parsival
surprised answers, that he slew them, because they checked his approach
to their charms.  But when their tenderness waxes hotter, he gently
{261} repulses the damsels and at last tries to escape.  He is detained
however by Kundry, who tells him again of his beloved mother, and when
Parsifal is sorrow-stricken at having forgotten her in his thoughtless
rambles, she consoles him, pressing his lips with a fervent kiss.  This
rouses the dreamy youth, he awakes to his duty, he feels the King's
spear-wound burning; the unconscious fool is a fool no longer, but
conscious of his mission and distinguishing right from wrong.  He calls
to the Saviour to save him from a guilty passion, and at last he starts
up, spurning Kundry.  She tells him of her own crime, of Amfortas' fall
and curses all paths and ways, which would lead him from her.
Klingsor, appearing at her cry, flings the holy spear at Parsifal, but
it remains floating over his head, and the youth, grasping it, destroys
the magic by the sign of the cross.

In the third act Gurnemanz awakes Kundry from a death-like sleep, and
is astonished to find her changed.  She is penitent and serves the
Grail.  Parsifal enters from the woods.  Gurnemanz recognizes and
greets him, after his wanderings in search of the Grail which have
extended over long years.  Kundry washes his feet and dries them with
her own hair.  Parsifal, seeing her so humble, baptizes her with some
water from the spring, and the dreadful laugh is taken from her; then
she weeps bitterly.  Parsifal, conducted to the King, touches his side
with the holy spear and the wound is closed.  Old Titurel, brought on
the stage in his {262} coffin, revives once more a moment, raising his
hands in benediction.  The Grail is revealed, pouring a halo of glory
over all.  Kundry, with her eyes fixed on Parsival, sinks dead to the
ground, while Amfortas and Gurnemanz render homage to their new King.



PHILEMON AND BAUCIS.

Opera in two acts by CHARLES GOUNOD.

Text by JULES BARBIER and MICHEL CARRE, with an intermezzo.


This is a truly delightful musical composition and though unpretending
and not on the level of Gounod's "Margaretha", it does not deserve to
be forgotten.

The libretto is founded on the well-known legend.

In the first act Jupiter comes to Philemon's hut, accompanied by Vulkan
to seek refuge from a storm, which the god himself has caused.  He has
come to earth to verify Mercury's tale of the people's badness, and
finding the news only too true, besides being uncourteously received by
the people around, he is glad to meet with a kindly welcome at
Philemon's door.

This worthy old man lives in poverty, but in perfect content with his
wife Baucis, to whom he has been united in bonds of love for sixty long
years.  Jupiter, seeing at once, that the old couple form an exception
to the evil rule, resolves to spare them, and to punish only the bad
folks.  The gods partake of the kind people's simple meal, and {263}
Jupiter, changing the milk into wine, is recognized by Baucis, who is
much awed by the discovery.  But Jupiter reassures her and promises to
grant her only wish, which is, to be young again with her husband, and
to live the same life.  The god sends them to sleep, and then begins
the intermezzo.

Phrygians are seen reposing after a festival, bacchants rush in and the
wild orgies begin afresh.  The divine is mocked and pleasure praised as
the only god.  Vulcan comes, sent by Jupiter to warn them, but as they
only laugh at him, mocking Olympus and the gods, Jupiter himself
appears to punish the sinners.  An awful tempest arises, sending
everything to rack and ruin.--

In the second act Philemon's hut is changed into a palace; he awakes to
find himself and his wife young again.  Jupiter, seeing Baucis' beauty,
orders Vulkan to keep Philemon apart, while he courts her.  Baucis
though determined to remain faithful to her Philemon, feels
nevertheless flattered at the god's condescension, and dares not refuse
him a kiss.  Philemon, appearing on the threshold sees it, and
violently reproaches her and his guest, and though Baucis suggests who
the latter is, the husband does not feel in the least inclined to share
his wife's love even with a god.  The first quarrel takes place between
the couple, and Vulkan hearing it, consoles himself with the reflection
that he is not the only one, to whom a fickle wife causes sorrow.
Philemon bitterly curses Jupiter's gift; he wishes his wrinkles back,
and with them his {264} peace of mind.  Throwing down Jupiter's statue,
he leaves his wife to the god.  Baucis, replacing the image, which
happily is made of bronze, sorely repents her behaviour towards her
beloved husband.  Jupiter finds her weeping, and praying that the gods
may turn their wrath upon herself alone.  The god promises to pardon
both, if she is willing to listen to his love.  She agrees to the
bargain on the condition namely that Jupiter shall grant her a favor.
He consents, and she entreats him to make her old again.  Philemon,
listening behind the door, rushes forward to embrace the true wife and
joins his entreaties to hers.  Jupiter, seeing himself caught, would
fain be angry, but their love conquers his wrath.  He does not recall
his gift, but giving them his benediction, he promises never more to
cross their happiness.



THE THREE PINTOS.

Comic Opera in three acts by C. M. v. WEBER.

After WEBER'S manuscripts and designs, and TH. HELL'S textbook.  The
musical part completed by GUSTAV MAHLER, the dramatic part by CARL VON
WEBER.


Thanks to the incessant endeavours of Weber's grandson and of Gustav
Mahler, the gifted disciple of Weber, a real treasure in German music
has been disinterred from the fragments of the past, thus long after
its composer's death.  It is a striking illustration of the
universality of Weber's genius that aught like this should prove to
have been written by him, for his manuscript is a fragment {265} of a
comic opera of the best kind.  Although only seven parts were completed
by the composer himself, Mahler took the remaining ten mostly from
Weber's other manuscripts.  He completed them himself so adroitly, that
the best musicians cannot distinguish Weber from Mahler.  We owe a debt
of gratitude to both composer and poet, who have performed this act of
piety towards the great deceased and at the same time have preserved us
real musical pearls.  The text is well done, though not important
enough for three acts; two would have been quite sufficient.

The first scene takes us into a little village in Spain, where a
student, Don Gaston Piratos bids farewell to his fellows.  He is a gay
and gallant youth, whose money dwindles to a paltry sum before mine
host's long account.  But this cunning host has a charming daughter
Ines, and light-hearted Gaston flirts with the damsel, his servant
Ambrosio valiantly assisting him.

The Kater-romance sung by Ines is as gracefull as it is droll and
effective.

Don Pinto de Fonseca now arrives on horseback.  He is so corpulent,
that he is scarcely able to dismount, and he excites the curiosity and
amusement of all.  Having called for food and drink, he tells Gaston,
that he comes to marry a rich and noble lady, Donna Clarissa de
Pacheco.  Fonseca's father has once rendered a great service to Don
Pantaleone Roiz de Pacheco, and in reward he destined his only child
Clarissa for Fonseca's {266} son.  This promising young knight has a
letter of recommendation from his father.  He is in perplexity as to
his behaviour towards such a young lady and Gaston offers to instruct
him therein.  Ambrosio acts as bride, Gaston shows how she is to be
courted and Don Pinto gawkishly imitates his teacher's gestures.  This
scene is most irresistibly comic.  When wine and food are brought by
Ines and her servants, Don Pinto so entirely absorbs himself in
satisfying his hunger and thirst, that at last the wine gets the better
of him.  He falls asleep and Gaston, thinking it an injury to a noble
lady to be wooed by such a clown, takes away old Fonseca's letter and
departs with Ambrosio.  Don Pinto is carried into the house on a
grass-covered litter.

In the second act Don Pantaleone's servants are assembled in the
ancestral hall, where their master announces to them the approaching
arrival of Don Pinto, his daughter's future bridegroom.  Donna
Clarissa, who already loves Don Gomez Freiros, a knight of wealth,
noble birth and bearing is in despair, as is also her lover, but Laura,
her pretty maid promises to find ways and means to avert the dreaded
marriage.

In the third act Laura and the servants are decorating the hall with
flowers.  The majordomo sends them away, proclaiming Don Pinto's
arrival.  All go except Laura, who hides behind a bosquet.  Gaston,
entering with Ambrosio sees all those preparations with wonder.
Ambrosio detects Laura and according to his wont begins to court her.
{267} Gaston warns the damsel, and she entering into the joke mockingly
quits them.  Gay Ambrosio is consoling himself in a charming song of
which the burden is girls' fickleness, when Don Gomez enters and
touches Gaston's kind heart by the description of his love for
Clarissa.  Gaston tenders him Fonseca's letter, counselling Gomez to
play the part of Don Pinto, for Don Pantaleone has never seen either of
them.  Gomez accepts the letter gratefully from the supposed Don Pinto
and presents it to Don Pantaleone, who has entered with his daughter
and his whole suite.  Of course the father, struck by the knight's
noble bearing, gives his consent to the union with his daughter and
adds his benediction.  But their joy is disturbed by the entrance of
the real Don Pinto, who at once begins wooing in the manner he has
practised with Don Gaston.

The ridiculous fellow is thought mad and is about to be turned out,
when catching sight of Gaston, he loudly accuses him of treachery.
Gaston however draws his sword and menaces Don Pinto, upon which the
poor swain cries for mercy and is thereafter removed from the hall
amidst the laughter of the whole chorus.

Imagine the assistant's astonishment, when Gaston declares, that they
have turned out the true Don Pinto.  Gomez believing himself betrayed
challenges Gaston, and the father rages against the two pretenders.
But Clarissa pleads and Gaston quietly shows to Don Pantaleone the
contrast {268} between the two suitors, while Gomez is obliged to
acknowledge gratefully that he owes his lovely bride solely to Don
Gaston's joke.  So the lovers are united.



THE PIPER OF HAMELN.

Opera in five acts by VICTOR NESSLER.

Text by FR. HOFMANN from JULIUS WOLFF'S legend of the same name.


Without any preliminary introduction to the musical world Nessler wrote
this opera and at once became, not only known, but a universal
favorite; so much so that there is scarcely a theatre in Germany, in
which this work of his is not now given.

The subject of the libretto is a most favorable one, like that of
Nessler's later composition, "the Trumpeter of Saekkingen"; the
principal personage Singuf, being particularly well suited for a
first-rate stage hero.

Then Wolff's poetical songs are music in themselves, and it was
therefore not difficult to work out interesting melodies, of which as a
matter of fact we find many in this opera.

The scene of the following events is the old town of Hameln on the
Weser in the year 1284.  The citizens are assembled to hold council, as
to how the rat-plague of the town is to be got rid of.  No one is able
to suggest a remedy when suddenly the clerk of the senate, Ethelerus,
announces a stranger, who offers to destroy all the rats and mice in
the place, solely by the might of his pipe.  {269} Hunold Singuf, a
wandering Bohemian, enters and repeats his offer, asking one hundred
Marks in silver as his reward and forbidding anybody listen or to be
present, while he works his charm.

The senators comply with his request, promising him in addition a drink
from the town-cellar, when the last rat shall have disappeared, which
is to be when the moon is full.

In the following scene the Burgomaster's daughter Regina is with her
old cousin Dorothea.  She expects her bridegroom, the architect of the
town and son of the chief magistrate, Heribert Sunneborn, who has just
returned home from a long stay abroad.  While the lovers greet each
other, Ethelerus, who has wooed Regina in vain, stands aside greatly
mortified.

The second act opens in an inn, where Hunold makes the people dance and
sing to his wonderful melodies.  There he first sees the maid, who has
appeared to him in his dreams.  She is Gertrud, a fishermaiden and: To
look is to love--they are attracted to each other as by a magic spell.
Wulf, the smith, who loves Gertrud, sees it with distrust, but Hunold
begins to sing his finest songs.  In the evening the lovers meet before
Gertrud's hut, and full of anxious forebodings, she tries to turn him
from his designs and is only half-quieted, when he assures her that no
fiendish craft is at work and that he will do it for the last time.

In the third act Ethelerus holds council with magister Rhynperg as to
the means, by which they {270} can best succeed in teasing and
provoking the proud Sunneborn.  Hunold enters, and agreeable to an
invitation of theirs, sits down to drink a bottle of wine.  They make
him drink and sing a good deal, and he boasts of being able to make the
maidens all fall in love with him, if he chooses.  Rhynperg suggests
that he must omit the Burgomaster's daughter Regina, and he succeeds in
making Hunold accept a wager, that he will obtain a kiss from her
before his departure.

The following night Hunold accomplishes the exorcism of the rats, which
may be seen running towards him from every part of the town and
precipitating themselves into the river.  Unhappily, Wulf, standing in
a recess, has seen and heard all and coming forward to threaten Hunold,
the latter hurls his dagger after him, upon which Wulf takes flight.

In the fourth act the whole town is assembled to rejoice in its
deliverance from the awful plague, but when Hunold asks for his reward,
the Burgomaster tells him, that a so-called rat-king, a beast with five
heads, has been seen in his (the Burgomaster's) cellar, to which
complaint Hunold replies, that it is the smith's fault, who listened
against his express prohibition.  He promises to destroy the rat-king
on the same day and once more claims his due, together with the
promised parting gift, which he begs to be, not a drink of wine, but a
kiss from Regina's lips.  Of course everybody is astounded at his
insolence, and the angry {271} Burgomaster bids him leave the town at
once, without his money.  But Hunold, nothing daunted, begins to sing
so beautifully that the hearts of all the women yearn towards him, he
continues still more passionately, addressing himself directly to
Regina, and never stops, till the maiden, carried away by a passion
unconquerable, offers her lips for a kiss, swearing to be his own for
ever.  A great tumult arises and Hunold is taken to prison,
notwithstanding the remonstrances of Ethelerus, who bitterly repents
having had anything to do with Rhynperg's bad joke.

The fifth act takes us to the banks of the Weser, where Gertrud sits in
despair.  She deems herself betrayed by Hunold, but resolves
nevertheless to save his life.

Hunold is brought before the judges and condemned to be burnt alive as
a sorcerer, when Gertrud steps forth, claiming his life.  In pursuance
of an old privilege, Hunold is free when a maid of the town claims him,
but he is banished from the country and Gertrud with him.

Hunold promises never to return, but Gertrud throws herself into the
river.

Then Hunold swears to avenge the death of his bride.  While the
citizens are in church, he lures away their children by playing on his
pipe; all follow him, both great and small.  When he has led them
safely over the bridge, he calls the people from church.  All gather on
the banks of the stream, but they are only just in time to see {272}
the bridge fall into the river, while the mountain opposite opens,
swallowing up Hunold and the children for ever.



THE POACHER

or

"THE VOICE OF NATURE"

by LORTZING.

Text after a comedy by KOTZEBUE.


The music of this opera is so fresh, so full of gaiety and of charming
melodies, that it might be compared with Lortzing's "Czar and
Zimmermann", if only the text were as well done.  Unhappily it lacks
all the advantages which characterize the opera just named, as it is
frivolous, without possessing the grace and "esprit", which distinguish
French composition of a similar kind.

Nevertheless the good music prevails over the bad text, and the opera
holds its own with success in every German theatre.

The contents of the libretto are the following:

A schoolmaster, Baculus by name, has had the misfortune unintentionally
to shoot a roe-buck, belonging to the forest of his master, Count of
Eberbach.  Baculus, who is on the eve of his wedding with a young girl,
named Gretchen, is much afraid, when the consequences of his unlucky
shot show themselves in the shape of a summons to the castle, where he
is looked on as a poacher, and is in danger of losing his position.
His bride offers to entreat the Count to pardon him, but the jealous
{273} old schoolmaster will not allow it.  In this embarrassing
position the Baroness Freimann, a young widow appears, disguised in the
suit of a student, and accompanied by her chambermaid Nanette, who is
dressed as her famulus or valet.  Hearing of the schoolmaster's
misfortune, she proposes to put on Gretchen's clothes and to crave the
Count's pardon under the bride's name.  Baculus gladly accepts the
student's proposal and accompanies him to the castle.  Everybody is
charmed by the graces and naivete of the country-girl.  The Count tries
to make love to her, while Baron Kronthal, who is present, is so much
enamoured, that he thinks of marrying her despite her low birth.
Kronthal is the Countess of Eberbach's brother, but she does not know
him as such, though she feels herself greatly attracted by him.  In
order to save the girl from persecution, the Countess takes her with
her into her room.  Meanwhile the Count offers the sum of 5000 thalers
to Baculus for the renunciation of his bride.  The silly schoolmaster
accepts the offer, thinking that the Count wishes to win the real
Gretchen.  By waking the latter's vanity, he succeeds in turning her
affection to the Count, but great is his perplexity, when the Count
rejects his bride and scornfully asks for the other Gretchen.  Baculus
avows at last, that the latter is a disguised student.  Baron Kronthal,
full of wrath, asks for satisfaction, the student having passed the
night in his sister's room.  On this occasion the others for the first
time hear that the Countess is {274} the Baron's sister.  He demands an
explanation and then it is discovered that the student is the Baroness
Freimann, sister of the Count of Eberbach.  Everybody is content, for
the Count, who was detected in the act of kissing the country-girl,
declares, that with him it was the voice of nature that spoke, and the
Countess, to whom he now presents Kronthal as her brother, makes a like
statement.  The unhappy Baculus receives full pardon from the Count, on
condition that he will, henceforth teach the children of the village,
instead of shooting game.



THE POSTILION OF LONGJUMEAU.

Comic Opera in three acts by ADOLPHE ADAM.

Text by LEUVEN and BRUNSWICK.


This charming little opera is well worthy of being named among the best
of its kind, both on account of its delightful music and because the
text is so entertaining and funny as entirely to captivate the hearer's
interest.

The whole opera is essentially French in the best sense of the word and
we scarce can find a more graceful and witty composition.  Its subject,
written originally in good French verse is as follows:

Chapelou, stage-driver at Longjumeau is about to celebrate his marriage
with the young hostess of the post-house, Madelaine.  The wedding has
taken place and the young bride is led away by her friends, according
to an old custom, while her bridegroom is held back by his comrades,
who {275} compel him to sing.  He begins the romance of a young
postilion, who had the luck to be carried away by a Princess, having
touched her heart by his beautiful playing on the cornet.  Chapelou has
such a fine voice, that the Superintendent of the Grand Opera at Paris,
the Marquis de Corcy, who hears him, is enchanted, and being in search
of a good tenor, succeeds in winning over Chapelou, who consents to
leave his young wife in order to follow the Marquis' call to glory and
fortune.  He begs his friend Bijou, a smith, to console Madeleine, by
telling her that he will soon return to her.  While Madeleine calls for
him in tenderest accents, he drives away with his protectors and Bijou
delivers his message, determined to try his fortune in a similar way.
The desperate Madeleine resolves to fly from the unhappy spot, where
everything recalls to her her faithless husband.

In the second act we find Madeleine under the assumed name of Madame de
Latour.  She has inherited a fortune from an old aunt, and makes her
appearance in Paris as a rich and noble lady, with the intention of
punishing her husband, whom she however still loves.  During these six
years, that have passed since their wedding-day, Chapelou has won his
laurels under the name of St. Phar and is now the first tenor of the
Grand Opera and everybody's spoilt favorite.  Bijou is with him as
leader of the chorus, and is called Alcindor.  We presently witness a
comical rehearsal in which the principal singers are determined to do
as badly as possible.  {276} They all seem hoarse and instead of
singing, produce the most lamentable sounds.  The Marquis de Corcy is
desperate, having promised this representation to Mme. Latour, at whose
country-seat near Fontainebleau he is at present staying.  As soon as
St. Phar hears the name of this lady, his hoarseness is gone and all
sing their best.  We gather from this scene, that Mme. Latour has
succeeded in enthralling St. Phar; he has an interview with her, and,
won by his protestations of love, she consents to marry him.

St. Phar, not wishing to commit bigamy, begs his friend Bijou to
perform the marriage-ceremony in a priest's garb, but Mme. Latour locks
him in her room, along with Bourdon, the second leader of the chorus,
while a real priest unites the pair for the second time.

St. Phar enters the room in high spirits, when his companions, beside
themselves with fear, tell him that he has committed bigamy.  While
they are in mortal terror of being hanged, Mme. Latour enters in her
former shape as Madeleine, and blowing out the candle, torments St.
Phar, assuming now the voice of Mme. Latour, now that of
Madeleine.--After having sent her fickle husband into an abyss of
unhappiness and fear, the Marquis de Corcy, who had himself hoped to
wed the charming widow, appears with the police to imprison the
luckless St. Phar, who already considers himself as good as hanged, and
in imagination sees his first wife Madeleine rejoicing over his
punishment.  But he {277} has been made to suffer enough and at the
last moment Madelaine explains everything, and Chapelou obtains her
pardon.



PRECIOSA.

A Drama in four acts by ALEXANDER WOLFF.

Musical accompaniment by CHARLES MARIA VON WEBER.


Though Preciosa is not an opera, we may feel justified in admitting it
into our collection, as the music, which Weber wrote to it has alone
given celebrity to Wolff's drama, which would otherwise have long been
forgotten.

This musical composition is justly called one of the German nation's
jewels, and it shows all the best qualities of Weber's rich music.  It
was written after the Freischuetz and done in the incredibly short space
of nine days, and owed its success principally to the really national
coloring of melody, which has made some of its songs so popular.

The libretto is well done, the subject both attracting and interesting
to the hearer.  The scene is laid in Spain.  The first act introduces
us to Madrid and takes us into the house of a noble Spaniard, named Don
Francesco de Carcano.  His son, Don Alonzo has fallen violently in love
with a Bohemian girl, called Preciosa, whose beauty, virtue and charms
are on everybody's lips.  The father, wishing to know her, calls her
before him and she comes with her people, enchanting the old nobleman
as {278} well as his son by her noble bearing and her exquisite songs.

The second act represents a forest with the gipsies' camp.  Alonzo, who
has told his father that he followed the army, but has in reality been
seeking Preciosa, at length finds her out and tries to win her.  But
though she, returns his love, she is yet unwilling to follow him, and
he resolves to link his fate with that of the Bohemians, in order to
prove to Preciosa that his love is real and true.  Dressed as a common
hunter he follows his new friend, and the gipsies, who are all governed
by Preciosa's will swear, never to betray him.

The third act introduces us into the castle of Don Azevedo in Valencia,
a friend of Don Francesco's.  The former is about to celebrate his
silver-wedding.  Eugenio, his son, hearing that Preciosa is in the
neighborhood, resolves to win her for his father's festival having
heard of the latter's delight at seeing the gipsy-girl in his friend's
house at Madrid.  Eugenio rouses the jealousy of Alonzo, who begins a
quarrel which ends by Alonzo's being sent to prison.

The chief of the Bohemians and old mother Viarda who see too late, that
they have come into dangerous grounds, break up their camp, but
Preciosa, anxious about her lover, takes flight.

She is caught by the chief, but, seizing Alonzo's gun, which was left
lying under a tree and threatening to fire if he does not obey her, she
forces him to follow her into the castle.

{279}

The last act takes place in Azevedo's castle, where his wife, Donna
Clara, touched by Preciosa's loveliness, is willing to assist her in
liberating her lover.  Meanwhile mother Viarda comes with the other
gipsies to betray Alonzo's secret, asking one thousand scudi and her
chief's liberty.  At this moment the youth's father, Don Francesco,
comes to offer his congratulations at the silver-wedding of his friend.
He finds his son, whom he pardons, Preciosa having for his sake agreed
to renounce her bridegroom.  While bidding her hosts a sad farewell,
Preciosa is so overcome by her feelings, that Donna Clara entreats her
husband to buy the girl, whom she believes to be a stolen child.  Don
Fernando explains to the Bohemians, that he has the right to liberate
Preciosa, who has been taken in his grounds, if they should be unable
to prove her gipsy-descent.  Old Viarda, finding that her schemes have
fallen through, shows by a mark on Preciosa's shoulder, that the girl
is Donna Clara's own daughter, who was robbed many years ago and was
believed by her desolate parents to be drowned.  In consideration of
Preciosa's entreaties the gipsies are pardoned and only ordered to
leave the country for ever.  Preciosa is of course united to her
faithful lover Alonzo.



LE PROPHETE.

Opera in five acts by GIACOMO MEYERBEER.

Text by SCRIBE.


Though Meyerbeer never again attained the high standard of his
Huguenots, the "Prophet" is {280} not without both striking and
powerful passages; it is even said, that motherly love never spoke in
accents more touching than in this opera.  The text is again
historical, but though done by Scribe, it is astonishingly weak and
uninteresting.

The scene is laid in Holland at the time of the wars with the
Anabaptists.

Fides, mother of the hero, John von Leyden, keeps an inn near
Dortrecht.  She has just betrothed a young peasant-girl to her son, but
Bertha is a vassal, of the Count of Oberthal and dares not marry
without his permission.

As they set about getting his consent to the marriage, three
Anabaptists, Jonas, Mathisen and Zacharias appear, exciting the people
with their speeches and false promises.  While they are preaching,
Oberthal enters, but smitten with Bertha's charms he refuses his
consent to her marriage and carries her off, with Fides as companion.

In the second act we find John, waiting for his bride; as she delays,
the Anabaptists try to win him for their cause, they prophesy him a
crown, but as yet he is not ambitious, and life with Bertha looks
sweeter to him than the greatest honors.  As the night comes on, Bertha
rushes in to seek refuge from her pursuer, from whom she has
fled.--Hardly has she hidden herself, when Oberthal enters to claim
her.  John refuses his assistance, but when Oberthal threatens to kill
his mother, he gives up Bertha to the Count, while his mother, whose
life he has saved at such a price, asks God's {281} benediction on his
head.  Then she retires for the night, and the Anabaptists appear once
more, again trying to win John over.  This time they succeed.  Without
a farewell to his sleeping mother, John follows the Anabaptists, to be
henceforth their leader, their Prophet, their Messiah.

In the third act we see the Anabaptists' camp, their soldiers have
captured a party of noblemen, who are to pay ransom.  They all make
merry and the famous ballet on the ice forms part of the amusements.
In the back-ground we see Muenster, which town is in the hands of Count
Oberthal's father, who refuses to surrender it to the enemy.  They
resolve to storm it, a resolution which is heard by young Oberthal, who
has come disguised to the Anabaptists' camp in order to save his father
and the town.

But as a light is struck, he is recognized and is about to be killed,
when John hears from him that Bertha has escaped.  She sprang out of
the window to save her honor, and falling into the stream, was saved.
When John learns this, he bids the soldiers spare Oberthal's life, that
he may be judged by Bertha herself.

John has already endured great pangs of conscience at seeing his party
so wild and bloodthirsty.  He refuses to go further, but hearing, that
an army of soldiers has broken out of Muenster to destroy the
Anabaptists, he rallies.  Praying fervently to God for help and
victory, inspiration comes over him and is communicated to all his
adherents, so that {282} they resolve to storm Muenster.  They succeed
and in the fourth act we are in the midst of this town, where we find
Fides, who, knowing that her son has turned Anabaptist, though not
aware of his being their Prophet, is receiving alms to save his soul by
masses.  She meets Bertha, disguised in a pilgrim's garb.  Both
vehemently curse the Prophet, when this latter appears, to be crowned
in state.

His mother recognizes him, but he disowns her, declaring her mad, and
by strength of will he compels the poor mother to renounce him.  Fides,
in order to save his life, avows that she was mistaken and she is led
to prison.

In the last act we find the three Anabaptists, Mathisen, Jonas and
Zacharias together.  The Emperor is near the gates of Muenster, and they
resolve to deliver their Prophet into his hands in order to save their
lives.

Fides has been brought into a dungeon, where John visits her to ask her
pardon and to save her.  She curses him, but his repentance moves her
so, that she pardons him when he promises to leave his party.  At this
moment Bertha enters.  She has sworn to kill the false Prophet, and she
comes to the dungeon to set fire to the gunpowder, hidden beneath it.
Fides detains her, but when she recognizes that her bridegroom and the
Prophet are one and the same person, she wildly denounces him for his
bloody deeds and stabs herself in his presence.  Then John decides to
die also and after {283} the soldiers have led his mother away, he
himself sets fire to the vault.

Then he appears at the coronation-banquet, where he knows that he is to
be taken prisoner.  When Oberthal, the Bishop and all his treacherous
friends are assembled, he bids two of his faithful soldiers close the
gates and fly.  This done, the castle is blown into the air with all
its inhabitants.  At the last moment Fides rushes in to share her son's
fate, and all are thus buried under the ruins.



THE QUEEN OF SHEBA.

(DIE KOeNIGIN VON SABA.)

Grand Opera in four acts by CHARLES GOLDMARK.

Text by MOSENTHAL.


Charles Goldmark was born in Hungary in 1852.  He received his musical
education in Vienna.

The well-known name of Mosenthal is in itself a warrant that the
libretto is excellently suited to the music.  The opera is considered
one of the best and finest of our modern compositions.

It is noble, original and full of brilliant orchestral effects, which,
united to a grand, not to say gorgeous mise en scene, captivate our
senses.

The contents are these:

A magnificent wedding is to be celebrated in King Solomon's palace at
Jerusalem.  The High-priest's daughter, Sulamith, is to marry Assad,
King Solomon's favorite.  But the lover, who has in a foreign country
seen a most beautiful and haughty woman bathing in a forest-well, is
now in {284} love with the stranger and has forgotten his destined
bride.

Returning home Assad confesses his error to the wise King and Solomon
bids him wed Sulamith and forget the heathen.  Assad gives his promise,
praying to God to restore peace to his breast.

Then enters the Queen of Sheba in all her glory, followed by a
procession of slaves and suitors.  Next to her litter walks her
principal slave, Astaroth.

The Queen comes to offer her homage to the great Solomon with all the
gifts of her rich kingdom.

She is veiled, and nobody has seen her yet, as only before the King
will she unveil herself.

When she draws back the veil, shining in all her perfect beauty, Assad
starts forward; he recognizes her; she is his nymph of the forest.  But
the proud Queen seems to know him not, she ignores him altogether.
Solomon and Sulamith try to reassure themselves, to console Assad, and
the Queen hears Solomon's words: "To-morrow shall find you united to
your bride!"  She starts and casts a passionate look on the unfortunate
Assad.

The Queen is full of raging jealousy of the young bride.  But though
she claims Assad's love for herself, she is yet too proud to resign her
crown, and so, hesitating between love and pride, she swears vengeance
on her rival.  Under the shade of night her slave-woman, Astaroth,
allures Assad to the fountain, where he finds the Queen, {285} who
employs all her arts again to captivate him, succeeding alas, only too
well.

Morning dawns and with it the day of Assad's marriage with Sulamith.
Solomon and the High-priest conduct the youth to the altar, but just as
he is taking the ring, offered to him by the bride's father, the Queen
of Sheba appears, bringing as wedding-gift a golden cup, filled with
pearls.

Assad, again overcome by the Queen's dazzling beauty, throws the ring
away and precipitates himself at her feet.  The Levites detain him, but
Solomon guessing at the truth, implores the Queen to speak.  Assad
invokes all the sweet memories of their past, the Queen hesitates, but
her pride conquers.  For the second time she disowns him.--Now
everybody believes Assad possessed by an evil spirit, and the priests
at once begin to exorcise it; it is all but done, when one word of the
Queen's, who sweetly calls him "Assad", spoils everything.  He is in
her hands: falling on his knees before her, he prays to her as to his
goddess.  Wrathful at this blasphemy in the temple, the priests demand
his death.

Assad asks no better, Sulamith despairs and the Queen repents having
gone so far.  In the great tumult Solomon alone is unmoved.  He detains
the priests with dignity, for he alone will judge Assad.

There now follows a charming ballet, given in honor of the Queen of
Sheba.  At the end of the meal, the Queen demands Assad's pardon from
Solomon.  He refuses her request.  She now tries {286} to ensnare the
King with her charms, as she did Assad, but in vain.  Solomon sees her
in her true light and treats her with cold politeness.  Almost beside
herself with rage, the Queen threatens to take vengeance on the King
and to free Assad at any risk.

Solomon, well understanding the vile tricks of the eastern Queen, has
changed the verdict of death into that of exile.  Sulamith, faithful
and gentle, entreats for her lover, and has only one wish: to sweeten
life to her Assad, or to die with him.

We find Assad in the desert.  He is broken down and deeply repents his
folly, when, lo, the Queen appears once more, hoping to lure him with
soft words and tears.  But this time her beauty is lost upon him: he
has at last recognized her false soul; with noble pride he scorns her,
prefering to expiate his follies, by dying in the desert.  He curses
her, praying to God to save him from the temptress.--Henceforth he
thinks only of Sulamith and invokes Heaven's benediction on her.  He is
dying in the dreadful heat of the desert, when Sulamith appears, the
faithful one who without resting has sought her bridegroom till now.
But alas, in vain she kneels beside him couching his head on her bosom;
his life is fast ebbing away.--Heaven has granted his last wish; he
sees Sulamith before his death and with the sigh: "Liberation!", he
sinks back and expires.



{287}

THE NIBELUNGEN RING.

A Festival-Play in three days and a fore-evening by RICHARD WAGNER.


THE RHINEGOLD.

The grand dramatic work, which cannot any longer with justice be called
an opera, differing as it does so considerably from the ordinary style
of these, is the result of many years of study and hard work.

Wagner took the subject from the German mythology, the oldest
representative of which is found in the Edda.

We have first to do with the fore-evening, called the "Rhinegold."

The first scene is laid in the very depths of the Rhine, where we see
three nymphs, frolicking in the water.  They are the guardians of the
Rhinegold which glimmers on a rock.

Alberich, a Nibelung, highly charmed by their grace and beauty, tries
to make love to each one of them alternately.  As he is an ugly dwarf,
they at first allure and then deride him, gliding away as soon as he
comes near and laughing at him.--Discovering their mockery at last, he
swears vengeance.  He sees the Rhinegold shining brightly, and asks the
nymphs what it means.  They tell him of its wonderful qualities, which
would render the owner all-powerful, if he should form it into a ring
and forswear love.

{288}

Alberich, listening attentively, all at once climbs the rock, and
before the frightened nymphs can cry for help, has grasped the treasure
and disappeared.  Darkness comes on; the scene changes into an open
district on mountain-heights.  In the back-ground we see a grand
castle, which the rising sun illumines.  Wotan, the father of the gods,
and Fricka, his wife, are slumbering on the ground.  Awakening, their
eyes fall on the castle for the first time.  It is the "Walhalla", the
palace, which the giants have built for them at Wotan's bidding.  As a
reward for their services they are to obtain Freia, the goddess of
youth; but already Wotan repents of his promise and forms plans with
his wife, to save her lovely sister.  The giants Fafner and Fasold
enter to claim their reward.  While they negociate, Loge, the god of
fire, comes up, relates the history of Alberich's theft of the
Rhinegold and tells Wotan of the gold's power.  Wotan decides to rob
the dwarf, promising the treasure to the giants, who consent to accept
it in Freia's stead.  But they distrust the gods and take Freia with
them as a pledge.  As soon as she disappears, the beautiful gods seem
old and grey and wrinkled, for the golden apples to which Freia attends
and of which the gods partake daily to be forever youthful, wither as
soon as she is gone.  Then Wotan without any further delay starts for
Nibelheim with Loge, justifying his intention by saying that the gold
is stolen property.  They disappear in a cleft and we find ourselves in
a subterranean cavern, the abode of the Nibelungs.

{289}

Alberich has forced his brother Mime to forge a "Tarnhelm" for him,
which renders its wearer invisible.  Mime vainly tries to keep it for
himself; Alberich, the possessor of the all-powerful ring, which he
himself formed, takes it by force and making himself invisible, strikes
Mime with a whip, until the latter is half dead.  Wotan and Loge,
hearing his complaints, promise to help him.  Alberich, coming forth
again, is greatly flattered by Wotan and dexterously led on to show his
might.  He first changes himself into an enormous snake and then into a
toad.  Wotan quickly puts his foot on it, while Loge seizes the
Tarnhelm.  Alberich becoming suddenly visible in his real shape, is
bound and led away captive.  The gods return to the mountain-heights of
the second scene, where Alberich is compelled to part with all his
treasures, which are brought by the dwarfs.  He is even obliged to
leave the ring, which Wotan intends to keep for himself.  With a
dreadful curse upon the possessor of the ring Alberich flies.

When the giants reappear with Freia, the treasures are heaped before
her; they are to cover her entirely, so it is decided, and not before,
will she be free.  When all the gold has been piled up, and even the
Tarnhelm thrown on the hoard, Fasold still sees Freia's eye shine
through it and at last Wotan, who is most unwilling to part with the
ring, is induced to do so by Erda, goddess of the earth, who appears to
him and warns him.  Now the pledge is kept and Freia is released.  The
{290} giants quarrel over the possession of the ring and Fafner kills
Fasold, thereby fulfilling Alberich's curse.  With lightened hearts the
gods cross the rainbow-bridge and enter Walhalla, while the songs and
wailings of the Rhine-nymphs are heard, imploring the restitution of
their lost treasure.



RIENZI, THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES.

Grand tragic Opera in five acts by RICHARD WAGNER.


In this first opera of Wagner's one hardly recognizes the great master
of later times.--But though Wagner himself disowned this early child of
his muse, there is a grand energy in it, which preserves it from
triviality.  The orchestration is brilliant, the brass instruments
predominating, and here and there one may find traces of the peculiar
power which led up to the greatness of after-years, and which sometimes
make one think of Tannhaeuser.

The libretto, taken by Wagner from Bulwer's novel, is attractive and
powerful.

The hero, a pontifical notary, is a man of lofty ambition, dreaming in
the midst of the depravity of the 14th century of reerecting the old
Roma, and making her once more the Sovereign of the world.  He receives
help and encouragement from the church; Cardinal Raimondo even bids him
try all means, in order to attain his end.  The clergy {291} as well as
the people are oppressed by the almighty and insolent nobles.

In the first scene we witness an act of brutality, directed against
Rienzi's sister Irene, who is however liberated by Adriano, son of the
noble Colonna.  A Colonna it was, who murdered Rienzi's little brother
in sheer wantonness.--Rienzi has sworn vengeance, but, seeing Adriano
good and brave and in love with his sister, he wins him to his cause.

The nobles having left Rome to fight out a quarrel, which had been
started among them, are forbidden to reenter the town.--Rienzi calls
the people to arms and is victorious.  The strongholds of the nobles
are burnt, and they are only admitted into Rome, on promising
submission to the new laws, made and represented by Rienzi, who has
been created Tribune of Rome.

The hostile parties of Colonna and Orsini then join to destroy the
hated plebeian.  In the midst of the festivity in the Capitol, Orsini
makes an attempt to murder Rienzi, but the latter wears a shirt of mail
under his garments and besides he is warned by Adriano, who has
overheard the conspiracy.  The whole plot fails and the nobles who have
taken part in it are unanimously condemned to death.  But Adriano full
of remorse on account of his treason against his own father, implores
Rienzi to save their lives, and as Irene joins her prayers to those of
her lover, the culprits are pardoned and obliged to renew their oath of
fidelity.  {292} From this time on Rienzi's star begins to pale.  The
nobles do not adhere to their oath; in the third act they again give
battle, and though Rienzi is again victorious, it is only at the cost
of severe sacrifices.  The nobles are slain, and now Adriano, who had
in vain begged for peace, turns against Rienzi.

In the fourth act Adriano denounces him as a traitor; the people easily
misled, begin to mistrust him, and when even the church, which has
assisted him up to this time anathematises him on account of his last
bloody deed, all desert him.  Irene alone clings to her brother and
repulses her lover scornfully, when he tries to take her from Rienzi's
side.  Both brother and sister retire into the Capitol, where Adriano
once more vainly implores Irene to fly with him.  For the last time
Rienzi attempts to reassert his power, but his words are drowned in the
general uproar.  They are greeted by a hail of stones, the Capitol is
set on fire, and they perish like heroes in the flames, through which
Adriano makes his way at the last moment and thus finds a common grave
with his bride and her brother, the last of the Tribunes.



RIGOLETTO.

Opera in three acts by VERDI.

Text by PIAVE from VICTOR HUGO'S drama: "Le roi s'amuse".


No opera has become popular in so short a time as Rigoletto in Italy.
The music is very {293} winning and is, like all that Verdi has
written, full of exquisite melodies.

In Germany it has not met with the same favor, which is due in great
part to its awful libretto, which is a faithful copy of Hugo's drama,
and developed in a truly dramatic manner.  The subject is however
rather disgusting.  Excepting Gilda, we do not meet with one noble
character.

The Duke of Mantua, a wild and debauched youth, covets every girl or
woman he sees, and is assisted in his vile purposes by his jester,
Rigoletto an ugly, hump-backed man.  We meet him first helping the Duke
to seduce the wife of Count Ceprano, and afterwards the wife of Count
Monterone.  Both husbands curse the vile Rigoletto and swear to be
avenged.  Monterone especially, appearing like a ghost in the midst of
a festival, hurls such a fearful curse at them, that Rigoletto shudders.

This bad man has one tender point, it is his blind love for his
beautiful daughter Gilda, whom he brings up carefully, keeping her
hidden from the world and shielding her from all wickedness.

But the cunning Duke discovers her and gains her love under the assumed
name of a student, named Gualtier Malde.

Gilda is finally carried off by Ceprano and two other courtiers, aided
by her own father, who holds the ladder believing that Count Ceprano's
wife is to be the victim.--A mask blinds Rigoletto and he discovers,
too late, by Gilda's cries that he {294} has been duped.  Gilda is
brought to the Duke's palace.--Rigoletto appears in the midst of the
courtiers to claim Gilda, and then they hear that she, whom they
believed to be his mistress, is his daughter, for whose honor he is
willing to sacrifice everything.--Gilda enters and though she sees that
she has been deceived, she implores her father to pardon the Duke, whom
she still loves.  But Rigoletto vows vengeance, and engages Sparafucile
to stab the Duke.  Sparafucile decoys him into his inn, where his
sister Maddalena awaits him.  She too is enamoured of the Duke, who
makes love to her, as to all young females, and she entreats her
brother to have mercy on him.  Sparafucile declares that he will wait
until midnight, and will spare him, if another victim should turn up
before then.  Meanwhile Rigoletto persuades his daughter to fly from
the Duke's pursuit, but before he takes her away, he wants to show her
lover's fickleness, in order to cure her of her love.

She comes to the inn in masculine attire, and hearing the discourse
between Sparafucile and his sister, resolves to save her lover.  She
enters the inn and is instantly put to death, placed in a sack and
given to Rigoletto, who proceeds to the river to dispose of the corpse.
At this instant he hears the voice of the Duke, who passes by, singing
a frivolous tune.  Terrified, Rigoletto opens the sack, and recognizes
his daughter, who is yet able to tell him, that she gave her life for
that of her seducer and then expires.  With an awful cry, the {295}
unhappy father sinks upon the corpse.  Count Monterone's curse has been
fulfilled.



ROBERT LE DIABLE.

Opera in five acts by MEYERBEER.

Text by SCRIBE and DELAVIGNE.


Though the text, which embodies the well-known story of Robert the
Devil, Duke of Normandy, is often weak and involved, Meyerbeer has
understood in masterly fashion how to adapt his music to it, infusing
into it dramatic strength and taking his hearer captive from beginning
to end.  The instrumentation is brilliant, and the splendid parts for
the human voice deserve like praise.  The famous Cavatina "Air of
grace", as it is called, where the bugle has such a fine part, and the
duet in the fourth act between Robert and the Princess Isabella, in
which the harp fairly rouses us to wonder whether we are not listening
to celestial music--are but two of the enchanting features of an opera
in which such passages abound.

The following are the contents of the libretto:

Robert, Duke of Normandy, has a friend of gloomy exterior, named
Bertram, with whom he travels, but to whose evil influence he owes much
trouble and sorrow.  Without knowing it himself, Robert is the son of
this erring knight, who is an inhabitant of hell.  During his
wanderings on earth he seduced Bertha, daughter of the Duke of
Normandy, whose offspring Robert is.  This youth is {296} very wild and
has therefore been banished from his country.

Arriving in Sicily, Isabella the King's daughter and he fall mutually
in love.

In the first act we find Robert in Palermo, surrounded by other
knights, to whom a young countryman of his, Raimbaut, tells the story
of "Robert le Diable" and his fiendish father; warning everybody
against them.  Robert, giving his name, is about to deliver the unhappy
Raimbaut to the hangman, when the peasant is saved by his bride Alice,
Robert's foster-sister.  She has come to Palermo by order of Robert's
deceased mother, who sends her last will to her son, in case he should
change his bad habits and prove himself worthy.  Robert, feeling that
he is not likely to do this, begs Alice to keep it for him.  He
confides in the innocent maiden, and she promises to reason with
Isabella, whom Robert has irritated by his jealousy, and who has
banished him from her presence.

As a recompense for her service Alice asks Robert's permission to marry
Raimbaut.  Seeing Robert's friend, Bertram, she recognizes the latter's
likeness to Satan, whom she saw in a picture, and instinctively shrinks
from him.  When she leaves her master, Bertram induces his friend to
try his fortune with the dice and he loses all.

In the second act we are introduced into the palace of Isabella, who
laments Robert's inconstancy.  Alice enters bringing Robert's letter
and the latter instantly follows to crave his mistress' {297} pardon.
She presents him with a new suit of armor, and he consents to meet the
Prince of Granada in mortal combat.  But Bertram lures him away by
deceiving him with a phantom.  Robert vainly seeks the Prince in the
forest, and the Prince of Granada is in his absence victorious in the
tournament and obtains Isabella's hand.

The third act opens with a view of the rocks of St. Irene, where Alice
hopes to be united with Raimbaut.  The peasant expects his bride, but
meets Bertram instead, who makes him forget Alice, by giving him gold
and dangerous advice.  Raimbaut goes away to spend the money, while
Bertram descends to the evil spirits in the deep.  When Alice comes,
Raimbaut is gone, and she hears the demons calling for Bertram.
Bertram extracts a promise from her not to betray the dreadful secret
of the cavern.  She clings to the Saviour's cross for protection, and
is about to be destroyed by Bertram, when Robert approaches, to whom
she decides to reveal all.  But Bertram's renewed threats at last
oblige her to leave them.

Bertram now profits by Robert's rage and despair at the loss of his
bride, his wealth and his honor, to draw him on to entire destruction.
He tells Robert that his rival used magic arts, and suggests that he
should try the same expedient.  Then he leads him to a ruined cloister,
where he resuscitates the guilty nuns.  They try to seduce Robert first
by drink, then by gambling, and last of all by love.  In the last,
Helena, the most {298} beautiful of the nuns, succeeds and makes him
remove the cypress-branch, a talisman, by which in the fourth act he
enters Isabella's apartment unseen.  He awakes his bride out of her
magic sleep, to carry her off, but overcome by her tears and her appeal
to his honor, he breaks the talisman, and is seized by the now awakened
soldiers; but Bertram appears, and takes him under his protection.

The fifth act opens with a chorus sung by monks, which is followed by a
prayer for mercy.  Robert, concealed in the vestibule of the cathedral,
hears it full of contrition.  But Bertram is with him, and, his term on
earth being short, he confides to Robert the secret of his birth and
appeals to him as his father.

He almost succeeds, when Alice comes up, bringing the news that the
Prince of Granada renounces Isabella's hand, being unable to pass the
threshold of the church.  Bertram urges Robert all the more vehemently
to become one with him, suggesting that Isabella is likewise lost to
him, who has transgressed the laws of the church, when in the last
extremity Alice produces his mother's will, in which she warns him
against Bertram, entreating him to save his soul.  Then at last his
good angel is victorious, his demon-father vanishes into the earth and
Robert, united by prayer to the others, is restored to a life of peace
and goodness.

{299}

LE ROI L'A DIT.

(THE KING HAS SAID IT.)

Comic Opera in three acts by LEON DELIBES.

Text by EDMOND GONDINET.


It is impossible to imagine music more charming or more full of grace
and piquancy, than that which we find in this delightful opera.  Every
part abounds in exquisite harmonies, which no words can give any idea
of.  On hearing them one is compelled to the conclusion, that all the
graces have stood godmother to this lovely child of their muse.

The libretto though on the whole somewhat insipid, is flavored with
naive and goodnatured coquetry, which lends a certain charm to it.

The Marquis de Moncontour has long wished to be presented to the King
Louis XIV., and as he has been fortunate enough to catch the escaped
paroquet of Mme. de Maintenon, he is at last to have his wish
accomplished.  By way of preparation for his audience he tries to learn
the latest mode of bowing, his own being somewhat antiquated and the
Marquise and her four lovely daughters and even Javotte, the nice
little ladies'-maid, assist him.  After many failures the old gentleman
succeeds in making his bow to his own satisfaction, and he is put into
a litter, and born off, followed by his people's benedictions.  When
they are gone, Benoit, a young peasant comes to see Javotte, who is his
sweetheart.  He wishes to enter the Marquis' {300} service.  Javotte
thinks him too awkward, but she promises to intercede in his favor with
Miton, a dancing-master, who enters just as Benoit disappears.  He has
instructed the graceful Javotte in all the arts and graces of the noble
world, and when he rehearses the steps and all the nice little tricks
of his art with her, he is so delighted with his pupil, that he
pronounces her manners worthy of a Princess; but when Javotte tells him
that she loves a peasant, he is filled with disgust and orders her
away.  His real pupils, the four lovely daughters of the Marquis now
enter and while the lesson goes on, Miton hands a billet-doux from some
lover to each of them.  The two elder, Agatha and Chimene, are just in
the act of reading theirs, when they hear a serenade outside, and
shortly afterwards the two lovers are standing in the room, having
taken their way through the window.  The Marquis Flarembel and his
friend, the Marquis de la Bluette are just making a most ardent
declaration of love, when Mme. la Marquise enters to present to her
elder daughters the two bridegrooms she has chosen for them.  The young
men hide behind the ample dresses of the young ladies, and all begin to
sing with great zeal, Miton beating the measure, so that some time
elapses, before the Marquise is able to state her errand.  Of course
her words excite great terror, the girls flying to the other side of
the room with their lovers and receiving the two elderly suitors, Baron
de Merlussac and Gautru, a rich old financier, with great coolness and
a refusal of their {301} costly gifts.  When the suitors are gone, the
two young strangers are detected and the angry mother decides at once
to send her daughters to a convent, from which they shall only issue on
their wedding-day.

When they have departed in a most crest-fallen condition, the old
Marquis returns from his audience with the King and relates its
astounding results.  His Majesty had been so peremptory in his
questioning about the Marquis' son and heir, that the Marquis, losing
his presence of mind, promised to present his son at Court on the
King's demand.  The only question now is where to find a son to adopt,
as the Marquis has only four daughters.  Miton, the ever-useful, at
once presents Benoit to the parents, engaging himself to drill the
peasant into a nice cavalier in ten lessons.  Benoit takes readily to
his new position; he is fitted out at once and when the merchants come,
offering their best in cloth and finery, he treats them with an
insolence, worthy of the proudest Seigneur.  He even turns from his
sweet-heart Javotte.

In the second act Benoit, dressed like the finest cavalier, gives a
masked ball in his father's gardens.  Half Versailles is invited, but
having taken the Court Almanac to his aid, he has made the mistake of
inviting many people who have long been dead.  Those who do appear,
seem to him to be very insipid, and wanting some friends with whom he
can enjoy himself, the useful Miton presents the Marquis de la Bluette
and de Flarembel, who are {302} delighted to make the acquaintance of
their sweethearts' brother.

Benoit hears from them, that he has four charming sisters, who have
been sent to a convent and he at once promises to assist his new
friends.  Meanwhile Javotte appears in the mask of an oriental Queen
and Benoit makes love to her, but he is very much stupified when she
takes off her mask, and he recognizes Javotte.  She laughingly turns
away from him, when the good-for-nothing youth's new parents appear, to
reproach him with his levity.  But Benoit, nothing daunted rushes away,
telling the Marquis that he intends to visit his sisters in the
convent.  Miton tries in vain to recall him.  Then the two old suitors
of Agathe and Chimene appear, to complain that their deceased wife and
grand-mother were invited, and while the Marquis explains his son's
mistake, the four daughters rush in, having been liberated by their
lovers and their unknown brother, whom they greet with a fondness very
shocking to the old Marchioness.  The elderly suitors withdraw,
swearing to take vengeance on the inopportune brother.

In the last act Benoit appears in his father's house in a somewhat
dilapidated state.  He has spent the night amongst gay companions and
met Gautru and de Merlussac successively, who have both fought him and
believe they have killed him, Benoit having feigned to be dead on the
spot.

When the old Marquis enters, he is very much astonished at receiving
two letters of condolence {303} from his daughter's suitors.  Miton
appears in mourning, explaining that Mme. de Maintenon's visit being
expected, they must all wear dark colors as she prefers these.
Meanwhile Benoit has had an interview with Javotte, in which he
declares his love to be undiminished, and he at once asks his father to
give him Javotte as his wife, threatening to reveal the Marquis' deceit
to the King, if his request is not granted.  In this dilemma help comes
in the persons of the two young Marquises, who present their King's
condolences to old Moncontour.  This gentleman hears to his great
relief, that his son is supposed to have fallen in a duel, and so he is
disposed of.  Nobody is happier than Javotte, who now claims Benoit for
her own, while the Marquis, who receives a Duke's title from the King
in compensation for his loss, gladly gives his two elder daughters to
their young and noble lovers.

The girls, well aware, that they owe their happiness to their adopted
brother, are glad to provide him with ample means for his marriage with
Javotte, and the affair ends to everybody's satisfaction.



ROMEO E GIULIETTA.

Grand Opera in five acts by CH. GOUNOD.

Text by BARBIER and CARRE.


This highly favored opera by Gounod presents much that is worthy of
admiration, though it does not rise to the high level of his Marguerite
(Faust).  {304 The libretto follows Shakespeare's version pretty
accurately.

The first act opens with the masked ball in Capuletti's palace, where
the first meeting between the lovers takes place, Romeo being disguised
as a pilgrim.  They fall in love with each other, and Tybalt, Capulet's
nephew, recognizing Romeo, reveals, but too late, their true names and
swears to take revenge on his foe, who has thus entered the Capulet's
house uninvited.

The second act represents the famous scene on the balcony between
Juliet and her lover.

In the third act Romeo visits Friar Lorenzo's cell, to get advice from
him.  There he meets Juliet.  Lorenzo unites the lovers, hoping hereby
to reconciliate the hostile houses of the Montagus and the Capulets.

The following scene represents the street before Capulet's palace,
where the rivals meet; there ensues the double duel, first between
Tybalt and Romeo's friend Mercutio, who falls and then between Romeo,
who burns to avenge his comrade, and Tybalt.  Tybalt is killed and
Romeo is obliged to fly, all the Capulets being after him.

In the fourth act Romeo sees Juliet in her room, but when the morning
dawns he is obliged to leave, while Juliet's father comes to remind her
of his last promise to the dying Tybalt, which was to marry Juliet to
Count Paris.--

Juliet in great perplexity turns to Friar Lorenzo for help.--He gives
her a draught {305} which will cause her to fall into a deep swoon, and
after being laid in her ancestor's tomb, she is to be awakened by Romeo
and carried away into security.

In the fifth act Romeo, after having taken poison enters the tomb to
bid farewell to Juliet, whom he by a fatal misunderstanding believes to
be dead.--She awakes, and seeing her bridegroom die before her eyes,
she stabs herself, to be united with her lover in death, if not in life.



IL SERAGLIO.

Opera in three acts by MOZART.

Text after BRETZNER by G. STEPHANIE.


Mozart modestly called this opera a Vaudeville (in German: Singspiel).
They were the fashion towards the end of the last century, but "Il
Seraglio" ranks much higher, and may be justly called a comic opera of
the most pleasing kind.  The music is really charming, both fresh and
original.

The libretto is equally happy.  It particularly inspired Mozart because
given him by the Emperor Joseph II at a time, when he (Mozart), a happy
bridegroom, was about to conduct into his home his beloved Constanze.
The contents are as follows:

Constanza, the betrothed bride of Belmonte is with her maid Bionda
(Blondchen) and Pedrillo, Belmonte's servant, captured by pirates.  All
three are sold as slaves to Selim Pasha, who keeps the ladies in his
harem, taking Constanza for himself {306} and giving Bionda to his
overseer Osmin.  Pedrillo has found means to inform his master of their
misfortune, and Belmonte comes seeking entrance to the Pasha's villa in
the guise of an artist.  Osmin, who is much in love with Bionda, though
she treats him haughtily, distrusts the artist and tries to interfere.
But Pedrillo, who is gardener in the Pasha's service, frustrates
Osmin's purpose and Belmonte is engaged.  The worthy Pasha is quite
infatuated with Constanza and tries hard to gain her affections.  But
Constanza has sworn to be faithful till death to Belmonte and great is
her rapture, when Bionda brings the news that her lover is near.

With the help of Pedrillo, who manages to intoxicate Osmin, they try to
escape, but Osmin overtakes them and brings them back to the Pasha, who
at once orders that they be brought before him.--Constanza, advancing
with noble courage, explains that the pretended artist is her lover,
and that she will rather die with him than leave him.  Selim Pasha,
overwhelmed by this discovery, retires to think about what he shall do
and his prisoners prepare for death, Belmonte and Constanza with
renewed tender protestations of love, Pedrillo and Bionda without
either fear or trembling.

Great is their happiness and Osmin's wrath, when the noble Pasha,
touched by their constancy, sets them free, and asks for their
friendship, bidding them remember him kindly after their return into
their own country.

{307}

SIEGFRIED.

Second day of the Nibelungen Ring by WAGNER.

Musical Drama in three acts.


The first act represents a part of the forest, where Fafner guards the
Rhinegold and where Sieglinda has found refuge.  We find her son
Siegfried,--to whom when she was dying, she gave birth--in the rocky
cave of Mime the Nibelung, (brother of Alberich), who has brought up
the child as his own, knowing that he is destined to slay Fafner and to
gain the ring, which he covets for himself.  Siegfried, the brave and
innocent boy, instinctively shrinks from this father, who is so ugly,
so mean and vulgar, while he has a deep longing for his dead mother,
whom he never knew.  He gives vent to these feelings in impatient
questions about her.  The dwarf answers unwillingly and gives him the
broken pieces of the old sword Nothung (needful), which his mother left
as the only precious remembrance of Siegfried's father.

Siegfried asks Mime to forge the fragments afresh, while he rushes away
into the woods.

During his absence Wotan comes to Mime in the guise of a wanderer.
Mime, though he knows him not, fears him and would fain drive him away.
Finally he puts three questions to his guest.  The first is the name of
the race, which lives in earth's deepest depths, the second the name of
those, who live on earth's back and the third, that of those, who live
above the clouds.  Of course Wotan answers them all, {308} redeeming
his head and shelter thereby; but now it is his turn to put three
questions.  He first asks what race it is, that Wotan loves most,
though he dealt hardly with them, and Mime answers rightly, that they
are the Waelsungs, whose son Siegfried is; then Wotan asks after the
sword, which is to make Siegfried victorious.  Mime joyously names
"Nothung", but when Wotan asks him, who is to unite the pieces, he is
in great embarrassment, for he remembers his task and perceives too
late, what question he ought to have asked.  Wotan leaves him, telling
him that only that man can forge it, who never knew fear.  Siegfried,
finding the sword still in fragments when he returns, melts these in
fire, and easily forges them together, to Mime's great awe, for he sees
now that this boy is the one, whom the stranger has meant.

In the second scene we see the opening of Fafner's cavern, where
Alberich keeps watch for the dragon's slayer, so long predicted.

Wotan approaching, warns him that Alberich's brother Mime has brought
up the boy, who is to slay Fafner, in the hope of gaining Alberich's
ring, the wondrous qualities of which are unknown to Siegfried.

Wotan awakes Fafner, the dragon, telling him that his slayer is coming.

Mime, who has led Siegfried to this part of the forest under the
pretext of teaching him fear, approaches now, and Siegfried, eager for
combat, kills the dreadful worm.  Accidentally tasting the {309} blood,
he all at once understands the language of the birds.  They tell him to
seek for the Tarnhelm and for the ring, which he finds in the cavern.
Meanwhile the brothers, Alberich and Mime, quarrel over the treasure,
which they hope to gain.  When Siegfried returns with ring and helmet,
he is again warned by the voice of a wood-bird, not to trust in Mime.
Having tasted the dragon's blood, Siegfried is enabled to probe Mime's
innermost thoughts, and so he learns that Mime means to poison him, in
order to obtain the treasure.  He then kills the traitor with a single
stroke.--Stretching himself under the linden-tree to repose after that
day's hard work, he again hears the voice of the wood-bird, which tells
him of a glorious bride, sleeping on a rock surrounded by fire; and
flying before him, the bird shows Siegfried the way to the spot.

In the third scene we find Wotan once more awakening Erda, to seek her
counsel as to how best to avert the doom, which he sees coming, but she
is less wise than he and so he decides to let fate have its course.
When he sees Siegfried coming, he for the last time tries to oppose him
by barring the way to Bruennhilde, but the sword Nothung splits the
god's spear.  Seeing that his power avails him nothing he retires to
Walhalla, there to await the "Dusk of the Gods".

Siegfried plunges through the fire, awakes the Walkyrie and after a
long resistance, wins the proud virgin.



{310}

SILVANA.

Romantic Opera in four acts by WEBER.

Text by ERNST PASQUE.


This opera was left unfinished by Weber.  It has however recently been
completed, the text by Ernest Pasque, and the music by Ferdinand
Langer, who rearranged the manuscript with loving care, interweaving
different compositions from Weber, as for instance his "Invitation a la
valse", and his "Polonaise", which are dexterously introduced into the
ballet of the second act.

The action is taken from an old German legend which comes to us from
the land of the Rhine.  There we may still find the ruins of the two
castles Sternberg and Liebenstein.

Of these our legend says, that they belonged to two brothers, who hated
each other, for the one, Boland, loved his brother's bride and was
refused by her.  By way of revenge he slew his brother and burnt down
his castle.  But in this fray the wife he coveted disappeared with her
child and both were supposed to have perished in the flames.

Since then Boland has fallen into deep melancholy and the consequences
of his dreadful deed have never ceased to torment him.  His only son,
who lost his mother in early childhood, has grown up solitary, knowing
nothing of woman's sweetness, of peace and happiness.  His only passion
is the hunt.  He has grown into manhood and his father {311} as well as
his vassals wish him to marry, by [Transcriber's note: but?] never yet
has he found a woman, who has touched his heart with love.

In the beginning of the first act we see him hunting in the forest.  He
has lost his way and his companions and finds himself in a spot, which
he has never before seen.  A beautiful maiden comes out of a small
cottage and both fall in love at first sight.  The returning collier
would fain keep his only child, who has not yet seen anything of the
world; but the nymph of the forest, Silvana's protectrice, beckons him
away.  When at length the Count's fellow-hunters find him, he presents
Silvana to them as his bride.  The unfortunate collier is made drunk
with wine, and during his sleep they take his daughter away to the
castle of the old Rhinegrave.

But Silvana is protected in the new world into which she enters, by the
nymph, who follows her in the guise of a young minstrel.  The old
Count, hearing of his son's resolution, is quite willing to receive the
bride and even consents to go to the peasant's festival, and look at
the dancing and frolicking, given in honor of his son's bridal.

There we find Ratto, the collier, who seeks his daughter Silvana,
telling everybody that robbers took her away from him, and beseeching
help to discover her.  Meanwhile Silvana arrives in rich and costly
attire between Gerold, the young Count and the old Rhinegrave.  The
latter, attracted by her fairness and innocence has welcomed her as his
{312} daughter without asking for antecedents.  When the dances of the
villagers have ended, the nymph enters in the guise of a minstrel,
asking to be allowed to sing to the hearers, as was the custom on the
banks of the Rhine.

She begins her ballad, the contents of which terrify the Rhinegrave,
for it is his own awful deed, which he hears.  Springing up, he draws
his sword against the minstrel, but Silvana rises, protecting him with
outstretched arms.  All are stupefied; Gerold looks with suspicion on
his bride, hanging on the breast of the stranger.  He asks for an
explanation, but Silvana is silent.  It is part of her trial, not to
betray the nymph.  At the same moment Ratto, the collier, recognizes
and claims Silvana as his daughter.  Everybody now looks with contempt
on the low-born maiden, and the Rhinegrave commands them to be put into
prison; but Gerold believing in his bride's innocence though
appearances are against her, entreats her once more to defend herself.
Silvana only asserts her innocence and her love for Gerold, but will
give no proofs.  So the collier with his daughter and the minstrel are
taken to prison.  But when the keeper opens the door in the morning,
the minstrel has disappeared.

The old Count, disgusted at the idea of his son's union with a
collier's daughter accuses her of being a sorceress.  He compels her to
confess that she seduced his son by magic arts, and Silvana consents to
say anything rather than injure {313} her lover.--She is conducted
before a court and condemned to the funeral pile.  Gerold, not once
doubting her, is resolved to share her death, when in the last critical
moment the minstrel once more raises his voice and finishes the ballad,
which the Rhinegrave had interrupted so violently.  He tells the
astonished hearers, that the wife and daughter of the Count, who was
slain by his brother, were not burnt in the castle, but escaped to the
forest, finding kindly refuge in a poor collier's hut where the mother
died, leaving her child, Silvana, under his protection.

The Rhinegrave, full of remorse, embraces Silvana, beseeching her
forgiveness, and the lovers are united.



LA SOMNAMBULA.

Opera in two acts by VINCENZO BELLINI.

Text by FELICE ROMANI.


This opera is decidedly of the best of Bellini's muse.  Though it does
not reach the standard of Norma, its songs are so rich and melodious,
that they seem to woo the ear and cannot be heard without pleasure.

Add to these advantages a really fine as well as touching libretto, and
it may be easily understood, why the opera has not yet disappeared from
the stage repertory, though composed more than fifty years ago.

It is a simple village-peasant story, which we have to relate.  The
scene of action is a village in {314} Switzerland, where the rich
farmer Elvino has married a poor orphan, Amina.  The ceremony has taken
place at the magistrate's, and Elvino is about to obtain the sanction
of the church to his union, when the owner of the castle, Count
Rudolph, who fled from home in his boyhood, returns most unexpectedly
and, at once making love to Amina, excites the bridegroom's jealousy.
Lisa, the young owner of a little inn, who wants Elvino for herself and
disdains the devotion of Alexis, a simple peasant, tries to avenge
herself on her happy rival.  Lisa is a coquette and flirts with the
Count, whom the judge recognizes.  While she yet prates with him, the
door opens and Amina enters, walking in her sleep and calling for
Elvino.  Lisa conceals herself, but forgets her handkerchief.  The
Count, seeing Amina's condition and awed by her purity quits the room,
where Amina lies down, always in deep sleep.  Just then the people,
having heard of the Count's arrival, come to greet him and find Amina
instead.  At the same moment Elvino summoned by Lisa rushes in, and
finding his bride in the Count's room, turns away from her in disdain,
snatching his wedding-ring from her finger in his wrath, and utterly
disbelieving Amina's protestations of innocence and the Count's
assurances.  Lisa succeeds in attracting Elvino's notice and he
promises to marry her.

The Count once more tries to persuade the angry bridegroom of his
bride's innocence, but without result, when Teresa, Amina's
foster-mother, {315} shows Lisa's handkerchief, which was found in the
Count's room.  Lisa reddens, and Elvino knows not whom he shall
believe, when all of a sudden Amina is seen, emerging from a window of
the mill, walking in a trance, and calling for her bridegroom in most
touching accents.

All are convinced of her innocence, when they see her in this state of
somnambulism, in which she crosses a very narrow bridge without falling.

Elvino himself replaces the wedding-ring on her finger, and she awakes
from her trance in his arms.  Everybody is happy at the turn which
things have taken; Elvino asks Amina's forgiveness and leaves Lisa to
her own bitter reflections.



THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.

Comic Opera in four acts by HERMANN GOETZ.

Text done after Shakespeare's comedy by J. V. WIDMANN.


This beautiful opera is the only one, which the gifted young composer
left complete, for he died of consumption in his early manhood.  His
death is all the more to be lamented, as this composition shows a
talent, capable of performances far above the average.  Its melodies
are very fresh and winning, and above all original.

As the subject of the libretto is so generally known, it is not
necessary to do more than shortly epitomise here.  Of the libretto
itself however it may be remarked in passing, that it is uncommonly
well done; it is in rhymes which are harmonious and well turned.  The
translation is quite free and {316} independent, but the sense and the
course of action are the same, though somewhat shortened and modified,
so that we only find the chief of the persons, we so well know.

Kate is the same headstrong young lady, though she does not appear in a
very bad light, her wilfulness being the result of maidenly pride,
which is ashamed to appear weak before the stronger sex.  She finds her
master in Petrucchio however and after a hard and bitter fight with her
feelings, she at last avows herself conquered, less by her husband's
indomitable will, than by her love for him, which acknowledges him as
her best friend and protector.

Then her trials are at an end, and when her sister Bianca with her
young husband Lucentio and her father Baptista, visit her, they are
witnesses of the perfect harmony and peace which reign in Kate's home.



TANNHAeUSER.

Romantic Opera in three acts by RICHARD WAGNER.


With this opera begins a new era in the history of the German theatre.
Tannhaeuser is more a drama than an opera, every expression in it is
highly dramatic; the management of the orchestra too is quite different
from anything hitherto experienced, it dominates everywhere, the voice
of the performer being often only an accompaniment to it.  Tannhaeuser
is the first opera, or as Wagner {317} himself called it, drama of this
kind, and written after this one, all Wagner's works bear the same
stamp.

Wagner took his subject from an old legend, which tells of a minstrel,
called Tannhaeuser (probably identical with Heinrich von Ofterdingen),
who won all prizes by his beautiful songs and all hearts by his noble
bearing.  So the palm is allotted to him at the yearly "Tournament of
Minstrels" on the Wartburg, and his reward is to be the hand of
Elizabeth, niece of the Landgrave of Thuringia, whom he loves.  But
instead of behaving sensibly, this erring knight suddenly disappears
nobody knows where, leaving his bride in sorrow and anguish.  He falls
into the hands of Venus, who holds court in the Hoerselberg near
Eisenach, and Tannhaeuser, at the opening of the first scene, has
already passed a whole year with her.  At length he has grown tired of
sensual love and pleasure, and notwithstanding Venus' allurements he
leaves her, vowing never to return to the goddess, but to expiate his
sins by a holy life.  He returns to the charming vale behind the
Wartburg, he hears again the singing of the birds, the shepherds
playing on the flute, the pious songs of the pilgrims on their way to
Rome.  Full of repentance he kneels down and prays, when suddenly the
Landgrave appears with some minstrels, amongst them Wolfram von
Eschinbach, Tannhaeuser's best friend.  They greet their long-lost
companion, who however cannot tell where he has been all the {318}
time, and as Wolfram reminds him of Elizabeth, Tannhaeuser returns with
the party to the Wartburg.

It is just the anniversary of the Tournament of Minstrels, and in the
second act we find Elizabeth with Tannhaeuser, who craves her pardon and
is warmly welcomed by her.  The high prize for the best song is again
to be Elizabeth's hand, and Tannhaeuser resolves to win her once more.
The Landgrave chooses "love" as the subject, whose nature is to be
explained by the minstrels.  Everyone is called by name, and Wolfram
von Eschinbach begins, praising love as a well, deep and pure, a source
of the highest and most sacred feeling.  Others follow; Walther von der
Vogelweide praises the virtue of love, every minstrel celebrates
spiritual love alone.

But Tannhaeuser, who has been in Venus' fetters, sings of another love,
warmer and more passionate, but sensual.  And when the others
remonstrate, he loudly praises Venus, the goddess of heathen love.  All
stand aghast, they recognize now, where he has been so long, he is
about to be put to death, when Elizabeth prays for him.  She loves him
dearly and hopes to save his soul from eternal perdition.  Tannhaeuser
is to join a party of pilgrims on their way to Rome, there to crave for
the Pope's pardon.

In the third act we see the pilgrims return from their journey.
Elizabeth anxiously expects her lover, but he is not among
them.--Fervently she prays to the Holy Virgin: but not {319} that a
faithful lover may be given back to her, no, rather that he may be
pardoned and his immortal soul saved.  Wolfram is beside her, he loves
the maiden, but he has no thought for himself, he only feels for her,
whose life he sees ebbing swiftly away, and for his unhappy friend.

Presently when Elizabeth is gone, Tannhaeuser comes up in pilgrim's
garb.  He has passed a hard journey, full of sacrifices and
castigation, and all for nought, for the Pope has rejected him.  He has
been told in hard words, that he is for ever damned, and will as little
get deliverance from his grievous sin, as the stick in his hand will
ever bear green leaves afresh.

Full of despair Tannhaeuser is returning to seek Venus, whose Siren
songs already fall alluringly on his ear.  Wolfram entreats him to fly,
and when Tannhaeuser fails to listen, he utters Elizabeth's name.  At
this moment a procession descends from the Wartburg, chanting a funeral
song over an open bier.  Elizabeth lies on it dead, and Tannhaeuser
sinks on his knee beside her, crying: "Holy Elizabeth, pray for me".
Then Venus disappears, and all at once the withered stick begins to bud
and blossom, and Tannhaeuser, pardoned, expires at the side of his
beloved.

Tannhaeuser was represented on the Dresden Theatre in June 1890
according to Wagner's changes of arrangement, done by him in Paris 1861
for the Grand Opera by order of Napoleon III., {320} this arrangement
the composer acknowledges as the only correct one.

These alterations are limited to the first scene in the mysterious
abode of Venus and his motives for the changes become clearly apparent,
when it is remembered, that the simple form of Tannhaeuser was composed
in the years 1843 and 45 in and near Dresden, at a time, when there
were neither means nor taste in Germany for such scenes, as those,
which excited Wagner's brain.  Afterwards success has rendered Wagner
bolder and more pretentious and so he endowed the person of Frau Venus
with more dramatic power, and thereby threw a vivid light on the great
attraction, she exercises on Tannhaeuser.  The decorations are by far
richer and a ballet of Sirens and Fauns was added, a concession, which
Wagner had to make to the Parisian taste.  Venus's part, now sung by
the first primadonnas, has considerably gained by the alterations, and
the first scene is far more interesting than before, but it is to be
regretted that the Tournament of Minstrels has been shortened and
particularly the fine song of Walter von der Vogelweide omitted by
Wagner.  All else is as of old, as indeed Elizabeth's part needed
nothing to add to her purity and loveliness, which stands out now in
even bolder relief against the beautiful but sensual part of Venus.

{321}

GUGLIELMO TELL.

Grand Opera in three acts by ROSSINI.


This last opera of Rossini's is his most perfect work and it is deeply
to be regretted that when it appeared, he left the dramatic world, to
live in comfortable retirement for 39 years.  How much he could still
have done, if he had chosen!  In Tell his genius attains its full
depth, here alone we find the highly dramatic element united to the
infinite richness of melody, which we have learned to associate with
his name and work.

The text is founded on the well-known story of Tell, who delivered his
Fatherland from one of its most cruel despots, the Austrian governor
Gessler.

The first act opens with a charming introductory chorus by peasants,
who are celebrating a nuptial fete.

Tell joins in their pleasure, though he cannot help giving utterance to
the pain which the Austrian tyranny causes him.  Arnold von Melchthal,
son of an old Swiss, has conceived an unhappy passion for Mathilda,
Princess of Habsburg, whose life he once saved; but he is Swiss and
resolved to be true to his country.  He promises Tell to join in his
efforts to liberate it.  Meanwhile Leuthold, a Swiss peasant, comes up.
He is a fugitive, having killed an Austrian soldier, to revenge an
intended abduction of his daughter.  His only safety lies in crossing
the lake, but no fisherman dares to row {322} out in the face of the
coming storm.  Tell steps forth, and seizing the oars, brings Leuthold
safely to the opposite shore.  When Rudolf von Harras appears with his
soldiers, his prey has escaped and, nobody being willing to betray the
deliverer, old father Melchthal is imprisoned.

In the second act we find the Princess Mathilda returning from a hunt.
She meets Arnold, and they betray their mutual passion.  Arnold does
not yet know his father's fate, but presently Tell enters with Walter
Fuerst, who informs Arnold that his father has fallen a victim to the
Austrian tyranny.  Arnold, cruelly roused from his love-dream, awakes
to duty, and the three men vow bloody vengeance.  This is the famous
oath taken on the Ruetli.  The deputies of the three Cantons arrive, one
after the other, and Tell makes them swear solemnly to establish
Switzerland's independence.  Excited by Arnold's dreadful account of
his father's murder, they all unite in the fierce cry: "To arms!" which
is to be their signal of combat.

In the third act Gessler arrives at the marketplace of Altdorf, where
he has placed his hat on a pole, to be greeted instead of himself by
the Swiss who pass by.

They grumble at this new proof of arrogance, but dare not disobey the
order, till Tell, passing by with his son Gemmy, disregards it.
Refusing to salute the hat, he is instantly taken and commanded by
Gessler to shoot an apple off his little boy's head.  After a dreadful
inward struggle Tell {323} submits.  Fervently praying to God and
embracing his fearless son, he shoots with steady hand, hitting the
apple right in the centre.  But Gessler has seen a second arrow, which
Tell has hidden in his breast, and he asks its purpose.  Tell freely
confesses, that he would have shot the tyrant, had he missed his aim.
Tell is fettered, Mathilda vainly appealing for mercy.  But Gessler's
time has come.  The Swiss begin to revolt.  Mathilda herself begs to be
admitted into their alliance of free citizens and offers her hand to
Arnold.  The fortresses of the oppressors fall, Tell enters free and
victorious, having himself killed Gessler, and in a chorus at once
majestic and grand the Swiss celebrate the day of their liberation.



THE TEMPLAR AND THE JEWESS.

Opera in three acts by HENRY MARSCHNER.

Text by W. A. WOHLBRUeCK.


The subject of this opera is the well-known romance of Ivanhoe by Sir
Walter Scott.  The poet understood pretty well how to make an effective
picture with his somewhat too extensive and imposing material.

Its chief defect lies in the conclusion, which is lacking in poetic
justice and cannot be considered satisfactory, for the heroine Rebecca
who loves her knightly succourer Ivanhoe, is only pitied by him, and so
the difficulty of the situation is not solved to our liking.  Apart
from this defect, the opera {324} is most interesting and we are won by
its beautiful music, which may be called essentially chivalrous and
therefore particularly adapted to the romantic text.

In the opening scene we are introduced to the Knight-Templar, Brian de
Bois Guilbert, who has fallen in love with the beautiful Jewess
Rebecca, and has succeeded in capturing and detaining her in his
castle.  At the same time Sir Cedric of Rotherwood, a Saxon knight,
(father of Ivanhoe, whom he has disinherited), has been taken captive
with his ward, the Lady Rowena, by their enemies, the Normans.--Rebecca
refuses to hear the Templar's protestations of love, and threatens to
precipitate herself from the parapet, if he dares to touch her.  Her
wild energy conquers; and when he leaves her, Ivanhoe, the wounded
knight to whom Rebecca is assigned as nurse, tells her that friends
have come to deliver them all.

The outlaws, commanded by Richard Coeur de Lion, under the guise of the
Black Knight, assault the castle, burn it and deliver the captives.
Poor Rebecca alone falls into the hands of the Templar, who does not
cease to press his love-suit.  Brian's deed soon becomes known, and his
brother-Templars, believing Brian to be innocent, but seduced by a
sorceress, condemn Rebecca to the stake.  She makes use of her right to
ask for a champion, and is allowed till sunset to find one.  Brian
himself tries all he can to save her, but she rejects his aid, for she
loves Ivanhoe, though she is well aware {325} that at this noble knight
loves his beautiful cousin Rowena.

The day has nearly passed, the funeral pile awaits its victim, and no
champion appears.  The trumpets sound for the last time, when Ivanhoe
presents himself in the lists to fight Brian, whom the Templars have
appointed as his adversary.  Ivanhoe is victorious; Brian falls
lifeless, even before the enemy's sword touches him.  All recognize the
judgment of God and Rebecca is given back to her desolate father.  At
the last moment King Richard, who has long been absent on a crusade to
Jerusalem, appears on the scene.  He announces that henceforth he alone
will govern the land and punish all injustice.  Ivanhoe and Rowena are
united by consent of Sir Cedric, who is now wholly reconciled to his
valorous son.



LA TRAVIATA (OR VIOLETTA).

Opera in three acts by VERDI.

Text taken from the French by PIAVE.


The original of the libretto is Dumas' celebrated novel "La dame aux
camelias."

The opera is like all of Verdi's works full of melody and there are
numberless special beauties in it.  The prelude which opens the opera
instead of an overture, is in particular an elegy of a noble and
interesting kind.  But as the text is frivolous and sensual, of course
the music cannot be expected to be wholly free from these
characteristics.

{326}

The scene is laid in and near Paris.  Alfred Germont is passionately in
love with Violetta Valery, one of the most frivolous beauties in Paris.
She is pleased with his sincere passion, anything like which she has
never hitherto known, and openly telling him, who she is, she warns him
herself; but he loves her all the more, and as she returns his passion,
she abandons her gay life and follows him into the country, where they
live very happily for some months.

Annina, Violetta's maid dropping a hint to Alfred that her mistress is
about to sell her house and carriage in town in order to avoid
expenses, he departs for the Capital to prevent this.

During his absence Violetta receives a visit from Alfred's father, who
tries to show her that she has destroyed not only his family's but his
son's happiness by suffering Alfred to unite himself to one so
dishonored as herself.  He succeeds in convincing her, and,
broken-hearted, she determines to sacrifice herself and leave Alfred
secretly.  Ignoring the possible reason for this inexplicable action,
Alfred is full of wrath and resolves to take vengeance.  He finds
Violetta in the house of a former friend, Flora Bervoix, who is in a
position similar to that of Violetta.--The latter, having no other
resources and feeling herself at death's door a state of health
suggested in the first act by an attack of suffocation, has returned to
her former life.

Alfred insults her publicly.  The result is a {327} duel between her
present adorer, Baron Dauphal and Alfred.

From this time on Violetta declines rapidly, and in the last act, which
takes place in her sleeping-room, we find her dying.  Hearing that
Alfred has been victorious in the duel, and receiving a letter from his
father, who is now willing to pardon and to accept her as his
daughter-in-law, she revives to some extent and Alfred, who at last
hears of her sacrifice, returns to her, but only to afford a last
glimpse of happiness to the unfortunate woman, who expires, a modern
Magdalen, full of repentance, and striving tenderly to console her
lover and his now equally desolate father.



TRISTAN AND ISOLDA.

Lyric Drama in three acts by RICHARD WAGNER.


The music to this drama is deemed by connoisseurs the most perfect ever
written by Wagner, but it needs a fine and highly cultivated
understanding of music to take in all its beauty and greatness.  There
is little action in it, and very often the orchestra has the principal
part, so that the voice seems little more than an accompaniment, it has
musical measures too, which cannot be digested by an uneducated hearer;
but nevertheless many parts of it will interest every-one.

Isolda's love-song for instance is the noblest hymn, ever sung in
praise of this passion.

The first act represents the deck of a ship, {328} where we find the
two principal persons, Tristan and Isolda together,--Tristan, a Cornish
hero, has gone over to Ireland, to woo the Princess for his old uncle,
King Marke.  Isolda however loves Tristan and has loved him from the
time when he was cast sick and dying on the coast of Ireland and was
rescued and nursed by her, though he was her enemy.  But Tristan,
having sworn faith to his uncle, never looks at her, and she full of
wrath that he wooes her for another instead of for himself, attempts to
poison herself and him by a potion.  But Brangaena, her faithful
attendant secretly changes the poisoned draught for a love-potion, so
that they are inevitably joined in passionate love.  Only when the ship
gets ashore, its deck already covered with knights and sailors, who
come to greet their King's bride, does Brangaena confess her fraud, and
Isolda, hearing, that she is to live, faints in her attendant's arms.

In the second act Isolda has been wedded to Marke, but the love-potion
has worked well, and she has secret interviews at night with Tristan,
whose sense of honor is deadened by the fatal draught.  Brangaena keeps
watch for the lovers, but King Marke's jealous friend Melot betrays
them, and they are found out by the good old King, who returns earlier
than he had intended from a hunt.

Tristan is profoundly touched by the grief of the King, whose sadness
at losing faith in his most noble warrior is greater than his wrath
against {329} the betrayer of honor.  Tristan, unable to defend
himself, turns to Isolda, asking her to follow him into the desert, but
Melot opposes him, and they fight, Tristan falling back deadly wounded
into his faithful servant Kurvenal's arms.

The third act represents Tristan's home in Brittany, whither Kurvenal
has carried his wounded master in order to nurse him.  Isolda, so
skilled in the art of healing wounds, has been sent for, but they look
in vain for the ship, which is to bring her.

When at last it comes into sight, Tristan, who awakes from a long
swoon, sends Kurvenal away, to receive his mistress, and as they both
delay their coming, his impatient longing gets the better of him.
Forgetting his wound, he rises from his couch, tearing away the
bandages, and so Isolda is only just in time to catch him in her arms,
where he expires with her name on his lips.  While she bewails her
loss, another ship is announced by the shepherd's horn.  King Marke
arrives, prepared to pardon all and to unite the lovers.  Kurvenal,
seeing Melot advance, mistakes them for foes and running his sword
through Melot's breast, sinks, himself deadly wounded, at his master's
feet.  King Marke, to whom Brangaena has confessed her part in the whole
matter, vainly laments his friend Tristan, while Isolda, waking from
her swoon and seeing her lover dead, pours forth rapturous words of
greeting, and, broken-hearted, sinks down dead at his side.



{330}

IL TROVATORE.

Opera in four acts by GIUSEPPE VERDI.

Text by SALVATORE COMMERANO.


Though Verdi is far beneath his celebrated predecessors Rossini and
Bellini, he is highly appreciated in his own country and the Trovatore
counts many admirers not only in Italy but also abroad.  This is easily
accounted for by the number of simple and catching melodies contained
in his operas, and which have become so quickly popular, that we hear
them on every street-organ.  Manrico's romance for example, is a good
specimen of the work for which he is admired.

The text of Il Trovatore is very gloomy and distressing.

Two men of entirely different station and character woo Leonore,
Countess of Sergaste.  The one is Count Luna, the other a minstrel,
named Manrico, who is believed to be the son of Azucena, a gipsy.

Azucena has in accordance with gipsy-law vowed bloody revenge on Count
Luna, because his father, believing her mother to be a sorceress and to
have bewitched one of his children, had the old woman burnt.  To punish
the father for this cruelty Azucena took away his other child, which
was vainly sought for.  This story is told in the first scene, where we
find the Count's servants waiting for him, while he stands sighing
beneath his sweetheart's window.  But Leonore's heart is {331} already
captivated by Manrico's sweet songs and his valour in tournament.  She
suddenly hears his voice, and in the darkness mistakes the Count for
her lover, who however comes up just in time to claim her.  The Count
is full of rage, and there follows a duel in which Manrico is wounded,
but though it is in his power to kill his enemy, he spares his life,
without however being able to account for the impulse.

In the second act Azucena, nursing Manrico, tells him of her mother's
dreadful fate and her last cry for revenge, and confesses to having
robbed the old Count's son, with the intention of burning him.  But in
her despair and confusion, she says, she threw her own child into the
flames, and the Count's son lived.  Manrico is terrified, but Azucena
retracts her words and regains his confidence, so that he believes her
tale to have been but an outburst of remorse and folly.

Meanwhile he hears that Leonore, to whom he was reported as dead, is
about to take the veil, and he rushes away to save her.  Count Luna
arrives before the convent with the same purpose.  But just as he
seizes his prey, Manrico comes up, and liberates her with the aid of
his companions, while the Count curses them.

Leonore becomes Manrico's wife, but her happiness is shortlived.

In the third act the Count's soldiers succeed in capturing Azucena, in
whom they recognize the burnt gipsy's daughter.  She denies all
knowledge {332} of the Count's lost brother, and as the Count hears
that his successful rival is her son, she is sentenced to be burnt.
Ruiz, Manrico's friend, brings the news to him.  Manrico tries to
rescue her, but is seized too, and condemned to die by the axe.

In the fourth act Leonore offers herself to the Count as the price of
freedom for the captives, but determined to be true to her lover, she
takes poison.  She hastens to him, announcing his deliverance.  Too
late he sees how dearly she has paid for it, when after sweet assurance
of love and fidelity she sinks dead at his feet.

The Count, coming up and seeing himself deceived, orders Manrico to be
put to death instantly.

He is led away, and only after the execution does Azucena inform the
Count, that his murdered rival was Luna's own long-sought brother.



DER TROMPETER VON SAeKKINGEN.

(THE TRUMPETER OF SAEKKINGEN.)

Opera in three acts with a prelude by VICTOR NESSLER.

Text by RUDOLF BUNGE after SCHEFFEL'S poem.


Seldom in our days is an opera such a complete success in all German
theatres, as this composition of Nessler's has proved to be.  To tell
the truth, it owes its popularity in great degree to the libretto,
which has taken so many fine songs and ideas from its universally known
and adored original.  Nessler's Trompeter is however in every way
inferior to Scheffel's celebrated poem.

{333}

Nevertheless the music, though not very profound is pleasing, and there
are several airs in it, which have already become popular.

The prelude opens at Heidelberg, where a chorus of students make a
great noise after one of their drinking-bouts.  They presently serenade
the Princess-Electress, and a law-student, named Werner, a foundling
and the adopted son of a professor, distinguishes himself by a solo on
the trumpet.  He is heard by the trumpeter of the Imperial recruiting
officers, who tries to win him, but without success, when suddenly the
Rector Magnificus appears, to assist the major-domo, and announces to
the astounded disturbers of peace, that they are dismissed from the
university.

Werner, taking a sudden resolution, accepts the press-money from
Konradin the trumpeter, marches away with the soldiers, and the prelude
is closed.

The first act represents a scene at Sakkingen on the Rhine.  There is a
festival in honor of St. Fridolin, at which young Baroness Maria
assists.  She is insulted by the peasants and Werner protects her from
them.  She is much pleased by the noble bearing of the trumpeter, and
so is her aunt, the Countess of Wildenstein, who detects a great
resemblance between him and her son, who was stolen by gipsies in his
childhood.--The second scene takes us into the Baron's room, where we
find the gouty old gentleman in rather a bad humor.  He is restored to
good temper by a letter {334} from his friend, the Count of
Wildenstein, who lives separated from his first wife, the above
mentioned Countess, and who proposes his son, born in second wedlock,
as Maria's husband.

The Baron receives Maria kindly, when she relates her adventure and
begs him to engage Werner as trumpeter in the castle.  At this moment
the latter is heard blowing his instrument and the Baron, who has a
great predilection for it, bids Werner present himself and at once
engages him.

In the second act Werner gives lessons on the trumpet to the lovely
Maria; of course the young people fall in love with each other, but the
Countess watches them, until friend Konradin for once succeeds in
drawing her aside, when there follows a glowing declaration of love on
both sides.  Unhappily it is interrupted by the Countess, who announces
her discovery to the Baron.  Meanwhile the destined bridegroom has
arrived with his father.  Damian, that is the young man's name, is a
simpleton, and Maria declares at once that she never will be his.  But
in the presence of the whole company, assembled for a festival, the
Baron proclaims Maria Count Damian's bride; to the over-bold Werner he
forbids the castle.

The last act opens with a siege of the castle by the rebellious
peasants.  Damian shows himself a coward.  In the last extremity they
are relieved by Werner, who drives the peasants back with his soldiers.
He is wounded in the fray, and while the wound is being dressed, a mole
detected on his {335} arm proclaims him the stolen child of Countess
Wildenstein.  All now ends in joy and happiness; the Baron is willing
enough to give his daughter to the brave young nobleman and very glad
to be rid of the cowardly Damian.



UNDINE.

Romantic Opera in four acts by ALBERT LORTZING.

Text after FOUQUE'S tale.


With this opera Lortzing for the first time tried his genius in another
field.  Until then he had only composed comic operas, which had met
with a very fair measure of success, but in this opera he left the
comic for the romantic and was peculiarly happy both in his ideas and
choice of subject which, as it happened, had previously had the honor
of being taken up by Weber.  The first representation of Undine at
Hamburg in the year 1845 was one of the few luminous moments in
Lortzing's dark life.

His melodies are wonderfully captivating and lovely and the whole charm
of German romance lies in them.

The contents of the libretto are:

The gallant Knight, Hugo von Ringstetten has been ordered by the Duke's
daughter, Berthalda, to go in search of adventures, accompanied by his
attendant Veit.  Being detained for three months in a little village
cut off from communication with the outer world by an inundation, he
sees Undine, the adopted daughter of an old fisherman, named {336}
Tobias, and falling in love with her he asks for her hand.  In the
first act we see the priest uniting the young couple.  The Knight
recognizes in the old man a traveller, whom he once saved from robbers,
and is glad to see him.  Undine behaves most childishly and finally
says that she has no soul.  She is herself grieved, and the others do
not believe her.  Hugo now tells them of the proud and beautiful
Berthalda, whose scarf he received in a tournament, and who sent him
away on this adventure.  He then returns to the Capital with his young
wife, in order to present her at the Ducal court.  Meanwhile Veit has
met Kuehleborn, the mighty King of the water-fairies, and is asked by
him, whether his master has quite forgotten Berthalda.  The valet gives
as his opinion that the poor fisher-maiden is deceived, and will soon
be abandoned by her husband.  This excites Kuehleborn's wrath, for
Undine is his daughter, and he forthwith resolves to protect her.

In the second act Undine confesses to her husband, that she is a
water-fairy, one of those, whom men call "Undinas".  They have no soul,
but if they are loved faithfully by man, they are able to gain a soul
and through it immortality.  Though he shudders inwardly, Undine's
purity and loveliness conquer Hugo's fright, and he once more swears to
be eternally true to her.

The proud Berthalda, who loves Hugo, has heard with feelings of mingled
anger and despair of the knight's marriage.  She determines to honor
{337} the King of Naples with her hand; but before her wedding takes
place, a sealed document has to be opened, which says that Berthalda,
instead of being a Duke's daughter, is a poor foundling.  Kuehleborn,
who is present, declares that she is the real child of Undine's
fosterparents.  Berthalda is now obliged to leave the palace.  She
loathes her fate and curses her low-born parents.  Then Kuehleborn
derides her and the attendants are about to seize him, in order to turn
him out-of-doors, when the statue of the water-god breaks into
fragments, while Kuehleborn stands in its place, the waters pouring down
upon him.  All take flight, but Undine raises the prostrate Berthalda,
promising her protection in her husband's castle.

In the third act Berthalda succeeds in again drawing Hugo into her
nets.  Though warned by the waterfairies not to perjure himself, he
neglects their advice and Undine finds him in the arms of her rival.
He repels his wife, and Kuehleborn takes her back into his watery
kingdom.  But Undine has lost her peace of mind for ever, she cannot
forget her husband.

In the fourth act Hugo has given orders to close the well with stones,
to prevent all possible communication with the waterfairies.  Undine's
pale face pursues him everywhere, he continually fancies to hear her
soft voice and touching entreaties and to stifle his remorse he
appoints the day of his wedding with Berthalda.

His attendant Veit, however, unable to forget {338} his sweet mistress,
removes the stones, which cover the well.  Undine rises from it and
appears at midnight at the wedding.  Hugo, forgetting Berthalda, and
drawn towards his lovely wife against his will, falls into her arms and
dies at her feet.  The castle comes crashing down, floods penetrate
everywhere, and carry Hugo and Undine into Kuehleborn's crystal palace.

Undine obtains pardon for Hugo, and his only punishment is that he must
forever stay with his wife in her fairy domains.



URVASI.

Opera in three acts by WILHELM KIENZL.

Text after the Indian legend of KALIDASA.


This opera is so brilliantly supplemented by decorations and poetic
enchantment of every kind, that it would be worth while to see those
triumphs of modern machinery alone.  But not only on account of
external effect is Urvasi admired, the music is in itself well worth
hearing, though it contains many reminiscences of other well-known
composers.  It is pleasing and graceful, and the orchestration is so
brilliant, that it may even deceive the hearer as to the poverty of
invention.

The subject, arranged by Kienzl himself, is highly romantic.

The Apsares, (virgins of heaven), who are sometimes allowed to visit
earth and its inhabitants, have just made use of this permission.

{339}

Urvasi, their Princess, isolates herself from their dances and is with
two sisters caught by the wild Prince of the Asures, their enemy.  They
cry for help, when the King of Persia, hunting in those grounds,
appears with his suite and saves Urvasi.

They fall in love with each other, though Brahma has prophesied to the
King, that he will die poor and unknown, if he does not wed the last
Princess of the Persian kingdom, Ausinari, to whom he is already
betrothed.

Urvasi tells him, that not being a daughter of earth, she can only be
allowed to see him from time to time.  The King swears eternal faith to
her; and she in return promises to be his in heaven.  But should he
prove false, nothing can save them both from fearful punishment.

Then she bids him farewell, promising to send a rose every time she is
allowed to descend from heaven.

In the second act Ausinari, walking in the moonshine, mourns for the
King's love which she has lost.  Mandava, priest of the moon, consoles
her, designing [Transcriber's note: designating?] the present night,
that of the full-moon, as the one, in which the King's heart shall
again turn to her.

After his departure Ausinari first prays to the good and mild god of
the moon, but afterwards invokes Ahriman, the Spirit of Night, lest the
moon-god should prove too weak.  When she has left the park, the King
walks in dreamily.  His whole soul is filled by Urvasi; he fervently
calls for her, {340} and a rose, her love-token, falls at his feet.
But he waits in vain for her, she does not come and as the priests of
the moon appear, to celebrate the festival of their god, he retires
disappointed into a bower.

Now follows a sort of ballet.  All the maidens and their lovers, who
desire to be united, sacrifice to the god; the young men throw a
blooming rose into the flame, the girls a palm-branch.

Ausinari appears and is greeted, with joyous acclamations, while Manava
enters the bower to conduct the King to the sacrifice.  He vainly
strives against Ausinari and the priests, who urgently demand the
sacrifice of the red rose, which he still carries in his hand.  After a
long resistance he abandons himself to despair and throws the rose into
the blaze, thinking himself forsaken by Urvasi.  But hardly has he done
so, than Urvasi's form rises from the flame, solemnly reminding him of
the oath which he has broken.  She has only been testing his firmness
and finding him weak, she is obliged to disappear forever as Urvasi and
to live in another form, while only deepest contrition and ardent love
can ever help him to find her again.  Urvasi vanishes, and the King
leaves Ausinari, his throne, and his land, to seek as a poor pilgrim
for his beloved.

In the last act we find Urvasi's friend, the Apsare Tschitralekha,
watering a rose-bush, into which her Princess has been transformed.

The King enters in the garb of an Indian {341} penitent.  His strength
is nearly exhausted, he has sought his bride all over the earth, and he
now demands her from the spirit of the rock and from that of the
cataract, but all tell him, that she is only to find where glowing life
grows.  Tired to death, he draws his sword to end his life, when
Tschitralekha laying her hand on his arm, points out the rose-bush.
The King kisses it, and falling on his knee beside the virgin who joins
in his devotions, fervently prays to Indra, that at last his love may
be given to him again.  Slowly Urvasi rises from the rose-bush.  A long
and exalted love-duet follows, then the Indian heaven opens and the
King dies at Urvasi's feet, struck by a ray from the celestial sun.



THE VAMPIRE.

Romantic Opera in two acts by HEINRICH MARSCHNER.

Text by W. A. WOHLBRUeCK.


This opera had long fallen into oblivion, when Hofrath Schuch of
Dresden was struck with the happy idea of resuscitating it.  And indeed
its music well deserves to be heard.  It is both beautiful and
characteristic and particularly the drinking-scenes in the second act,
the soft and graceful airs sung by Emma and Edgar Aubry belong to the
best of Marschner's work.  He is, it is true, not quite original and
often reminds one of Weber, but that cannot well be called a fault,
almost every genius having greater prototype.  This opera was so long
neglected on account of its libretto, the {342} subject of which is not
only unusual, but far too romantic and ghastly for modern taste.  It is
taken from Lord Byron's tale of the same name and written by
Marschner's own brother-in-law.  The scene is laid in Scotland in the
seventeenth century and illustrates the old Scottish legend of the
Vampire, a phantom-monster which can only exist by sucking the
heart-blood of sleeping mortals.

Lord Ruthven is such a Vampire.  He victimizes young maidens in
particular.  His soul is sold to Satan, but the demons have granted him
a respite of a year, on condition of his bringing them three brides
young and pure.  His first victim is Janthe, daughter of Sir John
Berkley.  She loves the monster and together they disappear into a
cavern.  Her father assembles followers and goes in search of her.
They hear dreadful waitings, followed by mocking laughter proceeding
from the ill-fated Vampire, and entering they find Janthe lifeless.
The despairing father stabs Ruthven, who wounded to death knows that he
cannot survive but by drawing life from the rays of the moon, which
shines on the mountains.  Unable to move, he is saved by Edgar Aubry, a
relative to the Laird of Davenant, who accidentally comes to the spot.

Lord Ruthven, after having received a promise of secrecy from Aubry,
tells him who he is and implores him to carry him to the hills as the
last favor to a dying man.

Aubry complies with the Vampire's request and then hastily flies from
the spot.  Ruthven {343} revives and follows him, in order to win the
love of Malwina, daughter of the Laird of Davenant and Aubry's
betrothed.

His respite now waxing short, he tries at the same time to gain the
affections of John Perth's the steward's daughter Emma.

Malwina meanwhile greets her beloved Aubry, who has returned after a
long absence.  Both are full of joy, when Malwina's father enters to
announce to his daughter her future husband, whom he has chosen in the
person of the Earl of Marsden.  Great is Malwina's sorrow, and she now
for the first time dares to tell her father, that her heart has already
spoken and to present Aubry to him.  The Laird's pride however does not
allow him to retract his word, and when the Earl of Marsden arrives, he
presents him to his daughter.  In the supposed Earl, Aubry at once
recognizes Lord Ruthven, but the villain stoutly denies his identity,
giving Lord Ruthven out as a brother, who has been travelling for a
long time.  Aubry however recognizes the Vampire by a scar on his hand,
but he is bound to secrecy by his oath, and so Ruthven triumphs, having
the Laird of Davenant's promise that he will be betrothed before
midnight to Malwina, as he declares that he is bound to depart for
Madrid the following morning as Ambassador.

In the second act all are drinking and frolicking on the green, where
the bridal is to take place.

{344}

Emma awaits her lover George Dibdin, who is in Davenant's service.
While she sings the ghastly romance of the Vampire, Lord Ruthven
approaches, and by his sweet flattery and promise to help the lovers,
he easily causes the simple maiden to grant him a kiss in token of her
gratitude.  In giving this kiss she is forfeited to the Evil One.
George, who has seen all, is very jealous, though Emma tells him that
the future son-in-law of the Laird of Davenant will make him his
steward.

Meanwhile Aubry vainly tries to make Ruthven renounce Malwina.  Ruthven
threatens that Aubry himself will be condemned to be a Vampire, if he
breaks his oath, and depicts in glowing colors the torments of a spirit
so cursed.  While Aubry hesitates as to what he shall do, Ruthven once
more approaches Emma and succeeds in winning her consent to follow him
to his den, where he murders her.

In the last scene Malwina, unable any longer to resist her father's
will, has consented to the hateful marriage.  Ruthven has kept away
rather long and comes very late to his wedding.  Aubry implores them to
wait for the coming day, but in vain.  Then he forgets his own danger
and only sees that of his beloved, and when Ruthven is leading the
bride to the altar, he loudly proclaims Ruthven to be a Vampire.  At
this moment a thunder-peal is heard and a flash of lightning destroys
Ruthven, whose time of respite has ended at midnight.  The old Laird,
witnessing Heaven's {345} punishment, repents his error and gladly
gives Malwina to her lover, while all praise the Almighty, who has
turned evil into good.



THE WALKYRIE.

First day of the Nibelungen Ring by WAGNER.


In the first scene we are introduced into the dwelling of a mighty
warrior, Hunding, in whose house Siegmund, a son of Wotan and of a
mortal woman, has sought refuge, without knowing that it is the abode
of an enemy.  Sieglinda, Hunding's wife, who, standing alone and
abandoned in the world, was forced into this union against her will,
attracts the guest's interest and wins his love.

When Hunding comes home from the fight, he learns to his disgust, that
his guest is the same warrior, who killed his kinsmen and whom they
vainly pursued.  The laws of hospitality forbid him to attack Siegmund
under his own roof, but he warns him that he shall only await the
morrow to fight him.

Sieglinda, having fallen in love with her guest mixes a powder with her
husband's potion, which sends him into profound sleep.  Then she
returns to Siegmund, to whom she shows the hilt of the sword, thrust
deep into the mighty ash-tree's stem, which fills the middle space of
the hut.  It has been put there by an unknown one-eyed wanderer,
(Wotan, who once sacrificed one of his eyes to Erda, wishing to gain
more knowledge for the sake of mankind).  No hero has succeeded {346}
until now in loosening the wondrous steel.  Siegmund reveals to
Sieglinda, that he is a son of the "Waelsung" and they recognize that
they are twin brother and sister.  Then Sieglinda knows that the sword
is destined for Siegmund by his father, and Siegmund, with one mighty
effort draws it out of the ash-tree.  Sieglinda elopes with him and the
early morning finds them in a rocky pass, evading Hunding's wrath.

In the second scene we see Wotan, giving directions to the Walkyrie
Bruennhilde, who is to shield Siegmund in his battle with Hunding.
Bruennhilde is Wotan's and Erda's child and her father's favorite.  But
Fricka comes up, remonstrating violently against this breach of all
moral and matrimonial laws; she is the protector of marriages and most
jealous of her somewhat fickle husband, and she forces Wotan to
withdraw his protection from Siegmund and to remove the power of
Siegmund's sword.

Wotan recalls Bruennhilde, changing his orders with heavy heart and
sending her forth to tell Siegmund his doom.  She obeys, but Siegmund
scorns all her fine promises of Walhalla.  Though he is to find his
father there, and everything besides that he could wish, he prefers
foregoing all this happiness, when he hears that Sieglinda, who has
been rendered inanimate by grief and terror, cannot follow him, but
must go down to "Hel" after her death, where the shadows lead a sad and
gloomy existence.--He wins Bruennhilde by his {347} love and noble
courage, and she for the first time resolves to disobey Wotan's orders
given so unwillingly, and to help Siegmund against his foe.

Now ensues the combat with Hunding, Bruennhilde standing on Siegmund's
side.  But Wotan interferes, breaking Siegmund's sword; he falls, and
Wotan kills Hunding too by one wrathful glance.

Then he turns his anger against the Walkyrie, who dared to disobey his
commands and Bruennhilde flies before him, taking Sieglinda on her swift
horse Grane, which bears both through the clouds.

In the third scene we find the Walkyries, arriving through the clouds
on horseback one after the other.  Every-one has a hero lying before
her in the saddle.  It is their office to carry these into Walhalla,
while the faint-hearted, or those of mankind, not happy enough to fall
in battle, are doomed to go to "Hel" after their death.

There are eight Walkyries without Bruennhilde, who comes last with
Sieglinda in her saddle, instead of a hero.  She implores her sisters
to assist her and the unhappy woman.  But they refuse, fearing Wotan's
wrath.  Then she resolves to save Sieglinda and to brave the results of
her rash deed alone.  She first summons back to the despairing woman
courage and desire to live, by telling her, that she bears the token of
Siegmund's love; then sends her eastward to the great forest with
Grane, where Fafner the giant, changed into a dragon, guards the
Rhinegold and the ill-fated ring, a spot which Wotan avoids.

{348}

She gives to Sieglinda the broken pieces of Siegmund's sword, telling
her to keep them for her son, whom she is to call Siegfried and who
will be the greatest hero in the world.

Wotan arrives in thunder and lightning.  Great is his wrath, and in
spite of the intercession of the other Walkyries, he deprives
Bruennhilde of her immortality changing her into a common mortal.  He
dooms her to a long magic sleep, out of which any man, who happens to
pass that way may awaken her and claim her as his property.

Bruennhilde's entreaties, her beauty and noble bearing at last prevail
upon him, so that he encircles her with a fiery wall, through which
none but a hero may penetrate.

After a touching farewell the God, leading her to a rocky bed, closes
her eyes with a kiss, and covers her with shield, spear and helmet.
Then he calls up Loge, who at once surrounds the rock on which
Bruennhilde sleeps, with glowing flames.



ZAMPA.

Opera in three acts by HEROLD.

Text by MELLESVILLE.


This opera has met with great success both in France and elsewhere; it
is a favorite of the public, though not free from imitating other
musicians, particularly Auber and Rossini.  The style of the text is
somewhat bombastic, and only calculated for effect.  Notwithstanding
these defects {349} the opera pleases; it has a brilliant introduction,
as well as nice chorus-pieces and cavatinas.

In the first act Camilla, daughter of Count Lugano expects her
bridegroom Alfonso di Monza, a Sicilian officer, for the wedding
ceremony.  Dandolo, her servant, who was to fetch the priest, comes
back in a fright and with him the notorious Pirate-captain, Zampa, who
has taken her father and her bridegroom captive.  He tells Camilla who
he is, and forces her to renounce Alfonso and consent to a marriage
with himself, threatening to kill the prisoners, if she refuses
compliance.--Then the pirates hold a drinking-bout in the Count's
house, and Zampa goes so far in his insolence, as to put his
bridal-ring on the finger of a marble statue, standing in the room.  It
represents Alice, formerly Zampa's bride; whose heart was broken by her
lover's faithlessness; then the fingers of the statue close over the
ring, while the left hand is upraised threateningly.  Nevertheless
Zampa is resolved to wed Camilla, though Alice appears once more, and
even Alfonso, who interferes by revealing Zampa's real name and by
imploring his bride to return to him, cannot change the brigand's
plans.  Zampa and his comrades have received the Viceroy's pardon,
purposing to fight against the Turks, and so Camilla dares not provoke
the pirate's wrath by retracting her promise.  Vainly she implores
Zampa to give her father his freedom and to let her enter a convent.
Zampa, hoping that she only fears the pirate in him tells her, that he
is Count of Monza, {350} and Alfonso, who had already drawn his sword,
throws it away, terrified to recognize in the dreaded pirate his own
brother, who has by his extravagances once already impoverished him.

Zampa sends Alfonso to prison and orders the statue to be thrown into
the sea.  Camilla once more begs for mercy, but seeing that it is
likely to avail her nothing, she flies to the Madonna's altar, charging
him loudly with Alice's death.  With scorn and laughter he seizes
Camilla, to tear her from the altar, but instead of the living hand of
Camilla, he feels the icy hand of Alice, who draws him with her into
the waves.

Camilla is saved and united to Alfonso, while her delivered father
arrives in a boat, and the statue rises again from the waves, to bless
the union.



THE APOTHECARY.

(LO SPEZIALE.)

Comic Opera by JOSEF HAYDN (1768).


After a sleep of 125 years in the dust of Prince Esterhazy's archives
at Eisenstadt, Dr. Hirschfeld received permission from Prince Paul
Esterhazy of Galantha to copy the original manuscript.

It is Dr. Hirschfeld's merit to have revived and rearranged this
charming specimen of the old master's genius.  And again it was Ernst
Schuch, the highly gifted director of the Dresden opera who had it
represented on this stage in 1895, and st the same time introduced it
to the Viennese {351} admirers of old Haydn, by some of the best
members of his company.

The music is truly Haydn'ish, simple, naive, fresh and clear as
crystal, and it forms an oasis of repose and pure enjoyment to modern
ears, accustomed to and tired of the astonishing oddities of modern
orchestration.

The plot is simple but amusing.  A young man, Mengino, has entered the
service of the apothecary Sempronio, though he does not possess the
slightest knowledge of chemistry.  His love for Sempronio's ward
Grilletta has induced him to take this step and in the first scene we
see him mixing drugs, and making melancholy reflections on his lot,
which has led him to a master, who buries himself in his newspapers
instead of attending to his business, and letting his apprentices go on
as best they may.

Sempronio entering relates that the plague is raging in Russia; and
another piece of news, that an old cousin of his has married his young
ward, is far more interesting to him than all his drugs and pills, as
he intends to act likewise with Grilletta.  This young lady has no
fewer than three suitors, one of whom, a rich young coxcomb enters to
order a drug.  His real intention is to see Grilletta.  He is not slow
to see, that Mengino loves her too, so he sends him into the drug
kitchen, in order to have Grilletta all to himself.  But the pert young
beauty only mocks him, and at Mengino's return Volpino is obliged to
retire.

{352}

Alone with Mengino, Grilletta encourages her timid lover, whom she
likes very much, but just when he is about to take her hand Sempronio
returns, furious to see them in such intimacy.  He sends Mengino to his
drugs and the young girl to her account books, while he buries himself
once more in the study of his newspapers.  Missing a map he is obliged
to leave the room.  The young people improve the occasion by making
love, and when Sempronio, having lost his spectacles, goes to fetch
them, Mengino grows bolder and kisses Grilletta.  Alas, the old man
returns at the supreme moment, and full of rage, sends each to his room.

Mengino's effrontery ripens the resolution in the guardian's breast to
marry Grilletta at once, he is however detained by Volpino, who comes
to bribe him by an offer from the Sultan to go into Turkey as
apothecary at court, war having broken out in that country.  The wily
young man insinuates, that Sempronio will soon grow stone-rich, and
offers to give him 10,000 ducats at once, if he will give him Grilletta
for his wife.  Sempronio is quite willing to accept the Sultan's
proposal, but not to cede Grilletta.  So he sends Mengino away, to
fetch a notary, who is to marry him to his ward without delay.  The
maiden is quite sad, and vainly tortures her brain, how to rouse her
timid lover into action.  Sempronio, hearing her sing so sadly,
suggests that she wants a husband and offers her his own worthy person.
Grilletta accepts him, hoping to awaken Mengino's jealousy and to rouse
him to action.  {353} The notary comes, in whom Grilletta at once
recognizes Volpino in disguise.  He has hardly sat down, when a second
notary enters, saying that he has been sent by Mengino and claiming his
due.  The latter is Mengino himself, and Sempronio, not recognizing the
two, bids them sit down.  He dictates the marriage contract, in which
Grilletta is said to marry Sempronio by her own free will besides
making over her whole fortune to him.  This scene, in which the two
false notaries distort every word of old Sempronio's, and put each his
own name instead of the guardian's, is overwhelmingly comical.  When
the contract is written, Sempronio takes one copy, Grilletta the other
and the whole fraud is discovered.--Volpino vanishes, but Mengone
promises Grilletta to do his best in order to win her.

In the last scene Sempronio receives a letter from Volpino, telling
him, that the Pasha is to come with a suite of Turks to buy all his
medicines at a high price, and to appoint him solemnly as the Sultan's
apothecary.  Volpino indeed arrives, with his attendants, all disguised
as Turks, but he is again recognized by Grilletta.  He offers his gold,
and seizes Grilletta's hand, to carry her off, but Sempronio
interferes.  Then the Turks begin to destroy all the pots and glasses
and costly medicines, and when Sempronio resents this, the false Pasha
draws his dagger, but Mengino interferes and at last induces the
frightened old man, to promise Grilletta to him, if he succeeds in
{354} saving him from the Turks.  No sooner is the promise written and
signed, than Grilletta tears off the Pasha's false beard and reveals
Volpino, who retires baffled, while the false Turks drink the young
couple's health at the cost of the two defeated suitors.



DJAMILEH.

A romantic Opera in one act by GEORGES BIZET.

Text by LOUIS GALLET.

German Translation by LUDWIG HARTMANN.


Djamileh was composed before Carmen, and was given in Paris in 1872.
But after the years of war and bloodshed, its sweetness was out of
place, and so it was forgotten, until it was revived again in Germany.
Though the text is meagre, the opera had great success on the stages of
Berlin, Leipsic, Vienna and Dresden, and so its Publisher, Paul
Choudens in Paris was right, when he remarked years ago to a German
critic: "l'Allemagne un jour comprendra les beautes de Djamileh."

There is no more exquisite music, than the romance of the boatsmen on
the Nile, sung with closed lips at the opening of the first scene, and
the ravishing dance of the Almee, an invention of Arabic origine is so
original, so wild and melancholy and yet so sweet, that it enchants
every musical ear.  The plot is very simple and meagre.

{355}

Harun, a rich young Turk has enjoyed life to its very dregs.  He gives
dinners, plays at dice, he keeps women, but his heart remains cold and
empty, he disbelieves in love, and only cares for absolute freedom in
all his actions, but withal his life seems shallow and devoid of
interest.  Every month he engages a new female slave, with whom he
idles away his days, but at the end of this time she is discarded.  His
antipathy for love partly arises from the knowledge of his father's
unhappy married life.

At the opening of the scene Harun lies on a couch smoking, too lazy to
move a finger and lulled into dreams by the boatsmen's songs.  At last
he rouses himself from his lethargy, and tells his secretary and former
tutor Splendiano of his visions.  The latter is looking over his
master's accounts, and now tells him dryly, that, if he continues his
style of living, he will be ruined before the end of the year.  This
scarcely moves the young man, to whom a year seems a long way off; he
also takes it cooly, when Splendiano remarks, that the latest
favorite's month is up, and that Djamileh is to leave towards evening,
to make room to another beauty.  Harun carelessly charges his servant
to look out for another slave.  When Splendiano sees, that Djamileh's
unusual beauty has failed to impress his master, he owns to a tender
feeling for her himself, and asks for permission to win the girl.
Harun readily grants this request; but when he sees Djamileh enter with
sad and dejected looks, he {356} tenderly inquires, what ails her.  She
sings him a strange and melancholy "Ghasel" about a girl's love for a
hero, and he easily guesses her secret.  In order to console her, he
presents her with a beautiful necklace, and grants her her freedom, at
which she brightens visibly, but refuses it.  Harun however has no idea
of losing either heart or liberty, and when some friends visit him, he
turns from her, to join them in a game, leaving her unveiled, and
exposed to their insolent stares and admiration.  Djamileh, covered
with confusion, begins to weep, at which Splendiano interposes, trying
to console her by the offer of his hand.  Scornfully repulsed by her,
he reveals to her the cruel play of his master, and her approaching
dismissal, and drives her almost to despair.  But she resolves to show
her love to her master before she leaves him, and for this purpose
entreats Splendiano to let her disguise herself and personate the new
slave; promising to be his, if her plans should fail, but vowing to
herself, to choose death rather than leave her beloved master.  The
evening approaches, and with it the slave-dealer with a whole bevey of
beautiful young girls.  Harun turns from them indifferently, ordering
Splendiano to choose for him, but the slave-dealer insists upon showing
up the pearl of his flock, a young Almee, who dances the most weird and
passionate figures until she sinks back exhausted.  She is selected,
but Splendiano gives 200 zechines to the dealer, who consents to let
her change clothes with Djamileh.  When the latter {357} reenters
Harun's room veiled, he is astonished to find her so shy and sad.  In
vain he tries to caress her, she escapes him, but suddenly unveiling
herself, he recognizes her.  With wild and passionate entreaty she begs
him to let her be a slave again, as she prefers his presence to freedom
and fortune.  At first he hesitates, but true love conquers, and he
takes her in his arms.  He has found his heart at last, and owns that
love is stronger and better than any other charm.



DONNA DIANA.

Comic Opera in three acts by E. VON REZNICEK.

Text after a free translation of MORETO'S comedy of the same name.


Many are the authors, who have dramatized this old, but ever young and
fresh comedy, but yet none have so nearly reached the ideal, as this
young composer.  His manner of interweaving Spanish national airs is
particularly successful, because they tinge the piece with peculiar
local colouring.

The Spanish melodies are chosen with exquisite elegance and skill.

Reznicek's manner of composing is thoroughly modern; he has learnt much
from Wagner and Liszt and not least from Verdi's "Falstaff";
nevertheless he is always original, fresh and so {358} amusing, so
sparkling with wit and genius, that I am tempted to call Donna Diana
the modern comic opera par excellence.  Sometimes the orchestra is
almost too rich for Moreto's playful subject, but this is also quite
modern, and besides it offers coloristic surprises very rare in comic
operas.

In the first act the waltz is particularly charming; in the second the
ballet music and Floretta's song (im Volkston) are so beautiful that
once heard they can never be forgotten.  The bolero-rythme and the 3/8
measure are typical of the Spanish style, which flows through almost
all the songs and recitations giving sparkling piquancy to the opera.
In the last act, where love conquers intrigue and gaiety the music
reaches its culminating point.

The scene is laid in Don Diego's palace at Barcelona at the time of
Catalonia's independence, Don Cesar, Prince of Urgel is resting in
Diego's Hall after having won the first prize in a tournament.  He
muses sadly on Donna Diana's coldness, which all his victories fail to
overcome.  Perrin the clown takes pity on him, and after having won his
confidence, gives him the advice to return coldness for coldness.  Don
Cesar promises to try this cure, though it seems hard to hide his deep
love.--Floretta, Donna Diana's foster-sister enters to announce the
issue of the tournament.  She fain would flirt with Perrin to whom she
is sincerely attached, but he turns a cold shoulder to her and lets her
depart in a rage, though he is over head and ears in love with the
pretty damsel.--The next scene {359} opens on a brilliant crowd, all
welcoming Count Sovereign of Barcelona and his daughter Donna Diana.
The Count accosts them graciously, and making sign to the three gallant
Princes, Don Cesar of Urgel, Don Louis of Bearne and Gaston Count de
Foie, they advance to receive their laurels on bended knee from the
fair hands of the Princess, who crowns Cesar with a golden wreath,
while the two other princes each win a silver price.--When the ceremony
is ended, Don Diego turns to his daughter, beseeching her to give an
heir to the country by selecting a husband, but Diana declares, that
though she is willing to bend to her father's will, love seems poison
to her, and marriage death.  Gaston and Louis, nothing daunted,
determine to try their luck even against the fair lady's will, and
while the father prays to God, to soften his daughter's heart, Cesar's
courage sinks ever lower, though Perrin encourages him to begin the
farce at once.  Donna Diana alone is cool and calm, inwardly resolved
to keep her hand and heart free, she is deeply envied by her two
cousins Fenisa and Laura, who would gladly choose one of the gallant
warriors.--Perrin now advises the Princes to try their wit and
gallantry on the Princess, and Don Diego, consenting to his daughter's
wish, that she need only suffer their courtship for a short time, she
cooly accepts this proposal.  Gaston begins to plead his cause,
declaring, that he will not leave Barcelona without a bride and Louis
follows his example; both are greatly admired and applauded by the
{360} assistants, only Diana finds their compliments ridiculous and
their wit shallow.  Cesar without a word retires to the background, and
when asked by the Princess, why he does not compete with his rivals,
answers "Because I will not love, nor ever wish to be loved; I only woo
you, to show you my regard."  Greatly mortified Diana resolves to
punish such pride, by subjugating him to her charms.

In the second act a fancy ball is going on in the Prince's gardens.
Each of the ladies has a bunch of different coloured ribbons, and
decides to get the man she loves for her own.  Diana now explains, that
each knight is to choose a colour, which entitles him to own the lady
who wears the same colours as long as the masquerade lasts.  Don Louis
choosing green gets Donna Laura, Don Gaston wearing red is chosen by
Fenisa; Perrin loudly asserting that, abhorring love he chooses the
obscure colour black, wins Floretta, and Don Cesar choosing white,
finds himself Donna Diana's champion.  She takes his arm, and soon her
beauty so inflames him, that forgetting good advice and prudence he
thrown himself at her feet, confessing his love.  Triumphant, but
mockingly she turns from him, and thereby suddenly recalls his pride.
In a bantering tone he asks her, if she really believed, that his love
making, to which duty compelled him for the evening, was true?  Hot
with wrath and shame at being so easily duped she bids him leave her,
and when alone resolves to have her revenge.  She calls Perrin {361} to
fetch her cousins, and charges him to let Cesar know, that he can hear
her sing in the gardens.  Then she is adorned with the most bewitching
garments and surrounded by her attendants begins to play and sing most
sweetly as soon as she hears Don Cesar's steps.--The latter would have
succumbed to the temptation, if he had not been warned by Perrin, not
to listen to the siren.  So they philander in the grounds, admiring the
plants, and to all appearance deaf to beauty and song.  Impatiently
Diana signs Floretta, to let Cesar know, that he is in the presence of
his Princess, at which our hero like one awaking from a dream turns,
and bowing to the Princess and excusing himself gravely, disappears,
leaving Diana almost despairing.

In the third act Perrin gives vent to his happy feelings about his love
for Floretta, and about the Princess, whose state of mind he guesses.
He is delighted to see his scheme successful, and sings a merry air,
which is heard by Diana.  Behind the scene Don Louis is heard, bringing
a serenade to Donna Laura, with whom he has fallen in love, and on the
other side Don Gaston sings Fenisa's praise, so that poor Diana sinking
back on a sopha is all at once surrounded by loving couples, who
shamelessly carry on their courting before her very eyes, and then
retire casting mischievous glances at their disgusted mistress.  Diana
who sees Cesar approaching, determines to try a last expedient, in
order to humble his pride.  Cooly she explains to him, that she has
resolved to yield to her father's {362} wish, and to bestow her hand on
Prince Louis.  For a moment Cesar stands petrified, but his guardian
angel in the guise of Perrin whispers from behind the screen, to hold
out, and not to believe in women's wiles.  So he controls himself once
more, and congratulates her, wishing the same courtesy from the
Princess, because, as he calmly adds, he has got betrothed to Donna
Laura.

That is the last stroke for Diana, her pride is humbled to the dust.
All her reserve vanishes, when her secret love for the hero, which she
has not even owned to herself, is in danger.  She altogether breaks
down, and so she is found by her father, who enters, loudly
acknowledging Don Louis as his son-in-law, and sanctioning Don Cesar's
choice of Donna Laura.  But Cesar begs to receive his bride from
Diana's own hands, at which the latter rising slowly, asks her father,
if he is still willing to leave to her alone the selection of a
husband.  Don Diego granting this, she answers: "Then I choose him who
conquered pride through pride."  "And who may this happy mortal be?"
says Cesar.  "You ask?  It's you my tyrant," she replies, and with
these words sinks into her lover's open arms.



{363}

THE SOLD BRIDE.

Comic Opera in three acts by FR. SMETANA.

Libretto by K. SABINA.

German text by MAX KALBECK.


Poor Smetana!  Nature had put on his brow the stamp of genius, but he
never lived to see his glory.  After grief and sorrow and direst need
he died in a madhouse, and now posterity heaps laurels on his grave.
The Sold Bride has been represented in Prague over 300 times, and it
begins to take possession of every noted stage in Europe.

The subject forms a simple village-idyll, without any strong contrasts,
its ethical motive lies in its representation of quaint old customs and
in the deep-rooted patriotic love; but the whole opera is literally
steeped in euphony.

The overture has its equal only in Figaro, and a perfect stream of
national airs flows through the whole.

The first chorus "See the buds open on the bush" is most original, the
national dance in the second act is full of fire and the rope dancers'
march is truly Slavonic in its quaintness.

The scene is laid in a village in Bohemia.  It is Spring-Kirmess, and
everybody is gay.  Only Mary, the daughter of the rich peasant
Kruschina carries a heavy heart within her, for the day has come, on
which the unknown bridegroom, chosen by her parents will claim her
hand.  She loves Hans, known to her as a poor servant, who has come to
her village lately, and who is in reality her bridegroom's {364} half
brother.  He consoles her, beseeching her to cheer up and be faithful
to him, and then tells her, that he comes of wealthy people.  Having
lost his mother early, his father wedded a second wife, who estranged
his heart from the poor boy so, that he had to gain his daily bread
abroad.  She deeply sympathizes with him, without guessing his real
name.

Meanwhile Mary's parents approach with the matchmaker Kezul, a
personage common in Bohemia, who has already won Kruschina's consent to
his daughter's marriage with Wenzel, son of the rich farmer Micha by a
second marriage.  Mary's mother insisting that her child's will is to
be consulted before all, the father consents to let her see the
bridegroom, before she decides.  Kezul, though angry at this unlooked
for obstacle, excuses the bridegroom's absence volubly, and sings his
praise loudly, at the same time touching upon the elder son's absence,
and hinting, that he may probably be dead.  When Mary steps in, Kezul
wooes her in due form, but is at once repulsed by her.  The young girl
owns to having given her heart to the humble servant Hans, in whom
nobody has yet recognized Micha's son.  Father Kruschina angrily
asserts his promise to Kezul, cursing Wenzel's timidity, which hindered
him, from making his proposal in person.  Kezul however resolves to
talk Hans over to reason.

We find him in the second act, singing and highly praising the god of
love.  Afterwards the {364} would-be bridegroom Wenzel finds himself
face to face with Mary, whom he does not know.  When he tells her of
his purpose, timidly and stammeringly, she asks him, if he is not
ashamed to woo a girl, who loves another man, and who does not love him
in the least.  She at last so frightens the lad, that he promises to
look out for another bride, if his mother permits it.  Mary flirts with
him, until he swears never to claim Kruschina's daughter.--Meanwhile
Kezul does his best to convert Hans.  He promises to provide for him
another bride, much richer than Mary, but Hans refuses.  He offers him
money, first one, than two, than three hundred florins.  Hans looking
incredulous, asks "For whom are you wooing my bride?"  "For Micha's
son," the matchmaker replies.  "Well," says Hans, "if you promise me,
that Micha's son shall have her and no other, I will sign the contract,
and I further stipulate, that Micha's father shall have no right to
reclaim the money later; he is the one to bear the whole costs of the
bargain."  Kezul gladly consents and departs to fetch the witnesses,
before whom Hans once more renounces his bride in favour of Micha's
son.  He cooly takes the money, at which they turn from him in disgust,
and signs his name Hans Ehrentraut at the foot of the document.

The third act opens with a performance by tight-rope dancers.  Wenzel,
who has been quite despondent about his promised bride, is enraptured
by their skill.  He especially admires the Spanish {366} dancer
Esmeralda, who bewitches him so entirely, that he wooes her.  The
director of the band being in want of a dancing-bear, is not loth to
take advantage of the lad's foolishness.  He engages him as a dancer,
and easily overcomes Wenzel's scruples by promising him Esmeralda's
hand.  Just when they are putting him in bear's skin his parents appear
on the scene with the marriage contract.  To their great dismay he
refuses to sign it and when pressed, runs away.--Meanwhile Mary has
heard of her lover's fickleness, which she would fain disbelieve, but
alas Kezul shows her the document by which Hans renounces her.
Nevertheless she refuses to wed any other man than the one her heart
has chosen.  Wenzel approaching again and recognizing in Mary the bride
he had renounced, is now quite sorry to give her up, and very willing
to take her if she will only yield.  Mary, praying to be left alone for
a little while, abandons herself to her grief and is thus found by
Hans, whom she bitterly reproaches for his faithlessness.  But he only
smiles, and recalls the whole chorus, cooly saying that it is his wish
that Mary should wed Micha's son.  That is too much for poor Mary's
feelings.  She declares that she is ready to do as they wish, but
before she signs the contract, Hans steps forth in full view of his
parents, who at last recognize in him their long lost eldest son.
Though his stepmother Agnes is in a rage about his trick, he claims his
rights as son and heir, and the bride of course is not loth to choose
{367} between the two brothers.  Kezul the matchmaker retires
shamefaced, and when Wenzel shows himself in the last scene as a
dancing-bear, and stammeringly assures the laughing public, that they
need not be afraid of him, as he is "not a bear but only Wenzel", the
final blow is dealt whereby he loses all favour in the eyes of
Kruschina, who is now quite reconciled to give his daughter to Micha's
elder son.



{368}

BALLO IN MASCHERA.

A Lyric Drama in five acts by VERDI.

Text by F. M. PIAVE.


Auber's success with the opera of the same name inspired Verdi to try
his hand at it too.  He ordered his friend Piave to write the libretto
for him and in 1854 the opera was handed to the San Carlo theatre in
Naples, but was refused on the ground, that the murder of a king must
not be represented on the stage.  Then Verdi laid the scene in Boston,
and in this shape the opera was performed in Rome on Feb. 17th, 1859
and met with great success.

From this time it conquered the stages of Europe, all but one, Auber's
widow having stipulated that no opera rival to that of her husband's
was to be given in Paris.  The Ballo in Maschera has been revived in
Dresden in October 1897, after having lain buried for over 15 years;
its success showed, that it is still full of vitality.  The music is
exceedingly fresh and characteristic; indeed it surpasses both
Trovatore and Rigoletto in beauty and originality.  Verdi has scarcely
ever written anything finer than the Ensemble at the end of the second
act, and the delightful quartette "Is it a jest or madness, that comes
now from her lips."

The libretto may be explained shortly, as it is almost identical with
Auber's "Masked Ball".

Count Richard, governor of Boston is adored by the people but hated by
the noblemen, who resolve upon his death.  He loves Amelia, the {369}
wife of his secretary and best friend Rene, who in vain tries to warn
him of the plots of his enemies, but who faithfully watches over his
safety.

An old sorceress of negro blood Ulrica, is to be banished by the decree
of the high Judge, but Richard's page Oscar speaks in her favour, and
the count decides to see her himself and test her tricks.  He invites
his lords to accompany him to the sybil's dwelling, and orders Oscar to
bring him a fisherman's disguise.  His enemies Samuel and Tom follow
him.

The second act shows Ulrica in her cottage seated at a table conjuring
Satan.  A crowd of people are around her, amongst them Richard in
disguise.  A sailor Sylvan advances first to hear his fate, and while
Ulrica is prophesying that better days await him, Richard slips a roll
of gold with a scroll into Sylvan's pocket and so makes the witch's
words true.  Sylvan searching in his pockets finds the gold and reads
the inscription on the scroll: "Richard to his dear officer Sylvan",
and all break out into loud praises of the clever sybil.

A short while after a servant announces Amelia, and the sorceress
driving the crowd away ushers her in, while Richard conceals himself.
He listens with delight to the confession of her sinful love to
himself, against which she asks for a draught, which might enable her
to banish it from her heart.  Ulrica advises her to pluck a magic herb
at midnight, which grows in the field where the criminals are executed.
Amelia shudders but promises to do as she is bidden, while Richard
secretly vows to {370} follow and protect her.  Amelia departs and the
people flock in again.  Richard is the first to ask what is his fate.
The sybil reluctantly tells him that his life is to be destroyed by the
first person who shall touch his hand on this very day.  Richard vainly
offers his hand to the bystanders, they all recoil from him, when
suddenly his friend Rene comes in, and heartily shakes Richard's
outstretched hand.  This seems to break the spell, for everybody knows
Rene to be the count's dearest friend, and now believes the oracle to
be false.  Nevertheless Ulrica, who only now recognizes the count,
warns him once more against his enemies, but he laughs at her, and
shows the sorceress the verdict of her banishment, which however he has
cancelled.  Full of gratitude Ulrica joins in the universal song of
praise, sung by the people to their faithful leader.

The third act opens on the ghostly field where Amelia is to look for
the magic herb.  She is frozen with horror believing that she sees a
ghost rise before her; Richard now turns up, and breaks out into
passionate words, entreating her to acknowledge her love for him.  She
does so, but implores him at the same time, not to approach her, and to
remain true to his friend.  While they speak Rene surprises them.  He
has followed Richard to save him from his enemies, who are waiting to
kill him.  Richard wraps himself in his friend's cloak, after having
taken Rene's promise to lead the veiled lady to the gates of the town,
without trying to look at her.  Rene swears, but fate wills it
otherwise, for {371} hardly has Richard departed, when the conspirators
throng in, and enraged at finding only the friend, try to tear the veil
off the lady's face.  Rene guards her with his sword, but Amelia
springing between the assailers lets fall her veil, and reveals her
face to her husband and to the astonished men, thereby bringing shame
and bitter mockery on them both.  Rene, believing himself betrayed by
wife and friend, asks the conspirators to meet him in his own house on
the following morning, and swears to avenge the supposed treachery.

In the fourth act in his own house Rene bids his wife prepare herself
for death.  He disbelieves in her protest of innocence, but at last,
touched by her misery he allows her to take a last farewell of her son.
When she is gone, he resolves rather to kill the seducer than his poor
weak wife.  When the conspirators enter he astonishes them by his
knowledge of their dark designs, but they wonder still more, when he
offers to join them in their evil purpose.  As they do not agree, who
it shall be that is to kill Richard, Rene makes his wife draw the lot
from a vase on the table.  The chosen one is her own husband.--At this
moment Oscar enters with an invitation to a masked ball from the court.
Rene accepts, and the conspirators decide to seize the opportunity, to
put their foe to death.  They are to wear blue dominos with red
ribbons; their pass word is "death."

The next scene shows a richly decorated ballroom.  Rene vainly tries to
find out the count's {372} disguise, until it is betrayed to him by the
page who believes that Rene wants to have some fun with his master.
Amelia waylaying Richard implores him, to fly, and when he disbelieves
her warnings, shows him her face.  When he recognizes her, he tenderly
takes her hand, and tells her that he too has resolved to conquer his
passion, and that he is sending her away to England with her husband.
They are taking a last farewell, but alas, fate overtakes Richard in
the shape of Rene, who runs his dagger through him.  The crowd tries to
arrest the murderer, but the dying count waves them back and with his
last breath tells his unhappy friend, that his wife is innocent.
Drawing forth a document and handing it to Rene the unfortunate man
reads the count's order to send them to their native country.  Richard
pardons his misguided friend and dies with a blessing on his beloved
country.



THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH.

Opera in three acts by CARL GOLDMARK.

Text after Dickens' tale by M. WILLNER.


With this opera Goldmark has entered a novel way in composing.  He has
renounced all sensational effects and has produced an opera, which is
full of charming melodies, but which lacks the high dramatic verve to
which we are accustomed from this composer; there are however
remarkably fine pieces in the whole, the best of them being Dot's
dancing song in the second act, the quintette at the end of {373} it,
and the prelude in the third act, into which Goldmark has interwoven
the popular song "Weisst Du, wie viel Sternlein stehen."

The story is soon told, as everybody is supposed to know its contents
from Dickens' famous fairy-tale.  That it is less pretty than the
original, is not Mr. Willner's fault, who did his best to endue it with
dramatic strength, and to make it more effective, an elevation to which
the tale never aspired, its poetic simplicity being its great charm.

The scene is laid in an English village.

The cricket, a little fairy, lives with a postilion John and his wife
Dot.  They are a happy couple, the only thing wanting to their complete
happiness being children, and even this ardent wish Dot knows will be
fulfilled before long.

A young doll-maker May visits Dot to unburden her heavy heart.  The
young girl is to marry her old and rich employer Tackleton, in order to
save her foster-father from want, but she cannot forget her old
sweetheart, a sailor named Eduard, who left her years ago, never to
come back.  Dot tries to console her, and gives her food for her old
father.  When May has taken leave, Dot's husband John enters, bringing
a strange guest with him.

It is Eduard, who has however so disguised himself, that nobody
recognizes him.  Dot receives him hospitably, and while he follows her
in another room, a very lively scene ensues, all the village people
flocking in to receive their letters and parcels at John's hands.

{374}

In the second act John rests from his labour in his garden, while Dot,
who finds her husband, who is considerably older than herself, somewhat
too self-confident and phlegmatic, tries to make him appreciate her
more by arousing his jealousy.  While they thus talk and jest May
enters, followed by her old suitor, who has already chosen the
wedding-ring for her.  Eduard listens to his wooing with ill concealed
anxiety, and Tackleton, not pleased to find a stranger in his friend's
house, gruffly asks his name.  The strange sailor tells him, that he
left his father and his sweetheart to seek his fortune elsewhere, and
that he has come back rich and independent, only to find his father
dead and his sweetheart lost to him.  His voice moves May strangely,
but Tackleton wants to see his riches.  Eduard shows them some fine
jewels, which so delight Dot, that she begins to adorn herself with
them and to dance about the room.  Eduard presents her with a beautiful
cross, and seizes the opportunity to reveal to her his identity,
entreating her not to betray him.  Then he turns to May, begging her to
chose one of the trinkets, but Tackleton interferes, saying that his
promised bride does not need any jewels from strange people.  Dot is
greatly embarrassed, and Tackleton, mistaking her agitation, believes,
that she has fallen in love with the sailor, and insinuates as much to
her husband, whom he invites to have a glass of beer with him.

This unusual generosity on the part of the avaricious old man excites
the clever little wife's {375} suspicion.  May having withdrawn, she
greets the friend of her youth with great ostentation (knowing herself
secretly watched by John and Tackleton), and promises to help him to
regain his sweetheart.  John and his friend, who suddenly return, see
them together, and poor old John gets wildly jealous.  But when he is
alone, he falls asleep and the faithful cricket prophetically shows him
his wife fast asleep in a dream, while a little boy in miniature
postilion's dress plays merrily in the background.

In the third act Dot adorns May with the bridal wreath, but the girl is
in a very sad mood.  All at once she hears the sailor sing; Dot steals
away, and May vividly reminded of her old love by the song, decides to
refuse old Tackleton at the last moment, and to remain true to Eduard
until the end of her life.  The sailor, hearing her resolve, rushes in
tearing off his false grey beard, and catches May, who at last
recognizes him, in his arms.  Meanwhile Tackleton arrives gorgeously
attired; he brings a necklace of false pearls and invites May to drive
with him to the wedding ceremony in the church at once.  A whole chorus
of people interrupt this scene however; they greet him, saying they are
his wedding guests, exciting the miser's wrath.  At last May, who had
retired to put on her bridal attire, re-appears, but instead of taking
Tackleton's arm she walks up to Eduard, who courteously thanking the
old lover for the carriage standing at the door, suddenly disappears
with May.  The {376} chorus detains the furious old Tackleton until the
lovers are well out of the way.

Meanwhile Dot has explained her behaviour to John, and whispering her
sweet secret into his ear, makes him the happiest man on earth.--The
cricket, the good fairy of the house, chirps sweetly and the last scene
shows once more a picture of faithfulness and love.



THE EVANGELIMANN.

A Musical Drama in two acts.

With Text and Music by WILHELM KIENZL.


The author has learnt a great deal since the days, in which he composed
Urvasi.  His music has become more original and more independant of
great models.  The new opera, while not so poetical is eminently
touching and true; the text, founded on fact, runs smoothly and is
cleverly done, the verses being well adapted to the music.  Like
Verga's Cavalleria the subject is such as to be impressive even without
music.

It is necessary to explain the title of this opera, which signifies a
man who goes about reciting biblical verse after the fashion of street
singers.  This means of earning a livelihood is unknown in Germany, but
forms a speciality in Austria.

The music of the first act puts one in mind of the Meistersingers; as a
whole it is very captivating, fresh and drastic, especially during the
nine-pin scene.  The orchestra predominates, but there are truly poetic
airs, which will linger as much in {377} the heart as in the ear of the
hearer.  Such is: "O sweet days of my youth," and in the last act:
"Blessed are they who are persecuted," from Christ's Sermon on the
Mount.  Another charming bit of music is the children's waltz, in which
the composer has paraphrased one of Lanner's well-known waltz-motives.

The first scene is laid in the village of St. Othmar in Austria, or
rather in the court of the convent of the Benedictines of that place.
Mathias, a young clerk of the convent has an interview with Martha, the
niece and ward of Frederic Engel, the rich warden of the convent.
John, Mathias' elder brother and the village-schoolmaster sees them
together.  Being in love with the girl himself he warns her uncle of
his brother's courtship and excites his wrath against the lovers, so
that Engel, coming across the young people, gruffly tells Mathias, that
he has already chosen a rich bridegroom for his ward.  In vain, the
lovers beseech the old man's pity, for his anger only waxes stronger,
and he goes so far, as to discharge Mathias, warning him to leave the
place altogether.  Martha left alone bemourns her guardian's hardness,
and John, thinking to profit by the occasion approaches her and asks
for her hand.  But he is so decidedly rejected by Martha, that he
swears to have his revenge.

Meanwhile the evening approaches, and the country-folk come to the inn
next to the convent, to play their game of ninepins.--During this very
animated scene Mathias finds Magdalen, his sweetheart's friend, whom he
entreats to take a message {378} to Martha, asking her to meet him at
eleven o'clock in the bower near the skittleground for a last farewell.
John hears this and when night sets in and the gates of the convent are
closed, he remains outside alone, hiding behind the barn-floor.  When
the clock strikes eleven Martha and Mathias approach the bower.  They
swear to remain true to each other, come what may.  Their tender words
excite John's jealousy to the utmost, and while the lovers are
engrossed with their sorrow and make plans for the future, he sets fire
to the barn-floor.  Soon the flames leap up to the sky, but the lovers
are oblivious of everything, till they hear the watchman's cry of fire.
Mathias persuades Martha to hide herself; so he is found alone on the
place and seized by the crowd and brought before the warden.  Engel at
once jumps to the conclusion, that he has been the incendiary, to
revenge himself for Engel's hard-heartedness, and despite his
protestations of innocence Mathias is put in chains and carried away,
while Martha, who comes out from her hiding-place falls back in a swoon
after proclaiming his innocence.

The second act takes place thirty years later in Vienna.  Magdalen sits
under a lime-tree in the court of an old house and muses sadly over
days gone by.  After long, lonely years she has found the school-master
John sick unto death, and now finds comfort in nursing him.  Nothing
has ever been heard of Mathias again, and she wonders sadly what has
become of him.  Children throng into the court, they dance around the
lime-tree, while an {379} old organ-grinder plays pretty waltz-tunes to
their steps.--While they are dancing, an Evangelimann comes into the
court.  He reads and sings to the children the verses from Christ's
Sermon on the Mount, and teaches them to repeat the melody.  When they
are able to sing it faultlessly, he faintly asks for a drink of water,
which Magdalen brings him.  She asks him, whence he comes, and when he
tells her, that his father's house stood in St. Othmar, she recognizes
in him her old friend Mathias.  Then he relates his sad story, how he
lay imprisoned for twenty years, the real incendiary having never been
discovered.  When he was set free, he returned home, only to find that
his bride had drowned herself.  All his efforts to earn a livelihood
were fruitless; nobody would employ the convict, until he was at last
obliged to become an Evangelimann, and wandered from place to place,
preaching the gospel to the poor, and getting such small bounties they
could afford to give.--Exhausted by hunger and overcome by sad
remembrances Mathias sinks down on the bench half fainting, but is
revived by bread and broth brought to him by Magdalen, who earnestly
entreats him to return soon, and to bring comfort to the sick man she
is nursing.

The last scene takes place a day later in John's sick-room.  He is
lying on a couch, a prey to bitter thoughts and pangs of conscience,
when his brother's voice reaches his ear from below, and dimly awakens
sweet memories in him.  He bids Magdalen to fetch the singer, and when
the latter enters, he feels so {380} drawn to him without recognizing
his brother, that he begs leave, to unburden his soul to him.

Mathias soon recognizing his brother is about to fold him in his arms,
but John despairingly shrinks from him, while confessing his guilt in
broken words and beseeching his forgiveness.  The unfortunate Mathias,
whose life has been so utterly ruined by his brother, battles fiercely
with his natural feelings.  But when he sees the wretched John on his
knees before him, so broken down and exhausted he finally forgives him.
With a last faint gasp of thanks John falls back and dies, while
Magdalen prays "And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that
trespass against us."  Outside the children's voices are heard once
more: "Blessed are they, that are persecuted for righteousness' sake;
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."



ODYSSEUS' RETURN.

A Musical Tragedy in three acts with a Prelude by AUGUST BUNGERT.


A musical drama of the highest interest, one which may be considered
equal to Wagner's great Nibelung series, has been created at last.

"Odysseus' Return" is the third of four parts of a cyclus, called the
Odyssey, and its success since its first representation in Dresden on
December 12th 1896 has been so absolute, that one may hope to hear the
other parts before long.  It must be admitted here, that this is due
partly to {381} its splendid rendering under Schuch's genial
conductorship, and to the interpreters of the two principal roles in
the drama.  Frau Wittich as Penelope is the very incarnation of
womanliness and queenliness, and no singer could be a truer and nobler
Odysseus than Karl Scheidemantel.  Whosoever had the advantage of
hearing these two great singers in these roles, must for ever identify
them with the grand characters of ancient Greece.

Bungert is happy in having found a subject so noble and so sympathetic,
and his music does full justice to these sentiments.

The orchestration is simple in character, sometimes of classic naivete,
and though the composer keeps to measures without caesura (destitute of
rythm) which are peculiar to Wagner, he differs from him inasmuch as
the orchestra is always merely the accompaniment of the voice and never
drowns it.

All the characters are most life-like, and they thrill with those never
changing emotions, which are the same to-day as they were a thousand
years ago.

The plot treats of Homer's Odyssey with a poetic licence.

In the Prelude Pallas Athene appears, conveying the impression of a
statue and forthwith producing the right frame of mind in the hearer,
by the original song of thirty measures all in c.--After her
disappearance Penelope's suitors assemble and form a plot to destroy
Telemachus, the queen's son, of whom they are afraid.  Hyperion,
Telemachus' intimate friend tries to frustrate their plans, but in
{382} vain.  When left alone he reproaches himself bitterly for his
treachery to his friend and decides to warn him.  Hyperion too is in
love with the queen, but he is at the same time deeply attached to her
noble son, who at this juncture is seen arriving in a vessel, in which
he is setting out in quest of his father Odysseus.--Hyperion entreats
Telemachus to let him accompany him on this dangerous voyage, but the
latter begs him to remain with his lonely mother and embarks after
taking a tender leave of Hyperion.

Then the scenery changes.  The first act takes place in a bay of the
isle of Ithaca, in which Odysseus has landed after many years of
fruitless wandering.  He has fallen asleep near a grotto, which is the
abode of nymphs; beside him lie the gifts of the Phaeaces.  On the
heights the hut of old Eumaeus, Odysseus' steward is seen.  He sits on
a bench beside the aged Laertes, Odysseus' father, awaiting his master.
Shepherds, dancing and frolicking past him laugh and mock at the
faithful servant's belief in Odysseus' return.

By and by Odysseus half awakes from the deep slumber, into which the
gods have thrown him; the whole country seems to be enveloped in mist
and he does not recognize it, although the songs of the peasants fill
him with thoughts of his youth and his home.  Dreamily he sinks back on
his couch, while Pallas appears attired in beggar's garb, which she
throws off and is seen clad fantastically in the costume of a royal
shepherdess.  She {383} waves her hand, and the mist clears away when
the whole country is seen bathed in moonlight and Odysseus opening his
eyes recognizes mount Neriton and his own beloved island.  Blinded with
tears he kisses the sacred soil, and returns thanks to the gods, who
have at last led him back to his home.

Suddenly he hears Eumaeus' voice, and finding the beggar's cloak, which
the goddess has left him, he wraps himself in it, and hides his weapons
and the treasures of the Phaeaces in the grotto.  Eumaeus loudly
bewails Penelope's fate, and curses the wicked suitors.  At the same
time the sound of oars is heard and Telemachus' vessel passes by,
pursued by the suitors.  Eumaeus, too weak to render aid, continues to
wail, when suddenly Odysseus rises up before him saying; "The gods will
conquer."  The old man, not recognizing his king continues to accuse
the Fates, and tells the stranger, how badly things have fared since
the king's absence.--"And Penelope, my friend?" asks Odysseus.
"Penelope is faithful," answers the servant.  Then "Be it known to you
friend, that Oydsseus will return" quoth the stranger.  Struck by a dim
foreboding of the truth Eumaeus promises to lead the stranger into the
queen's palace this very night.

While they converse, Telemachus calls upon Eumaeus for help, and when
the vessels come into sight the prince is seen fighting against his
pursuers.  He slays one of them, but their number far exceeds that of
his own followers.  Odysseus, who has {384} vainly looked for the boat
which the suitors have stolen, throws his club at them, and springs
into his son's vessel just in time to rescue the lad, whose sword has
been broken, but who continues to fight, nothing daunted.  Odysseus
kills some of his foes and pushes their vessel far off, after which
they escape, while the father carries his fainting son on shore.  At
this moment Eumaeus recognizes his mighty guest.  Telemachus still half
unconscious, calls for another sword.  When he at last opens his eyes
he stares in wonder at the mysterious stranger whom he deems a god in
beggar's garb.  Eumaeus informs him, that the stranger brings news of
their long lost king, which fills the son's heart with joy.  At this
point the low songs of the nymphs are heard, welcoming the hero to
Ithaca while Laertes, slowly descending from the heights, prophesies
Odysseus' return as one in a dream.  Odysseus can hardly restrain his
tears at seeing his father looking so old and so woebegone.  He meets
him humbly, and all their voices mingle in a chorus of triumph and
welcome, while Odysseus stepping forward, vows that he will annihilate
the suitors.

The second act opens in Penelope's room.

She sits at her loom, looking out over the far stretching sea and
bewailing her lot.  Behind the scene the evoes and drunken cries of the
suitors are heard and with bitter tears she prays to the gods to help
her, and to protect her son, whom she knows to be on the treacherous
waves.--Suddenly {385} Hyperion rushes in and prostrating himself at
her feet offers her a bunch of orange blossoms, and pays homage to her
in sentimental poetic language.  Penelope quietly congratulates him on
having escaped from the nets of his paramour Despoina and the lover,
taking this as a favourable sign, breaks out into passionate words, but
is at once checked by the queen.  He then reveals to her the shameful
plot of the suitors, and Penelope becomes speechless with horror.
Before she recovers her selfpossession the suitors rush into the
apartment, insolently reminding her of her promise to choose one of
them, as soon as the garment, which she has been weaving for so many
years for Laertes shall be completed, and wildly upbraiding her with
undoing her work during the night Penelope tries to hold them in check,
but they only grow more shameless, and at last Antinous tries to
embrace her.  Quick as thought she draws her dagger, and when it is
wrenched from her she snatches his own sword and directs it against
him.  But Eurymachus, another suitor comes forward, and attacking
Hyperion, pierces him with his sword, then turns to the queen, swearing
to kill Telemachus as well, should she not yield to their demands.  The
queen wavers, when renewed acclamations are heard, and Telemachus
enters with Eumaeus and Odysseus, the latter still wearing his
disguise.  The mother rushes forward to embrace her son, but he is
seized by the suitors who peremptorily require the queen's oath.  "Save
thy son o queen", says {386} the stranger, and Penelope at last swears
to give her hand to him who shall be victorious in the contest held on
Apollo's festival on the following day.  Thereupon the suitors promise
to protect Telemachus and retire leaving mother and son together.

Not until then does Telemachus recognize in the prostrate form his
friend Hyperion, who dying tells him, that he has betrayed his friend
and loved his mother.  Terrified though he is the tender-hearted youth
forgives him and entreats his mother to do the same.  But the queen
stands as one turned to stone not heeding the stranger, who likewise
bids her say a word to the man, who is dying for her, and who is now in
his last moments raving of his unholy love.  Telemachus at last seizes
his friend's hand and closes his dim eyes with a kiss, while the queen,
with a last despairing cry for Odysseus sinks back senseless and is
carried away by her son and her nurse Eurycleia.--Left alone, Odysseus
remains a prey to doubt and jealousy.--When Penelope recovering hears
the news of her lost husband, Odysseus promises her the speedy return
of the latter, answering her excited questions with: "I know him as I
know myself."  The queen fears he will be too late, and when the
stranger insinuates to her that the king will perhaps kill the suitors
whom he has discovered in the queen's apartments and cunningly asks,
wether she wants their protection, her long pent up rage against her
pursuers finds vent in a terrible cry for vengeance {387} and for the
annihilation of all her enemies, and falling on her knees before the
beggar she beseeches him to hasten Odysseus' return.  The latter, being
at last sure of his wife's faithfullness, reassures her and tells her
to confide in the gods.

The third act opens with Apollo's festival.  The statue of the god is
carried before the people, adorned with roses and ivy.  The suitors
banquet in the palace, while the true master sits aloof on the steps of
the temple and is mocked at by the crowd, however remains quiet, only
invoking the god to direct his fate.--Trumpets announce the arrival of
the queen, who is loudly hailed by the crowd.  She carries her
husband's own bow, and promises to marry whomsoever shall succeed in
bending it, and in shooting the arrow through a series of twelve
rings.--Telemachus is the first to try his luck, hoping to redeem his
beloved mother.  But alas, his strength fails him, and he has to hand
the bow on to the suitors, who so goad and taunt him, that the boy
draws his sword.  But they are stronger, Telemachus stumbles and the
beggar catches him in his arms, and unfolds his mantle to protect him
whispering: "Telemachus my son, I am thy father."  The youth sinks on
his knees, but Odysseus enjoins silence upon him and warns him to be
ready for battle.

Meanwhile the boy is derided by the crowd, and the queen bitterly
disappointed turns to the beggar whispering: "Thy words old man were
false!"  But Odysseus replies: "The gods will prove {388} victorious",
and kisses the queen's hand so fervently, that she stares at him as one
in a trance, until he, recovering himself, kisses it again in due
humility.  Her eyes once more grow dim, and she leaves the grounds in
dull despair.  During this time the bow has passed from hand to hand,
but none can bend it, and the augur Theoclymenus, who hears Jupiter's
thunder and sees the ravens fly over the temple prophesies their
destruction.

Eurymachus at last proposes to throw the bow into the fire, when the
beggar advances and asks leave to try his strength at bending it,
which, though indignantly refused by the suitors, is immediately
granted by Telemachus, who owns the bow.  Odysseus bends it and shoots
through all the rings.

During this scene Pallas appears in the air, holding her shield aloft.
Horror seizes the wooers, when they recognize the mighty arm, which
alone can bend the bow, and Odysseus, flinging his cloak from him and
standing erect in his shining armour, slays his enemies aided by his
son and those of his servants who have remained true to him and to
their queen.  The latter, walking slowly over the peristyle all at once
sees Odysseus and recognizes her lord, who folds her to his heart.
When the palace is cleared of the dead, the people press in to hail
their king and Athene appears once more, holding her shield over the
happy crowd and blessing the faithful spouse.



{389}

BEARSKIN.

(DER BAeRENHAeUTER).

An Opera in three acts by SIEGFRIED WAGNER.


In the beginning of the year 1899 a great sensation thrilled through
the musical world; Siegfried Wagner had written his first musical
drama.  Some call him the small son of a great father; others consider
him to be the true heir of his father's greatness; I, for my part think
that the truth, as usual, lies between these two extremes.

The drama was first performed in January 1899 on the Munich Stage, and
a few days later Leipzig followed suit.  The effect the work produced
was much greater than the opponents of the young composer thought
possible, and no doubt the "Baerenhaeuter" will soon appear on all stages
of importance, including that of Bayreuth, whose fanatical adherents
have noised abroad young Siegfried's fame perhaps too loudly and too
early for his advantage.  That his work shows talent nobody will deny
after having heard this drama, which is however not free from imitation
of the works of greater masters.  The manner of instrumentation, the
musical declamation are his father's, but the orchestration is much
simpler, and, unlike his father, he produces his greatest and best
effects by means of simple melodies, but he fails when he seeks to
become pathetic or dramatic.  Like most modern composers he has written
his libretto himself, and he has chosen a most original subject from
one of {390} Grimm's old fairy tales.  The story is well told though at
rather too great a length, and both libretto and music are very
effective, full of action, fascinating the hearer and heightening his
interest from act to act.  In the second act, especially in the
dialogues between Luise and Hans Kraft, are sufficient proofs of
Siegfried's genius, and the conclusion is truly grand.

The scene is laid in Bavaria, in the country around Bayreuth, during
the time of the Thirty Years war.

The first act takes place in a village in the Hummelgau.  The soldiers
are first returning after a long period of war to their native village,
and are received enthusiastically by the inhabitants.  Hans Kraft, the
hero of the drama, looks in vain for his old mother and at last learns
that sorrow and anxiety about her absent son have caused her death
three years ago; she is already forgotten, and so is her son, who find
himself alone and forsaken.  He is rudely repulsed by the peasants who
will not even give him a night's lodging in their cottages.  Full of
wrath and despair he turns into the forest where he is accosted by a
wild looking being who laughs at his impotent rage and offers his help.
Hans, perceiving the cloven hoof and the horns, at once recognizes the
Devil in this queer fellow, and is at first unwilling to follow his
advice; but the Devil is artful and insinuating, and at last Hans is
induced to make an agreement with him by which he engages himself as
Stoker {391} in the infernal regions; he has to keep the fire burning
under the caldron in which poor lost souls are being roasted.  When he
has served the devil for one year Hans will be free to go wherever he
likes.  In the next scene Hans has already arrived at his new
quarters--hell--and, after having explained to Hans his new duties, the
Devil leaves him.  Hans now begins to stir the fire, but is soon
arrested by a wailing voice which he recognizes as that of the old
sergeant who so often tormented him on earth, and who now vainly
entreats him to let him escape.

While Hans is gaily feeding the flames, a Stranger enters; his name is
Peter the doorkeeper, (of course St. Peter,) who skilfully entices him
to play at dice.  He proposes that Hans should stake some years of his
own life.  Hans refuses to do so.  The Stranger next proposes that Hans
should stake the salvation of his soul, but without success.  At last
it is agreed that Hans shall win ten Florins if he throws the highest
cast, and the Stranger shall win two souls out of the caldron if he
wins.  They play, and Hans loses time after time, and at last stakes
all the souls in the caldron--and loses.  St. Peter has delivered all
the poor souls from the pains of hell and Hallelujas are heard from the
heights above.  Hans, who had at first thrown himself upon the Stranger
to bind him, is held back by a superior power, a glory shines about St.
Peter's head and Hans falls back struck with awe.  The glory dies away
and the Stranger {392} resuming his former manner thanks Hans for his
good deed in delivering the lost souls, and, as a reward he warns him
not to put himself again in the power of the Devil, and kindly advises
him to bear with patience and courage the punishment that will surely
fall upon him for his foolish, thoughtless compact with the evil one.
Bidding Hans remember that he has a friend who will not forget him, the
Stranger departs.

The punishment is not long delayed, for the Devil returning in a rage
takes vengeance upon Hans for his disobedience by covering him with
black soot that cannot be washed off, and hanging a bearskin round him.
To supply his needs the Devil gives him a magic scrip from which he can
always take money.  The only way in which he may be released from this
hideous disguise is through the faithful love of a woman who will love
him in spite of his repulsive appearance.  Hans in vain rebels against
this cruel sentence, the Devil reminds him of his contract.  He gives
Hans a ring and tells him that if he finds a maiden who truly loves him
he is to split the ring in two and giving her one half he is to go away
and leave her for three years.  At the end of that time he may come
back and claim her, and if the gold of the ring is pure and bright, it
will be a proof that she is true to him and Hans will then be free.  In
that case the Devil promises to fulfil any three wishes that Hans may
name.  These arrangements made, Hans is at last flung out of hell and
back to earth a pitiful object of loathing and ridicule.

{393}

The second act is laid in a village inn near Kulmbach.  The assembled
peasants are all talking of the Devil whom they declare they have seen
in person.  While they are talking a rap is heard at the door, and Hans
stands outside clad in his bearskin, asking for food and shelter.  In
their terror they all refuse to let him in believing him to be the
devil himself, until the Burgomaster suggests that the man in this
hideous disguise should be made to show his feet.  When this is done
and the peasants see that the stranger has no cloven hoof but human
feet they are satisfied that all is right.  While they are still
deliberating Hans breaks open the window and springs into the room.
The peasants eye him with amazed curiosity, and the host at first
refuses to give a night's lodging to such a suspicious looking object,
but a piece of gold out of Hans' never empty sack makes him change his
mind.  He sets the bar maid on to sound the queer fellow and she draws
from Hans that he is a relation of the Emperor of Marocco, and other
nonsense, which makes all think he is insane but harmless.  Presently
the Burgomaster falls asleep but is rudely awakened by the host who
reminds him of a debt of 60 Florins which he had promised to pay.  The
Burgomaster not being able to pay a quarrel takes place, which is ended
by Hans paying down the money himself and sending the innkeeper to bed.
Left alone with the bewildered Burgomaster, Hans questions him about
his family and circumstances and learns {394} that the good man has
three daughters whom he anxiously wishes to see married.  Hans, without
more ado, offers himself as a suitor for one of them, in the hope that
this is an opportunity for his deliverance from his unhappy plight by
the true love of a woman.  The Burgomaster accepts his offer, believing
Hans to be some grandee under a spell, or bewitched and supposing that
when he claims his bride he will be restored to his proper form.  Hans
however assures him the lady will have to accept him as he is, unkempt
and unwashed.  After wishing the Burgomaster good night, Hans retires
to his chamber, leaving his knapsack in the outer room.  The innkeeper
on the watch, waits till all is still and comes noiselessly in to steal
the money from the sack.  He puts in his hand and draws out--not
gold--but scorpions, mice, frogs and other vermin which fly about and
torment him till at his cries Hans comes to the rescue and the goblin
creatures disappear.

In the next scene it is early morning; the servants come in and adorn
the inn with boughs of birch as is the custom at the festival of
Whitsuntide.

The Burgomaster appears with his three daughters; he first presents to
Hans his eldest, Line, but when she sees him she turns away in horror
at the appearance of the suitor, and calling the second sister Gunda
both mock the poor fellow, and laughing turn homewards.  The youngest
girl, {395} Luise, her father's favourite, not knowing what was going
on, comes in to look for her father, and seeing Hans standing there in
tears, at once checks the laughter that was provoked by his droll
appearance, and moved to pity asks what ails him.  At first he is
unwilling to answer, but, when she presses him to speak, he shows her
the ring and tells her that if she were willing to wear it for three
years, always thinking kindly of him, the gold would remain bright, and
at the end of that time the bann would be taken off him.  Luise
promises never to forget him, and though Hans hesitates to give her the
ring, fearing the trial will be too heavy for the sweet child to whom
his heart goes out in love, she draws the ring from him, passes a
ribbon through it and hangs it round her neck.

In the meanwhile, the peasants, led by the revengeful innkeeper, make
an attack upon Hans and try to take away his sack.  Hans relates how
the innkeeper tried to rob him, and forces him to show the 60 Florins
the latter had received for the Burgomaster's debt.  In rage the
innkeeper throws the pieces on the ground; a flame leaps up from the
spot.  This convinces the peasants that Hans is in league with the
Devil; they are about to kill him when Luise calls for aid and her
courage so astonishes the assailants that they let Hans go.

The third act takes place three years later.

Hans is discovered lying in a dense forest fast asleep.  The Devil has
summoned a number of his little imps who are busily engaged in washing,
{396} combing and dressing the sleeper.  Satan is in a very bad temper,
but he does not give up his battle for a soul with Heaven yet, and
intends to make a last effort to get Hans into his clutches.  The lad's
hand, on which is the fateful ring, hangs close to the water of the
brook near which he lies, and Satan calls the water nymphs to take it
from him.  But at this moment Hans wakes and his first thought is for
the ring which he looks at with rapture, seeing that its gold shines
undimmed.  The Devil, (who appears not to be such a bad fellow after
all,) greets him in a friendly manner, and Hans, delighted to find
himself free from the spell, requires at once the fulfilment of the
three wishes the devil has promised to grant.  His first wish, to
become what he was before, is already fulfilled.  His second wish, to
keep the sack, but free from magic gold and charm, is also granted.
His third wish is, that for the future the Devil will let him alone and
never cross his path again.  This also the Devil agrees to and
mockingly bestows upon him the bearskin into the bargain.  Hans now
recognises it as the skin of a bear he had once killed himself.  Hans'
one thought now is for his betrothed bride.  On his way to her St.
Peter appears to him once more.  He tells that the Plassenburg is about
to be stormed, and urges him to save it from the enemy.

The next scene opens again in the hero's native village.  A crowd of
people is assembled before the Burgomaster's house; they are looking
towards the Plassenburg which they fear is already in the {397} enemy's
hand.  No sound is heard from the fortress; its defenders seem to be in
deep sleep.  Suddenly the trumpets sound and in breathless anxiety men
and women watch the battle that now begins.

At last a man comes running up in hot haste shouting that victory is
theirs.  He relates how that believing Wallenstein to be far away all
the garrison went to sleep when they were suddenly awakened by a loud
knocking, and the cry "the Friedlander is at the gates!"

The commander Kuensberg sprang out, and at his side, fighting like a
lion, a stranger in whom they presently recognized their fellow
soldier, Hans Kraft, who had served in the same army years ago; to him
they now owe the victory.  Everybody begins to praise the deliverer and
to ask where he is, for he had gone away and had not been heard of
again.

The Burgomaster advances to greet the victors accompanied by his two
elder daughters, but Luise cannot be induced to leave home.  Alone she
thinks sadly of the man to whom all this time she has remained faithful
and who fails to come and let her know if he is free from the terrible
spell.  While she is praying that her lover's sorrows may be ended,
Hans comes up, and seeing the maiden so sad he greets her shyly and
begs her to bandage a wound he received in the fight.  While she brings
some linen and fills a cup with water for the thirsty soldier Hans lets
his half of the split {398} ring fall into the cup; she recognizes it,
then Hans makes himself known and with tears of joy, he folds her to
his heart.  Thus they are found by the peasants who enthusiastically
greet Hans and tell Luise that her lover is Hans Kraft who has saved
them all.  The Burgomaster of course rejoices in his darling's
happiness, while the sisters are mad with envy.  Hans now bestows the
famous sack upon the innkeeper who recoils from the present with
terror; and the peasants at last recognizing in the hero poor Bearskin,
whom they almost killed in their frenzy, humbly beg his pardon and
express their grateful thanks.  Hans declines all honours that are
offered him and thanks God for his lovely bride who has been sent as
his good angel.  All join in praise to God for his goodness to the
happy couple.



THE CID.

A Lyric Drama in three acts.

Text and Music by PETER CORNELIUS.


After an interval of more than thirty years the Dresden Opera has paid
a debt of honour to the dead composer and gave his finest and best
opera for the first time on January 17th 1899.

This opera had hitherto only been performed in Munich and Weimar.
Though its music is perhaps less fresh and piquant than that of the
Barber of Bagdad by the same composer, yet it has the true ring of
genius and its noble charm {399} ranks high above the ordinary opera of
the present day.

We find in it many leading motives, which would seem to rank Cornelius
amongst Wagner's imitators, but he is very far from being one of these.
All his melodies are original and one of the finest, the Cid-motive,
which accompanies every entrance of this hero, is perfectly entrancing.
The loveliest pearls in the string of music are the funeral march and
Chimene's wail in the first act, her prayer in the second, and the
avowal of her love and the duet that follows in the last act.

The libretto written by Cornelius himself is also far above the
average; its language is uncommonly beautiful and poetic.

The scene is laid in Burgos in Castile in the year 1064.  The first act
opens with a large concourse of people, assembled to celebrate Ruy
Diaz' victory over the Moors.

In the midst of their rejoicings a funeral march announces Chimene,
Countess of Lozan, whose father has been slain by Diaz.  While she
wildly invokes the King's help against the hero the latter enters,
enthusiastically greeted by the people, who adore in him their
deliverer from the sword of the infidels.

He justifies himself before King Fernando, relating with quiet dignity,
how he killed Count Lozan in open duel to avenge his old father, whose
honour the Count had grossly attacked.  Nevertheless he is ready to
defend himself against anybody, who {400} is willing to fight for Donna
Chimene, and for this purpose he throws down his glove, which is taken
up by Alvar Farnez, his friend and companion in arms, who is madly in
love with Chimene.--While they are preparing for the duel the Bishop
Luyn Calvo, an uncle of Diaz, intervenes, entreating his nephew to
desist from further bloodshed and to surrender his sword Tizona into
his the priest's hands.  After a hard struggle with himself the hero,
who secretly loves Chimene, yields, and hands his sword to Calvo, who
at once offers it to Chimene, thereby giving the defenceless hero into
her hands.

Exultingly she swears to take vengeance on Diaz, who stands motionless,
looking down with mournful dignity on the woman whom he loves and who
seems to hate him so bitterly.

In the midst of this scene the war cry is heard.  The enemy has again
broken into the country and has already taken and burnt the fortress of
Belforad.  All crowd round Diaz, beseeching him to save them.  While he
stands mute and deprived of his invincible sword, Chimene, mastering
her own grief at the sight of her country's distress, lays down Tizona
at Fernando's feet.  Ruy Diaz now receives his sword back from the
hands of the King, and brandishing it high above his head he leads the
warriors forth to freedom or death.

The second act takes place in Chimene's castle.  Her women try to
beguile their mistress's sorrow by songs, and when they see her soothed
to quiet, they retire noiselessly.  But hardly does she find {401}
herself alone than pain and grief overcome her again.  She longs to
avenge her father's death on Diaz, and yet deep in her heart there is a
feeling of great admiration for him.  In vain she wrestles with her
feelings, invoking the Allmighty's help to do what is right.  In this
mood Alvar finds her and once more assures her of his devotion and
repeats that he will fight with Diaz as soon as the country is freed
from the enemy.  He leaves her and night sets in and in the darkness
Diaz steals in, for he cannot resist his heart's desire to see Chimene
once more before the battle.  In the uncertain rays of the moonlight
she at first mistakes him for her father's ghost, but when he
pronounces her name she recognizes him, and violently motions him away,
but he falls on his knee and pours out his hopeless love.  At last his
passion overcomes all obstacles; she forgives him and at his entreaty
she calls him by his name, saying: "Ruy Diaz be victorious!"  Full of
joy he blesses her and goes to join his men who are heard in the
distance calling him to lead them to battle.

The third act is played once more in Burgos.

Diaz has been victorious; the whole army of captives defiles before the
throne and a rejoicing assemblage of nobles and peoples does homage to
the King.  Even the Moorish Kings bend the knee voluntarily; they have
been unfortunate, but they have been conquered by the greatest hero of
the world; they are conquered by "the Cid!"  When the King asks them
what the name means {402} they tell him that its signification is
"Master"; full of enthusiasm all around adopt this name for their hero.
The Cid will be Diaz' title henceforth, immortal as his glorious star!

The people loudly call for Diaz to appear, but are told that
immediately after the battle Alvar had sent the hero a challenge.  At
the same time Alvar enters unhurt, and Chimene who stands near the King
with her women ready to greet the victor, grows white and faint,
believing that Diaz has been killed by Alvar.  She impetuously
interrupts the latter, who begins to relate the events, and unable to
control her feelings any longer she pours out her long pent up love for
Diaz, at the same time bewailing the slain hero and swearing
faithfulness to his memory unto death.--"He lives" cries Alvar, and at
this moment the Cid, as we must now call him appears, stormily hailed
by great and small.

Deeply moved he lays down his victorious sword at the feet of his King,
who embraces him pronouncing him Sire of Saldaja, Cardenja and
Belforad.  Then he leads him to his lady who sinks into his arms
supremely happy.  The Bishop blesses the noble pair and all join in his
prayer, that love may guide them through life and death.

{403}

KIRKE (CIRCE).

A Music-Tragedy in a Prologue and three acts by AUGUST BUNGERT.


Kirke, the first part of Bungert's Odyssey was given for the first time
in Dresden January 29th 1898.  It had the same immense success as
Odysseus' Return.  Nevertheless it is weaker in many parts, which is
perhaps due in part to the less congenial subject of its heroine.  All
the sweet parts of the tragedy, like the chorus of the Oceanides in the
Prologue, the quartetti of the four nymphs and Periander's song of
Ithaka are perfect in melody and expression.  The strong and violent
parts are Bungert's weakness they are often rather more noisy and wild
than powerful, and they remind strongly of Wagner.  Nevertheless the
building up of the whole is grand and dramatic, and the hearer's
interest never flags.


Prologue.  "Polyphemus."

From the sea rises in the form of a chain of mountains the figure of
Gaea in blue-green moonlight.  Her song, sung by bass voices behind the
scene, is about her children, the elect, the conquerors of the world, a
race of men steeled by suffering, that struggle from darkness to light;
who, lost and wandering during life, with vehement longings, yet remain
blind, till in death their eyes are opened--but too late!

Then Eos, as conqueror of the world swings in a galop on his lion to
Olympus, singing to his {404} lyre in praise of Love, the Conqueror, to
whom men and Gods bow.  Olympus appears beyond the clouds.  There the
Gods are assembled in council to decide the fate of Odysseus.  Athene
and Hermes plead for the sorely-tried hero.  Zeus answers that the
immortal Gods know and have determined every step of man's life.  He
gives his sanction to Athene and Hermes to watch over and defend
Odysseus.  Again clouds hide the scene.  When they part we find
ourselves in Sicily before the cavern of Polyphemus the Cyclops.  Here
Odysseus carries out the cunning plan he has made to free his
companions from certain death at the hands of the giant.  He blinds the
Cyclops with a red-hot stake, and escapes with his friends by clinging
to the long fleece of the sheep of Polyphemus, who unsuspectingly lets
them out in the morning to graze.  Polyphemus, finding himself
outwitted by Odysseus,--who makes himself known when at a safe
distance,--curses the hero and vows vengeance upon him, calling his
father Poseidon to pursue Odysseus with his fury at sea.  Friendly
sea-nymphs, and Eos (the Dawn) hover round the heroes' ship and speed
them in safety on their way.


Act I.

When the curtain rises the kingdom of Kirke, daughter of the sun-god
Helios, lies before us, bathed in glowing sunshine.  The foreground is
a luxurious garden whose groves of palms and fantastic southern trees
extend in deepening shade into the background.  {405} A colossal sphinx
crouches at the gates of Kirke's palace on the left.  Springs of water,
represented by four attendant nymphs sing to their queen in melodious
harmony.  But Kirke--a lovely vision in soft flowing robes of yellow
hue, with masses of red-gold hair, crowned with sun flowers--cannot be
cheered by their sweet songs.  She lies on her leopard-skin couch sunk
in melancholy; she despairs of ever finding a hero worthy of her love.
In wildest grief she bewails her hard lot; many suitors have presented
themselves, all have proved low and ignoble in their aims and
intentions.  She has by her magic given them the outward form that
corresponds with their inner nature; the grunting of swine is heard in
the distance mingled with the wails and laments of human voices; Kirke
listens with rage and contempt; she flings herself back on her couch;
she hates the glaring light of day and longs for darkness.  The maidens
close the gates of the palace.  Night comes on and the moon rises.

Odysseus, waiting vainly for the return of his companions, hears from
his brother-in-law, Periander who has escaped, that the rest have been
changed into swine, after having drunk of the enchantress' cup.
Odysseus has set out to seek and rescue them; he is seen wandering in
the background among the trees.  The friendly God Hermes, invisible,
whispers good counsel to Odysseus, and puts into his hand a magic herb
which will counteract the enchantment of Kirke's cup.  Full of hope and
{406} courage, Odysseus knocks for admittance with his sword on the
palace gates; they open, and suddenly in dazzling light, Kirke stands
before him in all her dangerous beauty and charm.  For a moment the
hero is overcome with amazement and admiration.  Kirke is radiant with
joy; here is the world-famed hero at her feet.  But again the grunting
of swine and cries of grief are heard.  Odysseus springs up; drawing
his sword he commands Kirke to free her victims; she vainly tries to
resist; she offers him her fatal cup.  Odysseus takes it, but
unobserved he drops the magic herb of Hermes into it, then drinks the
now harmless draught.  Kirke, swaying her magic wand looks to see
Odysseus immediately transformed as his companions were; but he remains
unchanged, and commands her to free his friends.  Kirke, vanquished,
obeys.  One by one the men rush out of the palace in their natural
forms and warmly thank and praise their deliverer.  But Odysseus has
himself fallen into the power of the enchantress; a wild passion has
taken possession of him; he forgets his duty, his wife and child.
Hastily dismissing his companions he falls into Kirke's arms.

Wondering and distressed Periander returns singing Penelope's song; he
approaches and endeavours to rouse Odysseus to a sense of his duty; he
reminds him of home and wife and child, but in vain; the infatuated
hero, under the influence of this unholy passion, so far forgets
himself as in furious rage to attack Periander with his spear.  {407}
Periander in grief and despair turns to depart, and is mortally wounded
by the spear of Odysseus which the latter hurls at him in his flight.

In the distance the song of Gaea is heard.


Act II

The scene takes place on the sea-shore of the coast of Kirke's island
Aea.

Many of the companions of Odysseus are lying about sick or dying of a
plague caused by the cruel rays of the sun and the poisonous air of the
island.  Helios is thus revenging himself upon the mortals that have
offended him.

Periander, dying of the fatal spear wound, is being tended by two or
three friends not yet struck down by the pestilence.

Odysseus has heard of their distress; he tears himself from the arms of
Kirke and comes to reassure and comfort his friends; but all turn from
him with horror, and curse him as the author of their woes.

All but Periander, who with a last, supreme effort implores Odysseus to
fly from the enchantress and return with his companions to his faithful
wife Penelope and take her her brother's dying greeting.  Deeply
touched Odysseus promises to do so; the spell that bound him to Kirke
is broken; Periander consoled dies in his arms.

With his old energy Odysseus sets to work with the companions still in
health to prepare the ship for sailing away at once; when Helios
appears {408} in his dazzling chariot.  Stricken with terror all fall
to the earth.  Helios is about to aim his fatal arrow at Odysseus, when
Kirke rushes upon the scene to protect her beloved hero.  Helios warns
his daughter that like all mortals Odysseus is false and fickle; but
she will not believe her father's warnings, and he drives sadly away.

Odysseus still lies on a couch unconscious as when first struck down.
Hermes appears to him in a vision and tells him his mother Antikleia
died the very day, Odysseus was ensnared by Kirke.  In agony he cries
out in his delirious sleep; he longs for darkness, only this can cure
him.  Kirke bids him descend to the underworld; the couch sinks with
him and the scene gradually changes to the realm of Hades.

When the darkness clears away Odysseus is seen with two of his
companions in the mournful land of Hades; they offer sacrifices and
refresh the shades in the underworld with draughts of blood.
Antikleia, the mother of Odysseus approaches and touchingly pleads the
cause of Penelopeia with him.  Teiresias, the Seer prophecies the
future fate of Odysseus, who listens with awe.  Periander passes by
with his gaping wound.  Agamemnon, Ajax and other great heroes of Troy
approach; all mourn and bewail their sad doom to wander as shades in
the changeless gloom of the underworld; they eagerly struggle to seize
and quaff the cup offered to them by the attendants at the altar.
Achilles rushes forward and accuses Odysseus of {409} cowardice; he has
fatally wounded his friend in the back; he is the slave of Kirke!
Odysseus draws his sword, the living and the dead heroes fight; the
other shadows press forward with wild yells upon Odysseus, who,
overpowered, falls senseless to the ground.  With vivid lightning and
pealing thunder the scene is quickly shrouded in darkness and the
curtain falls.


Act III.

The scene changes again to Kirke's enchanted garden.  On the steps of
the palace Odysseus lies sleeping with his head resting on Kirke's
knee.  He murmurs names in his dreams.  Kirke listens, hoping to hear
her own name, but only hears that of Penelopeia.  Enraged, the
enchantress roughly wakens him.  The hero is himself again.  He
exclaims: "Away to my native land! to my wife! to my hearth and home!"
A wild struggle begins between the two.  Kirke strives with all her
arts and blandishments to enchain him, to keep him.  Odysseus resists;
he has gained the victory over himself, he is no longer in the power of
the syren; his will is inflexible.  All in vain does she strive to
charm him by the delights of her garden; the songs and dances of her
maidens; her sweetest caresses.  He turns from her with loathing, he
curses her.  At last Kirke's love turns to fierce hatred; she changes
her garden into a desert; she calls upon Helios to come and slay her
recreant lover.  The sun god appears indeed, but says Zeus has
forbidden him to injure Odysseus.  In mad {410} frenzy Kirke tears his
bow and arrow from Helios; she will kill her false lover herself; but
her heart misgives her, the arrow sinks from her hand.  At the same
moment, Hermes, as messenger of the Gods appears and cries: "Set the
hero of Ilium free!"  Kirke, subdued, requires Odysseus to unsay the
curse he had spoken against her.  "Be it so!" he solemnly says; and he
is free.

He is now joined by his remaining companions, they have found their
arms; they arm Odysseus; the ship is ready to sail; they all hasten
away.  Helios remains to console Kirke; he foretells that she shall
have a son; a heroic child; she sinks smiling on a flower covered
couch; Helios lulls her to sleep.  In the distance is seen the ship
with the heroes sailing joyously away.

The song of Gaea is heard once more.

The curtain falls.



ERNANI.

A melodramatic Opera in four parts.

Taken from VICTOR HUGO'S Drama of the same name.

Text by F. MARIA PIAVE.

Music by GIUSEPPE VERDI.


Verdi wrote this opera in 1844 when in his thirtieth year.  One cannot
help being struck by the improvement shown in it, as compared with
Verdi's first operas Nabukadnezar and the Lombardi, and through Ernani
the composer at once became one of the most popular musicians in Italy.

The opera did not however at first find favour {411} in France and
Germany, and Verdi's fame was only established in these countries by
his later operas, Rigoletto and Il Trovatore.  But of late Ernani has
been revived and duly appreciated wherever his fine melodies are heard,
and its passionnate verve is felt, which is mostly due to its highly
dramatic subject.

Here is a brief outline of the libretto:--

Ernani, an Italian rebel of obscure parentage is the accepted lover of
Donna Elvira, the high-born niece of Don Ruy Gomez de Silva, Grandee of
Spain.

Donna Elvira is also coveted by Don Carlos, King of Spain, and by her
old uncle Silva, who is about to wed her, much against her will.

Ernani comes to Silva's castle in the garb of a pilgrim, and finds the
King in Donna Elvira's room, trying to lure her away.  Here they are
surprised by de Silva, who, failing to recognize his sovereign
challenges both men to mortal combat.--When he recognizes the King in
one of his foes, he is in despair and humbly craves his pardon, which
is granted to him.--At the same time Don Carlos sends Ernani away on a
distant errand, hoping to rid himself of him once for all; but Donna
Elvira vows to kill herself rather than belong either to the King or to
her uncle, and promises unwavering constancy to her lover Ernani.

Nevertheless the second Act shows Elvira on the eve of her wedding with
her uncle de Silva.

Ernani, once more proclaimed an outlaw seeks {412} refuge in de Silva's
castle, again disguised as a pilgrim.  But when Ernani hears of Donna
Elvira's approaching marriage with de Silva, he reveals his identity
and offers his head to the old man, telling him that his life is
forfeited and that a reward is offered for his capture.  De Silva is
too generous to betray his rival; he orders the gates of the castle to
be barred at once.--While this is being done, Ernani violently
reproaches Elvira for having played him false.  She answers, that she
has been led to believe him dead, and dissolved in tears they embrace
tenderly.  Thus they are surprised by de Silva who, though for the time
being bound by the laws of hospitality swears to destroy Ernani,
wherever he may find him.

For the moment however he conceals his foe so well, that Don Carlos'
followers cannot find him.  Though the King threatens to take the old
man's life, the nobleman remains true to his word and even makes the
greatest sacrifice by delivering Elvira as a hostage into the King's
hands.

Left alone he opens Ernani's hiding-place and challenges him to fight,
but when the latter proves to him, that Don Carlos is his rival and
wants to seduce Elvira, de Silva's wrath turns against the King.

He accepts Ernani's offer to help him in frustrating the King's
designs, but at the same time he reminds him that his life is
forfeited.--Ernani declares himself satisfied and gives de Silva a
bugle, the sound of which is to proclaim, that the hour of reckoning
between the two foes has come.

{413}

The third Act takes place at Aix-la-Chapelle.

The King has heard of the conspiracy against his life.  While the
conspirators assemble in the imperial vaults, he is concealed behind
the monument of Charlemagne and frustrates their designs by advancing
from his hiding-place and proclaiming himself Emperor.--

At the same moment the people rush in and do homage to Charles the
Fifth.--Ernani surrenders to his foes, but Elvira implores the
Emperor's pardon, which is granted, and Charles crowns his gracious act
by uniting the lovers and creating Ernani Duke of Segorbia.

Both Elvira and Ernani go to Seville to celebrate their nuptials.  But
in the midst of their bliss Ernani hears the sound of his bugle and de
Silva appears and claims his rival's life.  In vain the lovers implore
his mercy, de Silva is inexorable and relentlessly gives Ernani the
choice between a poisoned draught and a dagger.  Seizing the latter
Ernani stabs himself, while Donna Elvira sinks senseless beside his
corpse, leaving the aged de Silva to enjoy his revenge alone.



WERTHER.

A Lyric Drama lu three Acts by J. MASSENET.

Text from GOETHE by BLAU, MILLIET and HARTMANN.

German Translation by MAX KALBECK.


The subject of this opera is Goethe's famous novel of the same name.

Though the text is not to be compared with {414} that of the novel, the
music to which Massenet has set it is so marvellously adapted to its
lyric and idyllic qualities, that one is inclined to forget its
deficiencies while listening to the melodious strains.

The scene is laid in Wetzlar in the year 1772.

The first Act takes place in the house of Lotte's father, who is a
bailiff in his native city.  He has assembled his younger children to
teach them a new Christmas song.  While they are practising two friends
of the bailiff enter and invite him to take supper with them at the
neighbouring inn, he declines however and sits down in his arm chair,
while the smaller children climbing on to his knees begin their
interrupted song once more.  During this pretty scene Werther
approaches.  He sees Lotte coming out of the house, becomingly attired
for a country-ball.  She is duly admired by her father and the
children.  Then she acquits herself most charmingly of her household
duties by distributing bread to the children.  Werther meanwhile is
cordially welcomed by her father.--Other visitors come in and Lotte
goes to attend the ball, escorted by Werther.

Sophia the second daughter persuades her father to join his friends at
the inn and promises to look after the children.--

He is hardly gone, when Albert, Lotte's affianced husband, who has been
on a journey returns.

On hearing that Lotte is not at home, he leaves the house again.--When
night comes on {415} Lotte returns with Werther.  The latter is deeply
in love with her, and she listens to his sweet words like one in a
dream, but when her father informs her that Albert has returned she
comes to her senses.  In answer to Werther's questions she tells him,
that she promised her dying mother to wed Albert, which confession
leaves Werther a prey to gloom and despair.

The second Act takes place in the autumn of the same year.  Lotte is
married to Albert.  She has conquered her sentimental fancy for Werther
and is sitting quietly with her husband, enjoying a peaceful Sabbath
day, and the celebration of the village clergyman's golden wedding.
Werther is a jealous witness of her happiness; but when Albert welcomes
him as a friend, he cannot but accept his overtures.--

Sophia enters with a large bouquet for the clergyman, she is in love
with Werther, but the unhappy young man has eyes for her sister only,
who receives him coldly and bids him leave the village.

On seeing Werther so cast-down, Lotte repents of her harshness and
invites him to celebrate Christmas with her and her husband.  But
Werther refuses to be consoled and hurries away notwithstanding
Sophia's entreaties, vowing never to return.

The third Act takes place in Lotte's drawing-room.  She is sitting
alone in deep thought.  Werther's frequent and passionnate letters have
{416} reawakened her dormant love for him and her sister, coming in
laden with Christmas parcels, finds her in tears.  Unable to console
Lotte, Sophia takes her leave after inviting her to spend Christmas Eve
at her old home.--

Hardly has she gone when Werther appears.  Unable to keep away from
Lotte any longer he reminds her of her invitation for Christmas, and
seeing his letters spread out on the table he guesses that Lotte
returns his love.--An impassioned love-scene follows.--Half unconscious
Lotte sinks into his arms, but the first kiss of her lover brings her
to herself.  Tearing herself from his embrace she flees into her room
and bolts the door.  After vain remonstrations Werther rushes out
half-crazed.

Albert returning home finds no one in and calls Lotte.  She appears
pale and distressed, and her husband perceives that something is wrong.
Before she can reply to his questions a servant brings in a note from
Werther, asking Albert for his pistol.  The husband forces his unhappy
wife to hand the weapon to the servant herself.  As soon as Albert has
gone Lotte seizes her hat and cloak and hastens out to prevent the
impending calamity.  Alas! she comes too late.--The last scene shows
Werther's room, which is dimly lighted by the moon.  The
Christmas-bells are tolling when Lotte enters, calling her lover by
name.--She discovers him lying on the floor mortally wounded.--Now that
he is lost to her for ever she pours out all her love and for a brief
space calls him back {417} to life and sweetens his last moments by a
first kiss.  He expires in her arms while from the opposite house the
children's voices are heard singing their Christmas song.



THE DEPARTURE.

Comic Opera in one Act.

Libretto by A. VON STEIGENTESCH (end of 18th century).

Arranged by FERDINAND COUNT SPORCK.

With Music by EUGENE D'ALBERT.


By this opera the young composer, whose previous dramatic efforts were
to a certain extent unsuccessful, has proved that his forte lies in
comic opera.

The Departure was given in Dresden in October 1900, and was a complete
success.

The whole opera teems with bright and merry melodies, wrought-in with
consumate art, and the text, though somewhat frivolous is artistically
adapted to the music.

The principal motive is the love-motive, its strains which run through
the whole opera are not only charming but original.  The orchestration
is in the style at present in vogue, which subordinates the voices more
or less to the music.

The following is a short synopsis of the libretto.

The husband Gilfen rather neglects his pretty wife Louise, while his
friend Trott pays court to her.

In the first scene we find Gilfen undecided, whether to set out on a
journey, or not.

{418}

Trott desiring his absence offers to do everything in his power to
hasten his friend's departure, of course all for friendship's sake.
Gilfen puts him to the test by pretending to need all sorts of things.
He begs Trott to fetch a parcel lying at the custom-house, and weighing
forty pounds; a letter from the post-office, a rose-tree for Louise,
and a travelling-map, which was only to be had at a stationer's shop at
a considerable distance.

Before leaving the house Trott finds an opportunity to tell Louise that
he does all this for her sake only.  Gilfen, finding him with his wife,
sends him on his errands and then leaves Louise to herself.  She is
filled with sadness by her husband's indifference and sings a pretty
song about a youth, who makes love to a maiden, and a man, who neglects
his wife.  Gilfen returns, attracted by the song, and guessing that his
wife still loves him as before he decides to stay at home.

Louise leaves him and Trott returns out of breath and laden with
parcels.  The husband thanks him, but explains that there is still a
letter to be written, for which an important document is needed, and is
to be found in a chest on the next floor.  Trott is hastening away,
when Gilfen implies, that he must have the chest itself.  Seeing the
carriage, waiting outside Trott rushes away, determined to do his
utmost for friendship's sake.  Then Gilfen appears before his wife in
travelling costume.--In the interview, which ensues, Louise shows him
clearly, that her heart is still his, but that she longs {419} for more
tenderness and love.  They are interrupted by Trott's entrance,
dragging in the heavy chest.  Gilfen declares that he has now
everything he wants, and takes an affectionate farewell of his wife and
his friend.

Left alone, the latter loses no time in making love to Louise, but all
he gains is a friendly handshake.  Mistaking her coolness for timidity,
he becomes bolder.  At this moment Gilfen re-enters, telling them, that
his carriage has broken down.  Trott hastens out, to see to its repair
and leaves husband and wife alone.

Now Gilfen owns that the carriage is intact and that he only come back,
because he felt, that he had left the best thing behind him.  "What is
it, that would keep you at home?" asks Louise.  "A wife, who would
plead with a smile: do not go," he answers.--

A pretty duet follows, in which they indulge in sweet reminiscences of
the past, and at last discover, that they still love each other as
fondly as ever.  Embracing her husband Louise whispers smilingly: "Do
not go!"

When Trott returns Gilfen astonishes him by telling him that he has
decided to stay at home.  Trott perceives at last that it is his turn
to go.  While he still lingers, he receives a note from Louise, showing
him unmistakeably, that he is not wanted in their house.  He retires
crestfallen, while Louise and Gilfen gaily wave their hands to the
departing friend.



{420}

DELILA.

An Opera in three Acts by FERDINAND LEMAIRE.

With Music by CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS.

German translation by RICHARD POHL.


The first performance of this opera in Dresden on November 13th 1900
proved a great success.

This opera which was written almost thirty years ago did not meet with
a favourable reception either in France or in any other country.  In
the year 1877 it was however given in Weimar through Liszt's influence,
but fell flat.

At last it was performed in Rouen in 1890, and in November 1892 the
Grand Opera in Paris followed suit.  Since that time it has been one of
the standard operas in Paris.

Its performance in Dresden has shown, that it well deserves its place.--

The vivid contrast between the simple yet stirring choruses of the
Israelites and the pompous and warlike ones of the Philistines, the
exquisite love-song of Samson and Delila, and last but not least the
charming ballet-music, with its truly Eastern character entitle the
opera to rank amongst the very best of the past century.--

The libretto is a biblical one; the scene is laid in Gaza, in
Palestine, 1150 years before Christ.

In the first Act the Israelites, groaning under the yoke of the
Philistines, pray to God for deliverance.  They are derided and
insulted by Abi {421} Melech, satrap of Gaza but Samson, unable longer
to endure the blasphemy hurled by the Heathen against the God of
Israel, rises up in mighty wrath, and so inspires his brethren that
they suddenly take up arms, and precipitating themselves on their
unsuspecting oppressors, first slay Abi Melech and then rout the whole
army of the Philistines.

The high-priest of the heathen god Dagon finding his friend slain, vows
to be avenged upon the Israelites, but he is deserted by all his
companions who flee before Samson's wrath.

In the next scene the Israelites return victorious and are greeted with
triumphant songs and offerings of flowers.  Even the Philistine Delila,
the rose of Sharon receives them with her maidens, and pays homage to
the hero Samson.

Delila had enthralled him once before, and again her beauty causes him
very nearly to forget his people and his duty; but an aged Israelite
implores him not to listen any more to the arts and wiles of the
enchantress.

In the second Act Delila has an interview with the high-priest, whom
she promises to avenge her people by winning Samson's love once more.

She proudly refuses the reward which the high-priest offers her, for it
is her bitter hatred against the hero, who once loved and then forsook
her, which prompts her to ruin him and to force from him by every means
in her power the secret of his strength.

When the high-priest has left her, Samson {422} comes down the steep
mountain path, drawn to Delila's house against his will.  She receives
him with the greatest tenderness, and once more her beauty and her
tears assert their power over him, so that he sinks at her feet and
falters out his love for her.  But in vain she tries to lure his secret
from him.  At last she leaves with words of contempt and scorn and
enters the house.  This proves his undoing.  Goaded beyond earthly
power he rushes after her and seals his fate.  After a while the
Philistines surround the house and Delila herself delivers her
unfortunate lover, whom she has deprived of his strength by cutting off
his locks, into the hands of his foes.--

In the third Act we find Samson in prison.  Bereft of his eye-sight he
has to turn the heavy mill.  From the outside the wailings and
reproaches of his Israelite brethren are heard, who have again been
subjugated by their foes.  Bitterly repentant Samson implores God to
take his life as the price of his people's deliverance.

In the last scene he is led away to Dagon's temple there to be present
at the festival of the Philistines, celebrated with great pomp in
honour of their victory.

On the conclusion, after an exquisite ballet, Delila presents a golden
cup to the blind hero, and insults and jeers at him for having been
fool enough to believe in her love for him, the enemy of her country.
Samson maintains silence, but when they order him to sacrifice {423} at
Dagon's shrine, he whispers to the child, who is guiding him, to lead
him to the pillars of the temple.

This being done he loudly invokes the God of Israel, and seizing the
pillars tears them down with mighty crash, burying the Philistines
under the ruins of the temple.



NAUSIKAA.

Second Part of the Tetralogy: The Odyssey.

Musical Tragedy in three acts and a Prologue by AUGUST BUNGERT.


The first representation of Nausikaa took place in Dresden on March
20th 1901.--The reception was much warmer than that given to Kirke.
Naturally the charming episode of the Phaeakean Princess is far better
adapted to the composer's lyric genuis.

Though the whole music is polyphoneous the easy flow of its melodies is
hardly ever interrupted except in the highly dramatic moments.

There are real pearls of lyric melody in this tragedy, which, totally
different from Kirke's selfish passion glorifies Nausikaa's pure love
for Odysseus, her death of sacrifice and the hero's resignation;--it
might be called a hymn of renunciation.

The sirens' songs in the Prologue are most enticing, the choruses of
Nausikaa's companions treading their dances are lovely; also Odysseus'
"home motive" which expresses his longing for {424} hearth and home, is
very expressive, but Nausikaa's "love motives" surpass all the other
parts in sweetness.

The contents of the libretto are as follows:


Prologue.

Across the calm blue sea in the distance a ship passes.  In it can be
seen the figures of Odysseus and his companions.  They can be heard
lamenting their long absence from home and praying the gods to send
them favourable winds and a speedy return to their native land.

In the foreground is the rocky coast of an island.  Partly hidden by
the high cliffs, sirens may presently be seen looking out for their
prey.  Brilliant, many coloured lights cast a lurid glare over their
hideous den that is full of dead men's bones, out of which roses,
poppies and other flowers have sprung into bloom.  The sirens try to
attract Odysseus and his companions by singing sweetly, and playing
enticing music on weird instruments made out of the bones of their
victims.

Odysseus, however, is on his guard.  He causes his men to stop their
ears with wax, and to bind him fast to the mast of his ship.  The
attempt to lure them is unsuccessful.  Though Persephoneia herself
rises from the depths to aid the sirens, Odysseus' ship sails safely
past and the sirens and their rocks sink into the sea.

But the hostile god Poseidon pursues Odysseus in rage.  Seated in his
cart drawn by sea-horses {425} he strikes the ship with his trident,
and it goes down in the now stormy sea.

Zeus and the friendly gods now interpose.  Poseidon is forced to
withdraw, and, though his companions perish and the ship is wrecked,
the nymph Leukothea brings a magic veil which ensures the hero's safety
and he swims to the shore.


Act I.

Odysseus has landed in the country of the Pheacians.  In the first part
of this act he is lying asleep hidden among the shrubs and trees in the
background.

Nausikaa, the King's daughter has come at the bidding of Athene with
her companions to wash the linen and garments of her family.  While the
clothes are drying in the sun the maidens dance and play at ball.
Their voices and laughter awake Odysseus who rises and shows himself
through the foliage.  Seeing a nearly naked man the girls run away
screaming; only Nausikaa stands still and asks the stranger fearlessly
who he is.  Odysseus tells her his piteous story and his cruel fate.
Nausikaa calls to her maidens to bring raiment for the hero whose name
however she has not yet heard.  A sudden and tender love fills her
heart for the outcast wanderer.  Odysseus too feels drawn towards the
noble maiden, for a moment he forgets his wife and child at home.
Nausikaa invites him to follow her to her father's court and promises
him a kindly reception there.

{426}

As the procession is starting, the sound of horns is heard and King
Alkinous and his followers come up.  Among them are his son Leodamus,
and Prince Euryalos, a would-be suitor of Nausikaa.  The King welcomes
the stranger kindly and invites him to come and stay in his palace.
Euryalos, however, regards Odysseus with suspicion and hostility; he
sees in him at once a favoured rival.  With songs of welcome Odysseus
is greeted by the men and maidens and by the King's side he moves
towards the palace.


Act II.

This scene takes place in front of the palace of King Alkinous.  The
gardens and terraces extend downwards to the shore of the sea that
forms the background.  It is evening.  Youths and maidens are busy
decking pillars and statues with garlands of flowers and making wreaths
to crown the victors in the next day's games.

Odysseus comes out of the palace; he cannot sleep; he thinks of his
home, his father, his wife and child.  He sees a temple to Athene on
the right and resolves to spend the night there praying to the gods to
restore him to his home.  He passes across the stage and goes into the
temple.

Nausikaa now comes out of the palace with some of her companions.  She
presently dismisses them and remains alone in the moonlight.  She prays
to Aphrodite to deliver her from the {427} importunate wooing of
Euryalos and to grant her the love of the stranger.

The vision of Aphrodite appears; with a threatening gesture she seems
to refuse Nausikaa's request.  While Nausikaa sinks fainting on the
steps of the terrace the voice of Euryalos is heard in the background
singing a love song, and soon after he comes forward and stormily
declares his love to Nausikaa who rushes away from him with a cry into
the temple of Athene.  As the bold youth is about to follow Odysseus
appears at the door of the temple and forces Euryalos to retire.  The
baffled suitor rushes upon Odysseus with his drawn sword in blind rage;
but Odysseus instantly disarms him, breaks the sword, and Euryalos
vowing vengeance goes into the palace.

Though deeply moved by Nausikaa's passionate gratitude and affection
for her protector, Odysseus remains faithful to the memory of his wife
and child and prays the gods to help him to be strong.


Act III.

In a great court in front of the gymnasium where games and wrestling
matches are going on a procession of priests and young boys enter
singing; they offer prayers and burn incense before the altars of the
gods, particularly before that of Poseidon the special patron of the
Phaeakens.  Girls and matrons follow in a like procession and deck the
statue and altar of Athene with flowers.  The shouts of the people in
the gymnasium greeting the victors in the games are heard at intervals.

{428}

Among the maidens is Nausikaa.  Her brother Leodamus enters soon
afterwards in great excitement and begs his sister to come and witness
the feats of Euryalos who is victor in all the games.  But she coldly
asks if the stranger has entered into competition with him, and hearing
he has not done so she refuses to go into the gymnasium.

Queen Arete enters and Nausikaa throws herself into her mother's arms.
Arete guesses the truth that her daughter loves the stranger; she
tenderly warns Nausikaa that life is full of disappointments--of
sacrifices.

The King now enters from the gymnasium; beside him walks Odysseus who
had at last been persuaded to wrestle with Euryalos and had entirely
vanquished him.  The people hail Odysseus as victor.  Nausikaa hastens
to him and crowns him with the victor's wreath; she shows her
preference for him in such a marked manner that Euryalos is beside
himself with rage and draws his sword upon Odysseus who in selfdefence
wounds Euryalos severely.

Odysseus then turns to the King and implores him to give him a ship
that he may go back to his own country and family.  These words fall
like a knell upon the heart of Nausikaa; she is led out fainting by her
mother.

The aged poet Homer now enters.  All hail him with joy; the King bids
him sing them a song about Troy.  The blind poet sings the tragic
story--the people join in the chorus.  Odysseus listens; {429} at last
he can keep quiet no longer.  Springing up he goes on with the story
giving his own share in it with such vividness that Nausikaa, who has
stolen back again, rushes forward and cries: "Thou art Odysseus
himself!"  He acknowledges with tears that he is that unhappy man.  The
people greet him with joy and wonder; the King embraces him warmly.
Odysseus relates his sorrows, his wanderings; he speaks of his wife and
child; he implores the King to give him a ship that he may return home.
The King readily promises his help, he gives orders that a ship shall
immediately be prepared and filled with costly gifts.

But the priests see in Odysseus the enemy of their god Poseidon; they
press the King to slay Odysseus--but the King sternly refuses to do so
and orders the High Priest to be bound till Odysseus is safely gone.

Nausikaa's hopes are dashed to the ground; heartbroken she murmurs to
herself her mother's words: "Each human life is a sacrifice, a death
for the dearest in the world."  She slowly goes away and is seen later
standing on a high wall of Athene's temple overlooking the sea.

In the meantime all is ready, the King, Queen and Laodamus accompany
Odysseus to the ship and take leave of him; he goes on board and the
ship moves off.  At this moment the sky is overcast and Poseidon
appears in his car and threatens Odysseus with his trident.

Nausikaa calls to Poseidon to take her for a {430} victim and with a
cry springs into the sea.  The nymphs bear her dead body to Poseidon.
Zeus suddenly appears and drives Poseidon away, while Athene hovers
over Odysseus with shield and lance.  He sails away in safety.



MANRU.

Opera in three acts by J. PADEREWSKI.

Text by ALFRED NOSSIG.


Dresden claims the honour of having first represented the celebrated
Polish pianist's opera.

The performance took place on May 29th 1901, and a closely packed house
showed its approbation in the most enthusiastic manner.

Those who will look out for reminiscences in every new piece of music
find of course that Paderewski is an imitator of Wagner, but though
Manru would probably not have been written without the composer's
intimate knowledge of the Ring of Nibelungen, the melodies and rythm
are entirely his own.  The music is true gypsy music with very much
movement and highly phantastic colouring, reminding us sometimes of
Liszt and Bizet.

The best parts of the opera are the choruses of the village maidens in
the first act, the charming cradle song, the violin solo and the
love-duet in the second and the splendid gipsy music in the last act.

Nossig's libretto is very inferior to the music; its rhymes are often
absolutely trivial.  The scene is laid in the Hungarian Tatra mountain
district.

{431}

Manru a wandering gipsy has fallen in love with a peasant girl Ulana
and has married her against her mother's wishes.

In the first act mother Hedwig laments her daughter's loss.  While the
village lasses are dancing and frolicking Ulana returns to her mother
to ask her forgiveness; she is encouraged by a hunchback Urok, who is
devoted to her, and who persuades the mother to forgive her child, on
condition that she shall leave her husband.  As Ulana refuses, though
she is in dire need of bread, Hedwig sternly shuts her door upon her
daughter.  Ulana turns to Urok, who does his best to persuade her to
leave her husband.

Urok is a philosopher; he warns the poor woman, that gipsy blood is
never faithful, and that the time will come, when Manru will leave wife
and child.

Ulana is frightened and finally obtains from Urok a love potion, by
which she hopes to secure her husband's constancy.

When she tries to turn back into the mountains she is surrounded by the
returning villagers, who tease and torment her and the hunchback, until
Manru comes to their rescue.  But his arrival only awakes the
villagers' wrath, they fall upon him and are about to kill him, when
mother Hedwig comes out and warns them not to touch the outlaws on whom
her curse has fallen.

The second act takes place in Manru's hiding place in the mountains.
The gipsy is tired of the {432} idyll.  He longs for freedom and
quarrels with his wife, whose sweetness bores him.  She patiently rocks
her child's cradle and sings him to rest.  Suddenly Manru hears the
tones of a gipsy fiddle in the distance; he follows the sound and soon
returns with an old gipsy who does his best to lure him back to his
tribe.  But once more love and duty prevail; and when Ulana sweetly
presents him the love-philtre he drains it at one draught, and
immediately feeling the fire of the strong and potent drug, he becomes
cheerful and receives his wife, who has adorned herself with a wreath
of flowers with open arms.

In the third act Manru rushes out of the small, close hut.  His
intoxication is gone; he gasps for air and freedom.  Wearily he
stretches himself on the ground and falls asleep.  The full moon,
shining on him, throws him into a trance, during which he rises to
follow the gipsy tribe whose songs he hears.  In this state he is found
by Asa, the gipsy queen, who loves him and at once claims him as her
own.

But the tribe refuses to receive the apostate, and their chief Oros
pronounces a terrible anathema against him.  However Asa prevails with
her tribe to pardon Manru.

Oros in anger flings down his staff of office and departs, and Manru is
elected chief in his place.

Once more he hesitates, but Asa's beauty triumphs; he follows her and
his own people.

At this moment Ulana appears.  Seeing that {433} her husband has
forsaken her, she implores Urok, who has been present during the whole
scene to bring Manru back to her.--Alas, it is in vain.  When Ulana
sees Manru climbing the mountain path arm in arm with Asa, she drowns
herself in the lake.

But Manru does not enjoy his treachery; Oros, hidden behind the rocks
is on the watch for him and tearing Asa from him, he precipitates his
rival from the rocks into the lake.



FEUERSNOT

(THE PLAGUE OF DARKNESS).

A Lyric Poem (Singgedicht) in one act by ERNST VON WOLZOGEN.

Music by RICHARD STRAUSS.


The new Opera of the highly gifted young Bavarian composer was
represented for the first time in Dresden on November 21st 1901.

This absolutely original composition was received with acclamation, and
it deserves it.  The musical part is so difficult, that it can only be
performed on a few very first rate stages, and it wants many hearings
to take in all its charm of instrumentation and its eminently modern
harmonies and intervals.

The text is very witty and very clever, and quite worthy of the music.
The story is taken from an old Dutch legend of rather free conception.
The scene is laid in Munich; it takes place at the summer solstice in
the far away middle-ages, or, as the author calls it "fabulous no-time."

{434}

The title has a double meaning as the explanation of the plot will show.

A band of merry children wanders from house to house, singing and
demanding wood for the bonfires of the summer solstice.  After having
got a plentiful supply at the burgomaster's house, they cross over to
the opposite house, an old decayed building, called the Wizard's house.
Its inmate at first takes no notice of the children's noisy summons; at
last he appears at the door.

He, Kunrad, is a young dreamer, who has forgotten the outside world
over his books and studies.  But the merry songs wake him suddenly to
life and sunshine.  He gives up his whole house to the uproarious band,
beginning himself to tear down the battered shutters.  The children set
to work to carry off every piece of wood, that is not too firmly
riveted, and Kunrad helps them full of glee.

Suddenly he perceives, Diemuth, the burgomaster's lovely daughter.  His
hitherto perfectly untouched heart catches fire, and all at once he
steps up to her, presses her to his heart and kissing her he
passionately explains: "I will leap through the fire; wilt thou leap
after me?!"

Diemuth, who has all the time been gazing at the stranger like one in a
trance wakes up and turns from him with a cry of shame and indignation.

Kunrad is now attacked on all sides for his impertinence and Diemuth,
turning to her maiden friends, who secretly envy her for the adoration,
{435} the noble stranger has shown her, whispers into their ears, that
she will revenge herself for the disgrace he has brought upon her.

While the evening is setting in the citizens begin to wander out of
town to see the bonfires.

The burgomaster is obliged to walk away alone, after having vainly
tried to persuade his daughter to accompany him.

Diemuth steps into the house, and soon appears on the balcony, combing
her heir.  Kunrad standing at his battered house-door renews his
protestations of love and begs her in passionate terms to let him in.
At first she refuses tartly but by and by she seems to relent, and
pointing to the large basket in which the wood had been let down to the
children she invites him to get into it and says that she will draw him
up.--Kunrad complies with her wish.

While she slowly winds the basket up her three companions peep round
the corner and perceive with delight, that Diemuth's trick is
successful, and that the bird is caught.  The tercet of the maidens is
one of the loveliest pieces of music ever written.

Before the basket reaches the balcony, Diemuth pretends that her
strength is failing.  At his entreaties she loosens and lets down her
long hair, but when he tries to grasp it she jerks it back with a cry
of pain and rates him harshly.--At last he perceives, that she has been
fooling him all the time.  He is helplessly caught in the trap and the
returning citizens seeing him hanging between {436} heaven and earth
deride him, congratulating Diemuth on having caught such a fine bird.

Then Kunrad rises in a towering rage.  Loudly invoking the help of his
friend and master, the mighty sorcerer, he suddenly plunges the whole
town into utter darkness.  When the good citizens of Munich find
themselves deprived of fire and light, they break out into loud
lamentation; the frightened children wail and the head officials of the
town vow to hang Kunrad for his insolence and his witchcraft.

At this moment the moon shining through the clouds throws her light
upon Kunrad, who has swung himself on to the balcony, and smiling down
upon the people he pronounces a powerful oration upon their
narrowmindedness.

He reminds them, that the owner of his house, whom they drove out of
the town, Richard Wagner was one of the greatest masters the world had
ever seen and who would have brought them fame and greatness, if they
had not rejected him.  He, Kunrad (Richard Strauss) claims to be his
successor, who is to carry on the great work nothing daunted, and in
spite of all the small minds of the world.

For his helpmate he has chosen Diemuth, but she too has failed to
understand, that love is higher than even virtue and morality, and for
this reason he has extinguished their lights and fire, to show them,
that all light comes, from love, and that without love the world is
dark and cold.

{437}

As soon as he has ended, Diemuth softly opens her door and draws Kunrad
in.  The citizens, convinced by his burning words begin to praise him
and acknowledge his high courage and good words.  Meanwhile the windows
of Diemuth's chamber begin to gleam faintly; Diemuth and Kunrad have
fulfilled the law of love and all at once, the flames of the bonfires
leap up and the windows and streets are again aglow with the light,
that is given back to the city.



HOFFMANN'S TALES.

A phantastic Opera in three acts by JULES BARBIER.

Music by JACQUES OFFENBACH.


In this opera the composer far surpasses all his other compositions.
It is his swan's song, for he composed it in the summer of 1880 and he
died in October of the same year after having given his best to the
world, a true work of genius, so full of grace, of delicate feeling and
of phantastic loveliness, that nobody can hear it without being
captivated by its sweetness.

The libretto is taken from three different tales of E. Th. A. Hoffmann,
who was not only an author and a poet, but a musician and composer
worthy of note.

His weird tales were much read in the beginning of the last century.

The first scene, a prologue, is laid in Luther's famous wine-cellar in
Nuremberg.

{438}

The hero of the opera, Hoffmann himself is there, drinking with a
number of gay young students, his friends.  He is in a despondent mood
and when urged by his companions to tell them the reason of his
depression, he declares himself ready to relate the story of his three
love adventures, while his friends sit round a bowl of flaming strong
punch.

Now the scene changes and the curtain rises on the first act.  We find
Hoffmann in Spalanzani's house.  This man is a famous physiologist, and
Hoffmann has entered his house as his pupil in order to make the
acquaintance of the professor's beautiful daughter Olympia, whom he has
seen at a distance.

This daughter is nothing more than an automaton, that has been
manufactured by Spalanzani and his friend, the wizard Coppelius.  This
doll can sing, dance and speak like a human being.  Spalanzani hopes to
become rich by means of this clever work of art.  As half of Olympia
(this is the doll's name), belongs to Coppelius, Spalanzani buys her
from him, paying him by a draft on the Jew Elias, though he knows him
to be bankrupt.--Hoffmann has been persuaded by Coppelius to purchase a
pair of spectacles, through which he looks at Olympia, and taking her
for a lovely living maiden falls violently in love with her.

Spalanzani now gives a grand entertainment, at which he presents his
daughter Olympia, (the Automaton), who surprises everybody by her {439}
loveliness and her fine singing.--Hoffmann is completely bewitched and
as soon as he finds himself alone with her, he makes her an ardent
declaration of love and is not at all discouraged by her sitting stock
still and only answering from time to time a dry little "ja, ja".  At
last he tries to embrace her, but as soon as he touches her she rises
and trips away.

Hoffmann's friend Niklas finds him in the seventh heaven of rapture and
vainly endeavours to enlighten him as to the reason of the beauty's
stiffness and heartlessness.

When the dancing begins Hoffmann engages Olympia, and they dance on,
always faster and faster, until Hoffmann sinks down in a swoon, his
spectacles being broken by the fall.  Olympia spins on alone as fast as
ever and presently dances out of the room, Cochenille vainly trying to
stop her.  Coppelius now enters in a fury having found out that
Spalanzani's draft on Elias is worthless.  He rushes to the room, into
which Olympia has vanished and when Hoffmann revives he hears a
frightful sound of breaking and smashing, and Spalanzani bursts in with
the news that Coppelius has broken his valuable automaton.  Thus
Hoffmann learns that he has been in love with a senseless doll.  The
guests, who now enter shout with laughter at his confusion, while
Spalanzani and Coppelius load each other with abuse.

The second act takes place in Giulietta's palace in Venice.  Everything
breathes joy and love.--Both Niklas and Hoffmann are courting the
beautiful lady.  {440} Niklas warns his friend against her, but
Hoffmann only laughs at the idea that he is likely to love a courtezan.
The latter is entirely in the hand of the wizard Dapertutto, who acts
towards Hoffmann as an evil spirit under three different names in each
of his three love affairs.  Giulietta has already stolen for him the
shadow of her former lover Schlemihl; now Dapertutto wounds her vanity,
by telling her, that Hoffmann has spoken disdainfully of her, and makes
her promise to win the young man's love and by that means to make him
give her his reflection from a looking-glass.

She succeeds easily, and there ensues a charming love-duet, during
which they are surprised by the jealous Schlemihl.  Giulietta tells
Hoffmann, that her former lover has the key of her apartments in his
pocket, she then departs leaving the two lovers and Dapertutto alone.
When Hoffmann peremptorily demands the key from Schlemihl the latter
refuses to give it up.  The result is a duel, for which Dapertutto
offers Hoffmann his sword.--

After a few passes Schlemihl is killed and Dapertutto disappears.  A
few moments afterwards Giulietta's gondola passes before the balcony
and Hoffmann sees her leaning on Dapertutto's arm, singing a mocking
farewell to the poor deserted lover.

The third act takes place in Rath Krespel's house.  His daughter
Antonia has inherited her mother's gift of a beautiful voice, but alas,
also her tendency to consumption.  The greatest joy of her {441} life
is singing, which however her father has forbidden, knowing this
exertion to be fatal to his darling.

She is engaged to be married to Hoffmann, but Krespel is averse to the
marriage, seeing in it another danger for his daughter's health, as
Hoffmann is musical and encourages Antonia to sing.  Krespel has
forbidden his servant Franz to let anybody see Antonia, while he goes
out of the house, but Franz, who is very deaf, misunderstands his
master's orders and joyously welcomes his mistress's suitor.  A
delicate love-scene follows, during which Antonia shows her lover, that
her voice is as fine as ever.  When they hear Krespel returning Antonia
retires to her own room, but Hoffmann hides himself in an alcove,
determined to learn why Antonia is so closely hidden from the world.

Immediately after the father's return Doctor Mirakel enters; Krespel is
mortally afraid of this mysterious man, as he believes him to have
killed his wife by his drugs and that now he aims at his daughter's
life.

This Mirakel is a demon, who acts as in the two former instances as
Hoffmann's evil genius.--From the conversation of the two men Hoffmann
learns the secret of his bride's dangerous inheritance, and when
Mirakel has at last been driven out of the room, and Krespel has left
it too; the lovers both come back again.  Hoffmann by earnest entreaty
succeeds in gaining Antonia's promise never to sing any more.  But when
he has left Mirakel {442} returns and by invoking the spirit of her
mother he goads her on to break her promise.  She begins to sing and he
urges her on, until she sinks back exhausted.  It is thus that her
father and her lover find her, and after a few sweet words of farewell
she dies in their arms.

The Epilogue takes us back to Luther's cellar, where Hoffmann's
companions are still sitting over their punch, the steam of which forms
clouds over their heads, while they thank their poor, heart-broken
friend for his three stories with ringing cheers.



THE ALPINE KING AND THE MISANTHROPE.

Opera in three acts by LEO BLECH.

Text by RICHARD BATKA.


The young composer, who is already conductor of the orchestra of the
German Opera in Prague made his debut last year in a small one-act
opera, called "That was I"--, the music of which is pretty and shows
remarkable talent.  There is however enormous progress to be observed
in "The Alpine King".  Blech, although following in Wagner's footsteps,
has a style of his own.  His modulations are bold, often daring; his
dissonances are frequent but they are fully compensated for by the most
charming folk-songs.  He has the courage to introduce melodies freely,
in this respect he is one among a thousand.  In his modern style of
orchestration too he shows {443} himself to be full of resource, while
more especially in those passages, where the spirit-world comes into
play, there is a display of tone-effects of great beauty, which are
perhaps too elaborate for the simple subject, but the Cottage scene,
and the simple Tirolean-songs of the peasants are all the more graceful
by contrast; one of the most charming songs in the Polka-air in f:
"Fair are Roses and Jessamine".

Batka, the writer of the libretto, has taken his subject from Raimund's
beautiful folk-story of the same name.  He has done it with skill but
not without some weak passages.

The scene opens in a Tirolean mountain district.  Marthe, Rappelkopf's
daughter, and her servant Lieschen, while making a nosegay of wild
flowers, are waiting for Marthe's lover Hans, a poor musician, who
after having been rejected by his sweetheart's father has absented
himself for some time, in order to make himself perfect in his art by
studying under the great masters in Italy.  Lieschen is much afraid of
the Alpine King on whose ground they are sitting, and of whom the
legend says, that he turns young girls into old women, if they dare to
look at him.  Marthe has more sense, she is sure that the lord of these
grand mountains must be good and just.  While the girls are busy wilh
their garlands, Hans comes up the steep path and is joyously greeted by
his fiancee.  He has become a man and is full of hope that he will now
be able to satisfy Herr Rappelkopf, but Marthe sadly tells {444} him,
how morbid and misanthropic her father has become, so that she does not
even dare to mention her lover's name.  Suddenly a shot is heard and a
bird falls dead at their feet.  Turning to look at the unwelcome
intruder they find themselves face to face with a strange old man; who,
when they ask him who he is, replies quickly: "I am the King of the
Alps".  Dreadfully frightened Lieschen and Marthe look at each other in
consternation, but finding that their sweet young faces are unchanged,
they take courage, and kneeling before the majestic traveller they
implore his help and blessing, which the latter willingly promises.

The second scene takes place in Rappelkopf's house.  Lieschen comes to
look for the man servant Habakuk, who is very much in love with her.
She treats him rather scornfully, being averse to his peculiar style of
love-making, and the French phrases with which he adorns his speeches
and which she does not understand.  He takes the greatest pride in the
fact that he has lived for two years in Paris, and he continually
refers to that glorious time.  Rappelkopf taking his servants by
surprise pours forth a volley of abuse upon them; he is interrupted by
the appearance of his daughter and Hans, whom he receives just as
badly.  In vain his wife Sabine implores him to listen to reason; in
his wrath he abuses her too, so that she leaves him broken-hearted,
sighing, that she would rather see him dead than in such a state of
mind.  Shortly after Habakuk comes forward with a kitchen-knife, {445}
with which he is going to cut chiccory in the garden.  Rappelkopf no
sooner perceives the knife that his wits take leave of him altogether;
and he actually believes that Habakuk has been sent by his wife to
murder him.  Making for one door he meets Hans and Marthe, turning to
another he sees Habakuk, and at last trying to escape by the garden
door his wife stops him, but he pushes her aside, and with frantic
vociferations he rushes away.

The second act opens in front of a cottage in the Alpine regions; Veit
the joiner is busy at his bench singing all the while and rejoicing in
the prospect of the coming Festival.  His wife Katherine is busy
washing and his daughter is sitting at her wheel spinning and singing,
while his son is playing about merrily.  At last the joiner throws down
his plane disregarding the remonstrances of his wife, who still goes on
with her washing and complains bitterly of her light hearted and lazy
family.  Thus they are found by Rappelkopf, whose fancy is at once
struck by position of the solitary little cottage.  He desires to buy
it and offers three hundred thalers for it on condition that he shall
enter in immediate possession.  The astonished workman consents to this
bargain without more ado, too happy at this unexpected piece of good
luck to think of anything else.  Rappelkopf gruffly orders the whole
family to pack off instantly.  Father and children prepare to depart
laughing and singing, but Katherine takes leave of her humble home with
bitter tears.

{446}

When Rappelkopf finds himself alone he is quite delighted by the
complete solitude and grandeur of the surrounding mountains and
glaciers, but soon darkness comes over the scene and with it uneasiness
and fear take possession of the lonely man.  At last he can stand the
loneliness no longer and on his cry for help, Astragalus the Alpine
King appears frightening him almost to death.  Astragalus however
merely advises him to return to his family, whom he left in sorrow and
anxiety.  But Rappelkopf's hatred of mankind knows no bounds; he
remains deaf to the good king's remonstrances.  At last the latter
determines to make Rappelkopf see his behaviour in its true light.  To
this end he promises to metamorphose the misanthrope into the exact
likeness of his own brother in law, in which form he is to return home
on the following morning in order to test the real feelings of his wife
and daughter.

Astragalus makes him swear that he will not persist in his obstinacy
should he find out his error, and Rappelkopf consents, making the king
promise in his turn to destroy all the inhabitants of the place, should
his hate for them be justified.  Both take solemn oaths, after which
Astragalus touches Rappelkopf's forehead, making him fall asleep while
a sweet chorus of fairies lulls the unhappy man into sweet slumber.

The third act opens in Rappelkopf's house.  Marthe and Lieschen are
waiting for the return of the neighbours who have gone in search of the
lost {447} father.  Marthe is in great anxiety, she has almost ceased
to hope for the Alpine King's help.  Suddenly the stage-coach arrives
bringing Sabine's brother, whom his sister had summoned in her despair.
It is Rappelkopf himself in the likeness of uncle Joseph.  He is
greeted with enthusiasm, but remarking his wife's sad looks, he
observes that she ought to be glad to be rid of the maniac who has
treated her so badly.  Sabine however stands up for her husband,
affirming that she loves him as much as ever, though a strange
alienation of mind has sadly changed him.  Rappelkopf does not believe
her; he asks why she should suppose such a thing.  Sabine relates the
scene with Habakuk, who, having been sent by her into the garden with a
kitchen-knife to cut some vegetables, was regarded as a murderer by her
insane husband, who had fled at once.  This explanation moves
Rappelkopf deeply, and when Marthe begs him earnestly to assure her
father when he sees him of her deep filial love, and to speak in favour
of Hans without whom she cannot live, he kisses her tenderly and then
begs to be left alone for a short time.  They all leave him, but almost
immediately afterwards Rappelkopf hears a great uproar, which Habakuk
explains by announcing the return of his master, who seems to be in a
more frantic state than ever.

Astragalus now enters transformed into the appearance of Rappelkopf.
He pushes Hans before him overwhelming him with a volley of abuse.  The
real Rappelkopf, coming forward to greet his {448} brother-in-law, is
received no better.  When Rappelkopf mentions Sabine, Astragalus speaks
of her exactly in the same way as Rappelkopf had formerly done, calling
her a murderess, a dragon etc.; in fact he behaves in such a manner
that Rappelkopf begins to be afraid of his own (Rappelkopf's) image.
Astragalus having shut himself up in his own room now rings violently;
both servants rush forward at his call, but neither of them dares to
enter the tyrant's apartment.  Rappelkopf, already heartily ashamed of
himself now asks the servants what their opinion is about their master
and receives the instant reply, that he is a madman, of whom everybody
is afraid.--They confess their attachment to each other, and entreat
the supposed uncle Joseph to try to bring their master back to reason,
and to put in a good word for them about their wedding.  The uncle
promises everything, and having got a knife from Habakuk he goes into
the garden to cut some roses for Sabine.  Habakuk and his sweet-heart
are left alone and exchange a few words, but they timidly separate when
Astragalus enters.  However he takes no notice of them, but looking out
of the window he perceives Rappelkopf, returning from the garden with
the knife and a bunch of roses.  Rappelkopf no sooner sees his double,
than he tries to slink off unobserved, but Astragalus detains him and
pointing to the knife in his hand abuses him in the very language which
Rappelkopf had formerly used, calling him murderer, robber, monster
and--man.

{449}

The poor misanthrope screams for help and the whole family rushing in
Astragalus turns his wrath upon them, cursing them one and all.  This
is too much for Rappelkopf.  "Enough of the play" he cries, "I was a
madman and a sinner, not he, but I am Rappelkopf, and I freely confess
that my hatred towards mankind in general and especially against my own
dear family was as wicked as it was unfounded!"  At these word a peal
of thunder is heard and the room becomes dark.  When the light returns,
Astragalus has vanished and Rappelkopf stands before his family in his
own form.  Deeply moved, he begs pardon of every one, he embraces his
faithful wife and daughter and unites the two pairs of lovers, Martha
and Hans--Lieschen and Habakuk.



MANON.

Opera in four acts by J. MASSENET.

Text by HENRY MEILHAC and PHILIPPE GILLE.


The subject of this opera is based on Prevost's famous novel "Manon
Lescaut".  The libretto is much weaker than the story, but the music is
most graceful and charming, and quite makes up for the defects of the
text.

The scene is laid in France in 1721.

The first act takes place in the courtyard of a large inn at Amiens.

Several young cavaliers are amusing themselves by paying attentions to
three pretty ladies.  They {450} impatiently call upon their host to
bring dinner, and at last it is brought to them in great state.

While they are dining in the large saloon above, the stage-coach
arrives with a great number of travellers; amongst them is young Manon,
a country girl of sixteen; this is her first journey which alas is to
end in a convent, an arrangement made by her parents who think her
taste for worldly pleasures is greater than it should be.  She is
expected by her cousin Lescaut, a Garde du Corps, and while he is
looking for her luggage, the young beauty is accosted by
Guillot-Marfontaine, an old roue, and rich farmer, who annoys her with
his equivocal speeches, and offers her a seat in his carriage.  He is
quickly driven away by Lescaut on his return; the young man is however
enticed away by his comrades to play a game of cards, for which purpose
he leaves his cousin a second time.  Before long another cavalier
approaches Manon; this time it is the Chevalier de Grieux, a young
nobleman, whose good looks and charming manners please the young girl
much better.  They quickly fall in love with each other, and when de
Grieux offers to take her to Paris Manon gladly consents, thankful to
escape the convent.  Remembering Guillot's offer she proposes to make
use of the farmer's carriage, and they drive gaily off, just before
Lescaut returns to look for his cousin.  When this worthy soldier hears
that the fugitives have gone off in Guillot's carriage, he abuses the
farmer with great fury and swears, that {451} he will not rest, until
he shall have found his little cousin.

The second act takes place in a poorly furnished apartment in Paris.

De Grieux is about to write to his father, whom he hopes to reconcile
to his purpose of marrying Manon, by telling him of the girl's beauty,
of her youth and innocence.  They are interrupted by the entrance of
Lescaut, who, accompanied by de Bretigny, another victim of Manon's
charms, comes to avenge the honour of the family.  While Grieux takes
Lescaut aside and pacifies him by showing him the letter he has just
written, de Bretigny tells Manon, that her lover will be kidnapped this
very evening by his father's orders.  Manon protests warmly against
this act of tyranny, but de Bretigny warns her that her interference
would only bring greater harm to both of them, while riches, honours
and liberty will be hers, if she lets things take their course.

Manon who on the one hand sincerely loves de Grieux while on the other
hand she has a longing for all the good things of this world, is very
unhappy but allows herself to be tempted.  When de Grieux leaves her to
post his letter she takes a most tender farewell of the little table at
which they have so often sat, of the one glass from which they both
drank, and of all the objects around.  De Grieux finding her in tears,
tries to console her by picturing the future of his dreams, a little
cottage in the wood, where they are to {452} live for ever happy and
contented.  A loud knock interrupts them, Manon, knowing what will
happen tries to detain him, but he tears himself from her and opening
the door is at once seized and carried off.

The third act opens on the promenade Cour-la-Reine in Paris, a scene of
merry making where all the buying, selling and amusements of a great
fair are going on.

The pretty ladies of the first act, Yavotte, Poussette and Rosette are
being entertained by new lovers, while rich old Guillot looks in vain
for a sweetheart.

Manon, who appears on de Bretigny's arm, is the queen of the festival.
She has stifled the pangs of conscience which had troubled her when she
left de Grieux, and her passion of jewels and riches is as insatiable
as ever.  Guillot, who hears that de Bretigny has refused to comply
with her last wish, which is to order the ballet of the grand opera to
dance in the open market-place for her own amusement, rushes off to pay
for this whim himself, hoping thereby to gain the young lady's favour.

Manon slowly wanders about in search of new and pretty things to buy,
while Bretigny suddenly finds himself face to face with the old count
de Grieux.  When he asks for news of his son, the count tells him, that
the young man has renounced the world and become an Abbe and is a
famous preacher at Saint Sulpice.  He cuts de Bretigny's {453}
expressions of astonishment short by telling him, that this turn of
things is due to de Bretigny's own conduct, meaning that the latter had
done a bad turn to his friend by crossing his path in relation to a
certain pretty young lady.  De Bretigny indicating his lady-love by a
gesture says: "That is Manon", and the count, perceiving her beauty
quite understands his son's infatuation.

But Manon's quick ears have also caught bits of the conversation and
beckoning to her lover she sends him away to buy a golden bracelet for
her.  She then approaches the count and asks him, if his son has quite
overcome his passion for the lady whom she says was a friend of hers.
The old man acknowledges, that his son had had a hard struggle with his
love and grief but adds "one must try and forget" and Manon repeats the
words and falls into a fit of sad musing.

Meanwhile Guillot has succeeded in bringing the ballet-dancers who
perform a beautiful gavotte and other dances.  When these are ended he
turns to Manon in hope of a word of praise, but the wilful beauty only
turns from him to order her carriage, which is to take her to Saint
Sulpice, saying lightly to Guillot that she has not cared to look at
the ballet after all.

The next scene takes place in the parlour of the seminary in Saint
Sulpice.  A crowd of ladies has assembled to praise the new Abbe's fine
preaching.  They at last disperse, when the young Abbe enters with
downcast eyes.  He {454} is warmly greeted by his father, who has
followed him.  The father at first tries to persuade him to give up his
newly chosen vocation before he finally takes the vows, but seeing him
determined, the Count hands him over his mother's inheritage of 30,000
Lires [Transcriber's note: Livres?] and then bids him good-bye.  The
young man retires to find strength and forgetfulness in prayer.

When he returns to the parlour he finds Manon.  She has also prayed
fervently, that God would pardon her and help her to win back her
lover's heart.  A passionate scene ensues, in which Manon implores his
forgiveness and is at last successful, De Grieux opens his arms to her
and abandons his vocation.

The fourth act opens in the luxurious drawing-rooms of a great Paris
Hotel.  Games of hazard and lively conversation are going on
everywhere.  Manon arriving with de Grieux is joyously greeted by her
old friends.  She coaxes her lover to try his luck at play and is
seconded by her cousin Lescaut, himself an inveterate gambler, who
intimates that fortune always favours a beginner.  Guillot offers to
play with de Grieux, and truly fortune favours him.  After a few turns,
in which Guillot loses heavily, the latter rises accusing his partner
of false play.

The Chevalier full of wrath is about to strike him, but the others hold
him back and Guillot escapes, vowing vengeance.  He soon returns with
the police headed by the old Count de Grieux, to {455} whom he
denounces young de Grieux as a gambler and a cheat and points out Manon
as his accomplice.  Old Count de Grieux allows his son to be arrested,
telling him he will soon be released.  Poor Manon is seized by the
guards, though all the spectators, touched by her youth and beauty beg
for her release.  The old Count says she only gets her deserts.

The last scene takes place on the highroad leading to Havre.  Cousin
Lescaut meets de Grieux whom he had promised to try to save Manon from
penal servitude by effecting her escape.  Unfortunately the soldiers he
employed had meanly deserted him, on hearing which de Grieux violently
upbraids him.  Lescaut pacifies the desperate nobleman by saying that
he has thought of other means of rescuing Manon.  Soon the waggons
conveying the convicts to their destination are heard approaching.  One
of these waggons stops.  Lescaut, accosting one of the soldiers in
charge hears that Manon is inside, dying.  He begs that he may be
allowed to take a last farewell of his little cousin, and bribing the
man with money he succeeds in getting Manon out of the waggon,
promising to bring her to the nearest village in due time.

Manon sadly changed totters forward and finds herself clasped in her
lover's arms.  For a little while the two forget all their woes in the
joy of being together; Manon deeply repents of her sins and follies and
humbly craves his pardon, while {456} he covers her wan face with
kisses.  Then he tries to raise her, imploring her to fly with him, but
alas release has come too late, she sinks back and expires in her
lover's embrace.



ODYSSEUS' DEATH.

Fourth Part of the Odyssey in three acts by AUGUST BUNGERT.


This last part of the Tetralogy bears more decided indications of
Wagner's influence than the others do; and though strikingly beautiful
in many ways it fails to excite quite the same interest as the others,
because it reminds us too much of the Nibelungen Ring, especially of
Siegfried; nevertheless it deserves attention as the conclusion of the
whole series and also on account of Bungert's adopting a later version
of the story of Odysseus, whom Bungert does not suffer to die
peacefully in his old age, but makes him fight as a hero to the very
last.

The prelude opens in Kirke's gardens.  The nymphs of the spring are
singing to her, while her son Telegonos, a youth of 15 is playing with
a lion.  Kirke has often spoken to her son of his glorious father, whom
he never saw and now his curiosity is awakened, and he asks his mother,
why his father never comes home to her.  Kirke now thinks that the time
is come when she should reveal the story of her love to her son.  He
hears that his father is no god, but a human hero who after a short
time of bliss remembered his earthly wife {457} Penelopeia, and
returned to her, leaving the goddess alone and broken
hearted.--Telegonos determines to go forth in search of the hero of
Troy and hopes to bring him back to his mother's arms.  Kirke presents
him with the golden cup, from which Odysseus once drank the magic
draught of forgetfulness; she hopes to remind him thereby of their past
bliss and thus to win him back.

The first act takes place in Thesprotia.  Odysseus has just returned
from a victory over the friends and relations of the insolent suitors
he had slain on his return home; he has conquered their country and is
now greeted with acclamations of joy by his warriors.  Despoina, queen
of Thesprotia, and once Penelope's attendant has been made prisoner and
is to be put to death, but Telemachos, Odysseus' son fascinated by her
beauty, intercedes for her.  Odysseus resolves to let the oracle of
Dodona decide her fate and Despoina is led back to the tent, but
manages on the way to whisper to Telemachos, that she will expect him
during the night.

Left alone, she intoxicates the guard by means of a sleeping-draught,
and so Telemachos enters the tent unobserved.  At first she beguiles
him with a great show of tenderness.  When he asks her from whence she
comes, she tells him, that she never knew father nor mother, but that
her nurse revealed to her that she is the daughter of Poseidon and of
Persephone.  After her nurse's death she became a priestess in
Poseidon's temple, where she had seen Hyperion, with whom she had
fallen in love, and {458} whom she had followed to Ithaka.  There her
lover having fallen under the spell of Penelope's beauty like all the
others, and having met with an untimely death, Despoina had sworn
vengeance on the whole house of Odysseus and to this end had married
the barbarian king of Thesprotia.  At this Telemachos turns
shudderingly away from this mysterious woman and she makes use of the
opportunity to take up his sword, with which she secretly and swiftly
stabs the guard, sleeping heavily outside the tent.  Then she tries
again to gain ascendency over Telemachos, by assuring him of her love,
but though full of pity for the unhappy and beautiful woman he turns
from her and flies.  A short time afterwards Odysseus enters to visit
his captive, she also tries her arts on him but in vain, Odysseus
hearing the shouts of his soldiers, leaves her, and all set out for
Dodona.

The next scene shows the grove of Dodona with Jupiter's temple, bearing
the inscription: Know thyself.

The priests sacrifice to the god singing: "Zeus (Jupiter) is, Zeus was,
Zeus will be."  Odysseus brings costly offerings and the three
Peleiades appear, warning Odysseus not to slay Despoina, as vengeance
belongs to Zeus alone but in vain Odysseus insists that she must die.
Then the prophetesses grow wilder in their threats and the priests in
dark words predict to Odysseus an untimely death through his own son;
the sky becomes dark, the sacred spring bubbles and steams.  Odysseus
goaded to madness by Telemachos' entreaties for the life {459} of
Despoina the worst foe of his house, draws his sword upon his son.  The
latter throws away his weapons and offers his bare breast to his
beloved father's stroke while the priests cry: "Woe to thee Odysseus!"
Then the unhappy father coming to his senses seizes Despoina and drags
her away, while the water quakes from the earth and the Peleiades tear
their hair in wild despair.--

The prelude to the second act takes place in the grotto of the nymphs
at Ithaka, where Telegonos has landed with his companions after a hard
fight with the inhabitants of the island.  Resting beside a spring he
sees the reflection of his own image in it, and he begins to dream
about his father and to long for his mother.  This song, and the whole
scene, with the water fairies emerging from the waves to look at the
young hero remind very much of the scene between Siegfried and the
Rhine-daughters.--The curtain falls and the first scene of the second
act opens with the triumphant return of Odysseus to his palace.

He has conquered all his enemies and is joyously greeted by his people.
Eumaeos however meets him with the bad news that during his master's
absence a new enemy had appeared and had ravaged the country.--

Odysseus vows that he will drive the enemy off.  He turns lovingly to
his faithful Queen and assures her that he will now lay down the sword
for the spade and will labour to insure peace and happiness to all
those countries that are now his own.  He {460} is however not without
forebodings of evil remembering the prophesy: "When once thou
exchangest the sword for the spade, then will the close of thy day be
near."

Despoina's entrance interrupts this happy meeting.  The she-devil dares
to attack even Penelope's virtue, she goads Odysseus to fury, so that
he is about to stab her.  But when she tears open her dress, mockingly
presenting her bosom to his sword, he turns from her ordering the
guards to take her away and to put her to death on the following
morning.

The next scene again shows Telegonos sleeping.  Despoina awakes him.
She has escaped from prison and, disguised as a young warrior has
hastened hither to warn Telegonos.  He receives her warnings with
laughter for fear is unknown to him.  When he calls his lions she
faints with fright.  Trying to revive her he opens her coat of mail and
takes off her helmet and thus perceives that she is a woman.  At this
discovery his heart is suddenly inflamed with love for Despoina who is
also madly in love with Telegonos.  A passionnate love scene follows,
ending by Telegonos telling her, that he is searching for his father
Odysseus.  She offers to show him the way, and armed with a sword she
places herself with Telegonos at the head of his soldiers.--

In the third act Odysseus appears alone, stunned and terrified by his
enemy's striking resemblance to Kirke.  Wearied to death he lies down
{461} on a mossy bank and falls asleep.  In his dream the three Fates
appear before him; they have woven the web of his life which is
approaching its end; Klotho lowers the distaff, Lachesis breaks the
thread and the balance in Atropos' hand sinks.  Odysseus awakening
finds himself face to face with Telemachos, who once more throws
himself in his father's arms, having thrown down his sword, and proving
his love and faith in every way.  Odysseus, at last persuaded of his
affection returns his embrace.  Hearing that Despoina is leading the
enemy to battle he bids Telemachos to take her captive alive or dead,
on which the son hastens away at once.  Odysseus about to join his
warriors is hindered by Telegonos, who attacks him.  The unhappy father
only defends himself feebly, quite unable to slay the radiant young
hero.  Suddenly the news reaches him, that the enemy headed by Despoina
is gaining ground.  Telegonos hearing her shouts is about to join her
when Odysseus bars his way with those words: "Dos't know with whom thou
fightest?  I am Odysseus."--Alas, Telegonos cannot believe that this
old and evidently decrepit man should be the famous hero; he reviles
him, pressing him hard.  When his companions' shouts of victory reach
his ears he throws down his lance, and attacks Odysseus with his
sword.--This is observed by Despoina, who has come up unobserved and
picking up Telegonos' lance she with it stabs Odysseus in the back.

The hero falls, and Telegonos full of joy is about to embrace Despoina,
when she pushes him {462} back and pointing to the dying man says:
"There lies thy father!  Odysseus behold thy son!"  Telegonos staggers
back but as he is forced to recognize the awful truth he rushes upon
the murderess with his drawn sword.  Despoina however is too quick for
him and stabs herself with her own dagger.--

In deep sorrow Telegonos kneels beside his father who embraces him
tenderly.  Thus they are found by Penelope and Telemachos.  Only now
does Odysseus confess the truth about his love for Kirke to his
faithful wife, whom he had wanted to save from pain by withholding the
knowledge of his infidelity.  After a touching farewell Odysseus joins
the hands of the two brothers and blessing his family and his people he
dies erect, like the hero he has always been.



TOSCA.

Musical Drama in three acts by V. SARDOU, L. ILLICA and G. GIACOSA.

Music by GIACOMO PUCCINI.


The libretto of this opera is adapted from Sardou's tragedy of the same
name; it possesses all the exquisite stage effects of which this writer
is capable.  It is based on fact; these most tragic events having
actually taken place in Rome in 1800 at the time of the battle of
Marengo.

The music far surpasses the libretto, although {463} the latter handles
the dreadful facts with as much delicacy as possible.

Puccini may fairly be called the most gifted among Italian composers.
In Tosca especially he has shown the ennobling influence of music over
an otherwise repulsive theme.  The lovely melodies inspire us with a
warm interest in all the persons of the play, with the exception of
Scarpia, that living incarnation of evil and corruption.  The leading
melodies that introduce Scarpia are almost brutal in their tone; the
three intervals of B flat, A flat and E which accompany Scarpia from
the beginning through the whole drama sound hard and inexorable like
fate, and form a striking contrast to the songs of the two lovers,
whose duet in the third act is one of the sweetest things ever written.

The scene is laid in Rome.  The first act takes place in the church of
Sant' Andrea della Valle.  Cesare Angelotti a state-prisoner has
escaped from gaol and is hiding in a private chapel of which his
sister, the Lady Attavanti, has secretly sent him the key.

When he has disappeared from view the painter Cavaradossi enters the
church.  He is engaged in painting a picture to represent Mary
Magdalen; the canvass stands on a high easel and the sacristan, who is
prowling about, recognizes with scandalized amazement and indignation
that the sacred picture resembles a beautiful lady, who comes to pray
daily in the church.  The old man, after having {464} left a basket
with food for the painter, retires grumbling at this sacrilege.

When he is gone Angelotti comes forward, and the painter recognizing in
the prisoner the Consul of the late Roman Republic who is at the same
time an intimate friend of his own, puts himself at his disposal, but
hearing the voice of his fiancee Tosca, who demands entrance he begs
the prisoner, a victim of the vile Scarpia, to retire into the chapel,
giving him the refreshments, which the sacristan has left.

At last he opens the church-door, and Tosca, a famous singer enters
looking suspiciously around her, for she is of a jealous disposition.
She begs her lover to wait for her at the stage door in the evening.
He assents and tries to get rid of her, when her suspicions are
reawakened by the sight of the picture, which she sees is a portrait of
the Lady Attavanti.  With difficulty he succeeds in persuading her of
his undying love and at last induces her to depart; he then enters the
chapel, and urges Angelotti to fly, while the way is clear.  The chapel
opens into a deserted garden from whence a foot-path leads to the
painter's villa, in which there is a well now nearly dry.  Into this
well the painter advises Angelotti to descend if there is any danger of
pursuit, as half way down there is an opening leading to a secret cave
where his friend will be in perfect safety.

The Lady Attavanti had left a woman's clothes for her brother, to wear
as a disguise.  He takes {465} them up and turns to go, when the report
of a cannon tells him that his flight from the fortress is discovered.
With sudden resolution Cavaradossi decides to accompany the fugitive,
to help him to escape from his terrible enemy.

In the next scene acolytes, scholars and singers enter the church
tumultuously.  They have heard that Napoleon has been defeated and all
are shouting and laughing, when Scarpia, the chief of the Police enters
in search of the fugitive.  Turning to the sacristan he demands to be
shown the chapel of the Attavanti, which to the amazement of the
sacristan is found open.  It is empty, but Scarpia finds a fan, on
which he perceives the arms of the Attavanti, then he sees the picture
and hears that Tosca's lover, Cavaradossi has painted it.  The basket
with food is also found, empty.  During the discussion that ensues,
Tosca enters, much astonished to find Scarpia here instead of her
lover.  The chief of the police awakens her jealousy by showing her the
fan, which he pretends to have found on the scaffolding.  Tosca,
recognizing the arms of the Attavanti is goaded almost to madness by
the wily Scarpia.  When she departs three spies are ordered to follow
her.

The second act takes place in Scarpia's luxurious apartments in an
upper story of the Farnese palace.

Scarpia is expecting Tosca, who is to sing this evening at the Queen's
festival.  He has decided to take her for his Mistress, and to put her
lover {466} to death as well as Angelotti, as soon as he has got hold
of both.  Spoletta, a police-agent informs his chief, that he followed
Tosca to a solitary villa which she left again, alone, very soon after
she had entered it.

Forcing his way into the villa he had only found the painter
Cavaradossi whom he had at once arrested and brought to the palace.

Cavaradossi who is now brought in, denies resolutely any knowledge of
the escaped prisoner.  When Tosca enters he embraces her, whispering
into her ear not to betray anything she had witnessed in his villa.

Meanwhile Scarpia has called for Roberts, the executioner, and Mario is
led into the torture chamber that adjoins Scarpia's apartment.  Scarpia
vainly questions Tosca about her visit to the villa; she assures him,
that she found her lover alone.  Then she hears her lover's groans,
which are growing more fearful, the torture under Scarpia's directions
being applied with more and more violence.  In the intervals Mario
however entreats Tosca to be silent, but at last she can bear no more,
and gasps "In the well, in the garden."  Scarpia at once gives a signal
to stop the torture and Mario is carried in fainting and covered with
blood.  When he comes to himself he hears Scarpia say to Spoletta "In
the well, in the garden," and thereby finds out that Tosca has betrayed
the unfortunate prisoner.  While he turns from her in bitter grief and
indignation, Sciarrone enters and announces in {467} the greatest
consternation, that the news of victory have proved false, Napoleon
having beaten the Italian army at Marengo.  Mario exults in the defeat
of his enemy, but the latter turns to him with an evil smile and orders
the gendarmes to take him away to his death.  Tosca tries to follow
him, but Scarpia detains her.  Remaining alone with him, she offers him
all her treasures and at last kneels to him imploring him to save her
lover.  But the villain only shows her the scaffold which is being
erected on the square below, swearing that he will only save her lover
if she will be his.  Tosca turns shuddering from him.  Spoletta now
enters to announce that Angelotti being found and taken has killed
himself; and that Mario is ready for death.

Now at last Tosca yields, Scarpia promising to liberate her lover at
the price of her honour.  He suggests however that Mario must be
supposed dead, and that a farce must be acted, in which the prisoner is
to pretend to fall dead while only blank cartridges will be used for
firing.  Tosca begs to be allowed to warn him herself and Scarpia
consents and orders Spoletta to accompany her to the prison at 4
o'clock in the morning, after having given the spy private instructions
to have Mario really shot after all.  Spoletta retires and Scarpia
approaches Tosca to claim his reward.  But she stops him, asking for a
safe conduct for herself and her lover.  While Scarpia is writing it
Tosca seizes a knife from the table while leaning against it and hides
the weapon behind her back.  Scarpia {468} seals the passport, then
opening his arms he says: "Now Tosca, mine at last."  But he staggers
back with an awful scream; Tosca has suddenly plunged the knife deep
into his breast.  Before he can call for help, death overtakes him, and
Tosca after having taken the passport from the clenched fist of the
dead man turns to fly.

The third act takes place on the platform of the castle Sant' Angelo.

The gaoler informs Mario Cavaradossi that he may ask for a last favour
having only one hour to live and the captive begs to be allowed to send
a last letter of farewell to his fiancee.  The gaoler assents, and
Mario sits down to write, but soon the sweet recollections of the past
overcome him.  Tosca finds him in bitter tears, which soon give way to
joy, when she shows him her passport, granting a free pass to Tosca and
to the Chevalier who will accompany her.

When she tells him of the deadly deed she has done to procure it, he
kisses the hands that were stained with blood for his sake.  Then she
informs him of the farce, which is to be acted, and begs him to fall
quite naturally after the first shot, and to remain motionless until
she shall call him.  After a while the gaoler reminds them that the
hour is over.  The soldiers march up and Tosca places herself to the
left of the guard's room, in order to face her lover.  The latter
refuses to have his eyes bandaged, and bravely stands erect before the
soldiers.  The officer lowers his sword, a report {469} follows and
Tosca seeing her lover fall sends him a kiss.  When one of the
sergeants is about to give the "coup de grace" to the fallen man
Spoletta prevents him, and covers Mario with a cloak.  Tosca remains
quiet until the last soldier has descended the steps of the staircase,
then she runs to her lover, calling to him, to rise.  As he does not
move, she bends down to him and tears the cloak off, but with a
terrible cry she staggers back.  Her lover is dead!  She bewails him in
the wildest grief, when suddenly she hears the voice of Sciarrone, and
knows that Scarpia's murder has been discovered.  A crowd rushes up the
stairs with Spoletta at their head; the latter is about to precipitate
himself upon Tosca, but she runs to the parapet and throws herself into
space, with the cry: "Scarpia, may God judge between us!"



BARFUSSELE (LITTLE BARE FOOT).

Opera in two Pictures with a Prelude by RICHARD HEUBERGER.

Words by VICTOR LEON from AUERBACH'S Story.


The young composer's opera is a musical village-story, simple and well
adapted to the pretty subject.

Heuberger's talent is of the graceful style; he is not very original
but his waltzes and "Laendlers" have the true Viennese ring, and the
kirmess in the first act is very characteristic; it is melodious and
{470} full of healthy humour.  The airs often recall popular songs.

The story is simple.  Its scene is laid in Haldenbrunn, a village in
the Black Forest.

Amrei and Dami, sister and brother, coming home from their distant
school find the door of their father's cottage locked.  Accustomed to
the frequent absence of their parents they sit down under the
mountain-ash to wait for their return.  A crowd of school-children
following them provoke Amrei by calling her "Barfuessele", because she
never wears shoes; her little brother tries to defend his sister, but
in vain.  At last the "Landfriedbaeurin", a rich farmer's wife comes to
his help and drives the tormenting brats away.

She has come to attend the funeral of the two children's parents, who
both died on the same day, and seeing that the orphans do not yet know
of their bereavement she is at a loss, how to make them understand.--At
last she takes off her garnet-necklace, and hangs it round Amrei's
neck, promising Dami a pair of good leather breeches.

When she sees Marann and Mr. Krappenzacher approaching, she upbraids
them for having left the poor children in ignorance of their sad loss,
on which old Marann, taking the orphans in her arms, explains to them,
that they will never see their parents again on earth.  The poor
children cry bitterly and bid a heartrending farewell to their little
home.  Thus ends the Prelude.

{471}

The first act takes place twelve years later.

Amrei has entered the service of the rich Rodelbauer.  She still goes
bare-footed, but she is the life of the inn, and everybody requires her
services.--It is St. Paul's day and the farmer's wife promises Amrei
that she may join in the dancing like the other girls.  While Amrei
goes into the house to adorn herself for the festival, Dami comes to
take leave of his sister.  Dami is in love with the Rodelbauer's
handsome sister Rosel, and having no hopes of winning her, he is about
to enter the military service.--Amrei, who has returned, is much
grieved at his resolution and leaves him to fetch his bundle of
clothes.--Rosel now enters in her best attire.  She loves Dami, and
though she never means to marry the poor servant lad, she allows him to
kiss and embrace her.  Amrei coming back and seeing this is very much
shocked and now urges him herself to leave the village at once.

In the next scene the Landfriedbaeurin arrives from the Allgaeu with her
son Johannes.--Amrei recognizes the good woman who gave her the
garnet-necklace twelve years ago and both are very much pleased to see
each other again.  The rich peasant has come to consult Krappenzacher,
known as the best matchmaker in the country, and she promises him a
large fee, if he succeeds in finding a suitable bride for Johannes.
The latter is quite willing to marry, provided he finds a girl that
pleases him and his mother gives him sound advice about the qualities
that should be found in a good wife.  {472} First she must never cut a
knot but untie it, she must be content to take the second part in a
duet and so on.

In the next scene the Rodelbaeurin and Rosel come out ready for church.
Amrei has to keep house, but she is perfectly happy in the prospect of
a dance.

Meanwhile Krappenzacher tells the Rodelbauer that he has found a
splendid suitor for his sister Rosel, and the rich peasant promises him
a hundred crowns, if the match comes off.--They then stroll towards the
church and Amrei appears in her national Sunday costume and with new
shoes.  She sits down on the bench, meditating sadly about the poor
chance she will have of a partner and hardly noticing Johannes who
rides by and accosts her.

A few minutes later the villagers come in a procession from church
headed by the band and the dancing begins.

Amrei sits alone neglected; nobody comes to dance with her; the
peasants threw all their wraps, kerchiefs etc. to the poor girl, who
soon looks like a clothes-stand.

Suddenly Johannes comes up.  Perceiving the lonely maiden, he carries
her off to dance with him.

When the village bells ring for Vespers the dancing stops, and
Johannes, sitting down at a table treats his partner to a glass of
wine.  He is greatly pleased with her, but when she tells him, that she
is only a servant he becomes thoughtful.  {473} At last he bids her
farewell with a kiss and departs without having looked at any of the
other girls.

The second act takes place a year later.  The scene is laid in the
Rodelbauer's court-yard.  Johannes has come once more to the village
with his parents, who press him to make up his mind and to choose a
wife at last.  Krappenzacher, in whose house they live promises to let
him see the right bride, and goes to prepare Rosel for the coming of
the rich suitor.  He advises her to take off her finery and to appear
as a practical and capable peasant girl, and Rosel promises to comply
with his wishes.

A little later Amrei arrives with her brother Dami.  He is decorated
with the iron cross, but he wears his arm in a sling.  His sister has
brought him home from the battle field in order to nurse him; she has
caught cold herself, so that her whole face is bound up in a woolen
shawl.  Rosel, reappearing in a simple working-dress greets her old
lover, but Dami speaks very bitterly, when he hears that she is to
marry a rich peasant, and he leaves her in scorn and wrath, while Rosel
goes to the stable to milk the cows.

Johannes, coming into the court-yard finds only Amrei, who is sweetly
singing the second part to Rosel's song, heard from the stable.  Amrei
recognizes him at once, but he does not recognize his fair partner in
the simple servant, whose face is disfigured by the bandage.  Desirous
to know something about the girl he is to wed, he asks {474} Amrei, if
she leads a hard life in the house and if Rosel is good to her.  She
answers in the affirmative, and so he lets himself be led to the stable
by the old Rodelbauer under the pretext of inspecting a white horse,
but in reality to look at the girl.  Meanwhile Rosel comes out tired of
her unaccustomed work.

She wavers between her desire to get a rich husband and her love for
Dami.  The appearance of Amrei, who comes out of the house in her
Sunday dress excites her wrath.  Notwithstanding Amrei's resistance she
wrenches the garnet-necklace from her throat and beats her.  The girl's
screams bring out all the neighbours including Johannes, who, pulling
Rosel back from the weeping girl, recognizes his partner of the year
before.

Forgetting everything but his love, which has only grown deeper in the
interval, he strains her to his heart.

The Rodelbauer turning to his sister is about to beat her, but Dami
intervenes and Rosel, quite ashamed of herself turns to her true lover
and begs his pardon.

Johannes leads his sweet-heart into the adjoining garden, where they
wait for the arrival of the parents.

Amrei has a difficult task in winning Johannes' father, whose pride
will not permit him to welcome a daughter in law without a dower, but
the mother, who was always fond of the daughter of her old friend,
secretly offers her a sum of money she has saved for herself; Johannes
does the same.  At last her perfect goodness and sweetness soften the
old peasant's heart and all ends in peace and happiness.



{475}

LA BOHEME.

Adapted from HENRY MURGER'S VIE DE BOHEME.

Music by GIACOMO PUCCINI.


This opera was composed in 1896, and the music is of a far higher order
than that of "La Tosca", particularly the love scenes.--

La Boheme grows on one more and more, the oftener one hears it; but
such bits as Musette's waltz, the quartet and the love duet in the last
act cannot fail to appeal to everybody.  The composer has given a most
realistic subject a highly poetic setting.

The first act opens in a garret in Paris, in about 1830, and shows us
Rudolph the painter and Marcel the poet, from whose Bohemian mode of
life the opera derives its name, at work.  Alas, there is no fire in
the grate and the cold is so intense, that Marcel is about to break up
a chair for firewood.--

Rudolph prevents him and kindles a fire with his manuscript instead,
crying: "My drama shall warm us".  The second act of the manuscript
follows the first one, by the blaze of which the artists joyfully warm
their half frozen hands.  The paper is quickly burnt to ashes, but
before they {476} have time to lament this fact the door is opened by
two boys bringing food, fuel, wine and even money.  Schaunard, a
musician brings up the rear to whom neither Marcel nor Rudolph pay the
least attention.

It seems, that an Englishman engaged Schaunard to sing to his parrot
till it dies, but after three days Schaunard becomes so heartily sick
of his task, that he poisons the bird and runs away.

He suggests that they all go out for supper it being Christmas Eve.
They decide to drink some of the wine first, but they are interrupted
by the landlord, who demands his quarter's rent.  He soon imbibes so
much of the wine, that he becomes intoxicated and correspondingly
jovial.--After joking him about his love adventures he finds himself
standing outside the door in pitch darkness.  The others meanwhile
prepare to go out to supper, with the exception of Rudolph who remains
behind to finish a manuscript article.

A pretty young girl soon knocks, carrying a candle and a key.  He begs
her to come in and be seated and she swoons while refusing.  He revives
her with some wine, and she goes off with her relighted candlestick,
but forgets her key, which she has dropped in her swoon, and for which
she at once comes back.  A draught blows out the candle and Rudolph
keeps the key, while pretending to look for it.--Suddenly he clasps the
girl's hand and he and she exchange confidences, while confessing their
love for each other.

{477}

When Rudolph's friends call him he invites Mimi, who is a flower girl,
to accompany him.

The second act takes place before the well known Cafe Momus in the
Quartier Latin, where Rudolph and Mimi join Schaunard and Marcel.

Rudolph has bought her a pink bonnet and introduces her to his friends,
the fourth of whom is Colline the Philosopher.

The party eat and drink amid the noise and bustle of the fair, when
Marcel suddenly sees his old love Musette, gorgeously arrayed and
leaning upon the arm of an old man.  Marcel turns pale, while his
friends make fun of the fantastic couple, much to Musette's anger.  She
at once begins to make overtures to Marcel, who feigns utter
indifference.--Musette's old admirer orders supper, in the hope of
pacifying her, while she addresses Marcel in fond whispers.  The others
watch the scene with amusement, but Rudolph devotes all his attentions
to Mimi.  Musette suddenly complains, that her shoes hurt her and sends
her aged lover off for another pair.  Then she proceeds to make friends
with Marcel.  When the waiter brings the bill, Musette tells him, that
the old gentleman will settle for everything after his return.

The party profits by the approach of the patrol, who causes a turmoil,
in the midst of which they all escape.  Alcindor the old admirer finds
only two bills awaiting him, when he returns with the new shoes.
Musette has been carried away shoeless by her old friend.

{478}

The third scene takes place on the outskirts of Paris called "Barriere
de l'Enfer", (The Toll Gate of Hell).  To the left there is a tavern,
over which hangs Marcel's picture "The Crossing of the Red Sea", as a
sign board.  The day is breaking, the customhouse officials are still
sleeping around the fire, but the scavengers coming from Chantilly soon
awake them.

The gate is opened to admit milk-women, carters, peasants with baskets
and finally Mimi.

She looks wretched and is at once seized with a terrible fit of
coughing.  As soon as she can speak, she asks the name of the tavern,
where she knows Marcel is working.  When he emerges from the inn she
implores his help, saying Rudolph is killing her by his insane
jealousy.  Marcel promises to intervene, and when Rudolph comes out of
the tavern Mimi hides behind the trees.

She hears Rudolph say, she is doomed to die, and coughs and sobs so
violently, that her presence is revealed.

Rudolph remorsefully takes the poor weak creature in his arms, and they
decide to make it up.

Their reconciliation is interrupted by Marcel, who is upbraiding
Musette.  This flighty damsel has one lover after another, although she
really loves Marcel alone.

The fourth and last scene takes us back to the garret, where Marcel and
Rudolph are alone, Musette and Mimi having left them.  They each kiss
mementos of their lady-loves when Schaunard appears with {479} bread
and herring.  Gayety is soon restored and a regular frolic takes place.
Musette enters in a state of great agitation, to say, that Mimi, who is
in the last stage of consumption is there and wants to see Rudolph once
more.  The latter carries her on the little bed.  As there is nothing
in the house, with which to revive her, Musette decides to sell her
earrings in order to procure medicines, a doctor and and a muff, for
which Mimi longs.

Schaunard also goes out, so that the lovers are left alone.--A touching
scene follows, when Rudolph shows Mimi the pink bonnet he has cherished
all the time.  Musette and Marcel soon return with medicines and a
muff, upon which Mimi sinks into the sleep from which there is no
awakening with a sweet smile of satisfaction.



THE FLEDERMAUS (THE BAT).

A Comic Operetta in three Acts by MEILHAC and HALEVY.

Music by JOHANN STRAUSS.


The Fledermaus is the famous Viennese Waltz King's best operetta.  The
charming music is so well known, that only the libretto needs to be
explained, because of its rather complicated plot.

A serenade which is listened to by Adele Rosalind Eisenstein's maid,
but is intended for her mistress, begins the first act.  Adele has just
received an invitation from her sister Ida to a grand entertainment to
be given by a Russian prince, {480} Orlofsky by name.  She is longing
to accept it, and attempts to get leave of absence for the evening from
her mistress, when the latter enters, by telling her that an aunt if
hers is ill, and wishes to see her.  Rosalind, however, refuses to let
Adele go out, and the maid disappears pouting.  While Rosalind is
alone, her former singing master and admirer Alfred, suddenly turns up.
He it was who had been serenading her, and Rosalind, succumbing to her
old weakness for tenors, promises to let Alfred return later, when her
husband is not at home.  Herr Eisenstein, a banker, has just been
sentenced to five days' imprisonment, a misfortune which his hot temper
has brought upon him.  The sentence has been prolonged to eight days
through the stupidity of his lawyer, Dr. Blind, who follows Eisenstein
on to the stage.  The banker finally turns Dr. Blind out of the house,
after upbraiding him violently.--Rosalind tries to console Eisenstein,
and finally decides to see what a good supper will do towards soothing
his ruffled spirits.  While she is thus occupied Eisenstein's friend
Dr. Falck appears, bringing his unlucky friend an invitation to an
elegant soiree which Prince Orlofsky is about to give.--Eisenstein is
quite ready to enjoy himself before going to prison, and when Rosalind
reenters, she finds her husband in excellent spirits.  He does not,
however partake of the delicious supper she sets before him, with any
great zest.  But he takes a tender, although almost joyful leave of his
wife, after donning his best dress suit.  Rosalind then {481} gives
Adele leave to go out, much to the maid's surprise.  After Adele has
gone, Alfred again puts in an appearance.  Rosalind only wishes to hear
him sing again, and is both shocked and frightened, when Alfred goes
into Herr Eisenstein's dressing room, and, returns clad in the banker's
dressing gown and cap.  The tenor then proceeds to partake of what is
left of the supper, and makes himself altogether at home.  But a sudden
ring at the door announces the arrival of Franck, the governor of the
prison, who has come with a cab to fetch Eisenstein.  Rosalind is so
terrified at being found tete a tete with Alfred, that she introduces
him as her husband.  After a tender farewell, Alfred good-naturedly
follows the governor to prison.

The second act opens in the garden of a cafe, where the guests of
Prince Orlofsky are assembled.  Adele enters, dressed in her mistress's
best gown, and looking very smart.  Eisenstein, who is also present, at
once recognizes her, as well as his wife's finery.  But Adele and the
whole party pretend to be very indignant at his mistaking a fine lady
for a maid.  Prince Orlofsky proceeds to make Eisenstein most
uncomfortable, by telling him that Dr. Falck has promised to afford him
great amusement, by playing some practical joke at Eisenstein's
expense.  The last guest who enters is Rosalind, whom nobody
recognizes, because she is masked.  Dr. Falck introduces her as a
Hungarian countess who has consented to be present at the soiree only
on condition that her incognito be respected.  {482} She catches just a
glimpse of Eisenstein, who is flirting violently with Adele instead of
being in prison, and determines to punish him.  Noticing the
magnificent attire and fine form of the supposed countess, Eisenstein
at once devotes himself to the new comer.  He even counts her heart
beats with the aid of a watch which he keeps for that purpose, without,
however, giving it away as he always promises to do.  But Rosalind
suddenly takes possession of the watch, and slips away with it.--The
whole party finally assembles at supper, where Eisenstein becomes very
jovial, and tells how he once attended a masquerade ball with his
friend Falck, who was disguised as a bat.  Eisenstein, it appears,
induced his friend to drink so heavily, that he fell asleep in the
street, where Eisenstein left him.  Falck did not wake up till morning,
when he had to go home amid the jeers of a street crowd, by whom he was
nicknamed "Dr. Fledermaus".--Eisenstein's story creates much amusement,
but Dr. Falck only smiles, saying, he who laughs last, laughs best.

After a champagne supper and some dancing, Eisenstein remembers, when
the clock strikes six, that he ought to be in prison.  Both he and Dr.
Franck take a merry leave of the boisterous party.

The third act begins with Franck's return to his own room, where he is
received by the jailer.--Frosch has taken advantage of his master's
absence to get drunk, while Franck himself has likewise {483} become
somewhat intoxicated.  He grows drowsy while recalling the incidents of
Prince Orlofsky's fete, and finally falls fast asleep.--

Adele and her sister Ida interrupt his slumbers, in order to ask the
supposed marquis to use his influence in the former's behalf.  Adele
confesses that she is in reality a lady's maid, but tries to convince
Franck, the supposed marquis, and her sister (who is a ballet dancer),
of her talents by showing them what she can do in that line.--A loud
ring soon puts an end to the performance While the jailer conducts
Adele and Ida to No. 13, Eisenstein arrives and gives himself up.
Franck and he are much surprised to find themselves face to face with
each other in prison, after each had been led to suppose the other a
marquis, at the fete.  They are naturally much amused to learn each
other's identity.  Meanwhile Dr. Blind enters, to undertake the defense
of the impostor Eisenstein.  He turns out to be the genuine Eisenstein,
who again turns Blind out of door, and possesses himself of his cap and
gown and of his spectacles, in which he interviews his double.--Alfred
has been brought in from his cell, when Rosalind also enters, carrying
her husband's watch, and prepared for revenge.  Both Alfred and she
alternately state their grievances to the supposed lawyer, who quite
loses his temper, when he learns of Alfred's tete a tete with his wife,
and how completely she has fooled him.  Throwing off his disguise, he
reveals his identity, only to be reviled by his wife {484} for his
treachery.  He in turn vows to revenge himself on Rosalind and on her
admirer, but the entrance of Dr. Falck, followed by all the guests who
were at Prince Orlofsky's fete, clears up matters for all concerned.
While making fun of the discomfited Eisenstein, he explains that the
whole thing is a huge practical joke of his invention which he has
played on Eisenstein in return for the trick Eisenstein played on him
years ago, which he related at the fete.  All the guests had been
bidden to the fete by Dr. Falck with the consent of the prince in order
to deceive Eisenstein.  The latter, when convinced of his wife's
innocence, embraces her.  All toast one another in champagne, which
they declare to be the King of Wines.



FLAUTO SOLO.

An Opera in one Act by EUGENE D'ALBERT.  Libretto by HANS VON WOLZOGEN.


D'Albert's new attempt at an opera secured an even greater success than
his "Departure", which is still constantly given at the Dresden Opera.

"Flauto Solo" had a brilliant first night performance in Dresden in
August 1906, both because of the unusually charming music, which is a
masterly imitation of the compositions in vogue during the Roccocco
period, and also for its remarkably clever libretto.  The latter
required no little ingenuity, since it is a medley of no less than
three languages.

{485}

The fact, that Flauto Solo contains a plot, which is founded on
history, renders it doubly attractive.  Anyone acquainted with German
history at the time of Frederic the Great will not fail to recognize
him and his testy father under the assumed names of the young prince
and the reigning head of the house.

The opera is at the same time an amusing parody of the two great
schools of music of the age, that is, of German and Italian musical art.

Fuest Eberhard, the reigning prince and his son, Prince Ferdinand are
perpetually disagreeing, not only because of their radically opposite
dispositions, but because the parent is a champion of German music,
while his son is absolutely devoted to everything Italian.

The two prime favourites at court are two musicians, a German named
Pepusch, and an Italian, Maestro Emanuele, who take turns at conducting
the court orchestra.  Naturally there is constant rivalry between these
two, particularly since Pepusch composed the so-called "Schweine Canon"
(hog-canon), for the gratification of Prince Eberhard.  Taken literally
this song of the Hogs is a quartette, which skilfully reproduces the
various forms of grunting characteristic of these animals.  To reward
Pepusch for his composition, Eberhard wishes him to become his wayward
son's tutor instead of Maestro Emanuele.  The latter encourages the
young prince in his fondness for all things foreign and his violent
dislike of everything German.

{486}

At the beginning of the opera, Prince Eberhard laments over his son's
fondness for the flute to Pepusch, till an orderly abruptly summons him
to take command of the troops.--

Before going he shouts to Pepusch, that if Prince Ferdinand fails to
appreciate the "hog-canon", he had at least better make the "cannon"
his instrument instead of the flute.

Left to himself Pepusch goes into the concert pavilion, and picks up
his music.--Peppina, a famous primadonna, makes her appearance without
perceiving the German conductor.  Soon she begins to sing and is quite
terrified, when Pepusch joins in.  A lengthy conversation ensues and
Peppina is not long in expressing her contempt for the song of the
hogs.--When Pepusch confesses himself to be the composer thereof, she
lapses into the Tyrolese dialect of her childhood.  Both she and
Pepusch declare their allegiance to the German and Italian schools of
music, but nevertheless they are highly pleased with each other.

Suddenly the sounds of a flute are heard, which cause Pepusch to run
away and Maestro Emanuele to run forward, warning Peppina, that the
young Prince is close at hand.  The Italian is filled with jealousy,
when he hears of the primadonna's meeting with Pepusch and begins to
make violent love to her.--

She makes fun of him and finally Prince Ferdinand puts an end to the
scene.  He plays several quick runs on his flute, and addresses himself
chiefly {487} in the French tongue, for which he has a weakness, to his
favourite Emanuele.

Peppina has concealed herself behind some trees.  Prince Ferdinand
relates how he has received orders from his father to inspect the
regiment, but that he made Pepusch take his place.  A few minutes later
Pepusch turns up and admits, that he has not carried out Prince
Ferdinand's command.

The young Prince then confides to Pepusch, that he has made
arrangements for a grand fete which is to take place that same evening,
to which he has invited a large and select company.  All this Pepusch
knows already from Peppina.  But when the Prince invites him to take
part with a performance of his "hog-canon", he is beside himself,
knowing well that Emanuele insinuated this idea to the Prince, simply
to expose him to ridicule.  The Prince however insists, and when he
goes away, Peppina comes out of her hiding place and shares Pepusch's
despair.

Vainly Pepusch tries to find some new musical motive, to enhance his
quartette's effect, when suddenly Peppina begins to sing.
Involuntarily he grunts an accompaniment.  All at once he starts and
exclaims "Ah, now I have it".  After embracing Peppina he hurries away.
The primadonna gets up too, but runs right into old Prince Eberhard,
who calls out "What!  A woman in my royal domains!  Who is it?!"
Peppina, unintimidated replies: "I am a Tyrolese singer and who are
you?"  When the prince tells her who he is she retorts: "Nonsense,
{488} Prince Eberhard is away at the manoeuvres."  When she has charmed
the old prince sufficiently by her marvellous trills and scales she
tells him, that although she has all Italy and France at her feet she
cares most of all for the good opinion of Prince Ferdinand, young
though he is.

Prince Eberhard is half pleased, half angry, and complains, that there
is never praise for any one save his son.  Drawing forth a note, he
shows her, that he is informed of the evening festival, which is to
take place in his absence.  Hearing this, Peppina informs him of the
plot, which has been meditated against poor Pepusch, and intimates,
that the whole thing is owned to the false Italian Maestro, who wants
to make the German composer a laughing stock for the foreign guests,
who are expected not only to hear the famous flute playing of Prince
Ferdinand, but especially herself, the famous Primadonna.  She is to be
engaged for the Vienna opera by a Viennese count, coming expressly on
her account.  Hearing all this, Prince Eberhard first flies into a
passion, but soon he calms himself and tells Peppina to be without fear
for Pepusch's future, as he, Eberhard, will not fail to be present at
the soiree.

When Pepusch appears, he finds the two executing a droll dance
together.  Peppina seizes the prince's hand and tells him that she and
Pepusch are in love with one another.  All three vow, that they will
give the audience a surprise at the fete, Pepusch saying his will be
the "Flauto Solo".

{489}

Preparations for the festival are carried on with the aid of all kinds
of decorations during which Pepusch is busily employed finishing his
new composition.--Prince Ferdinand arrives followed by his suite,
receiving his guests gracefully.  After having presented Pepusch he
commands him to conduct his chef d'oeuvre.  Pepusch, taking out a score
of music, announces, that a young pig was born during the night,
necessitating a Solo flute.  He hands the Prince the melody, intimating
that the great Maestro Emanuele should play it.  Much to Emanuele's
disgust, Prince Ferdinand takes Pepusch's part in the quarrel, which
the Italian attempts to bring about.

Suddenly the old Prince arrives and orders his son to perform Pepusch's
new melody on the flute.  Prince Ferdinand unwillingly obeys, and plays
the solo part so splendidly, that the audience breaks out into endless
applause.

Prince Ferdinand cordially begs Pepusch's pardon for his injustice and
calls his new composition a real master piece.  Pepusch is however
honest enough to admit, that the melody, which he first heard Peppina
sing, was originally Emanuele's idea, upon which the guests cheer both
conductors.

Prince Eberhard, on the other hand, praises his son's skill on the
flute most highly and admits, that Prince Ferdinand will as a ruler in
all probability become as great a virtuoso, as he has proved himself a
great artist.--

Pepusch and Emanuele call for Peppina, the great Italian
primadonna.--She appears on the steps {490} wrapped in a long cloak,
but when she throws it off, she shows herself in her native Tyrolese
costume; she sings in dialect, and goes through all her charming native
songs and "Jodls", to the delight of all her hearers.  Prince Eberhard
promises to grant any wish of Peppina's, while Prince Ferdinand does
the same with Pepusch.--

Finally Prince Ferdinand joins Peppina's and Pepusch's hands, while the
old Prince announces that the two shall henceforth play "Flauti due" by
being married, and appointed musicians of his court for the rest of
their lives.--



MOLOCH.

A musical tragedy in three Acts.  Music by MAX SCHILLINGS.

Libretto by EMIL GERHAEUSER, founded on HEBBEL'S fragment "MOLOCH".


The first representation of this opera took place on December 8th 1906
in the Dresden Royal Opera.

It is the production of a highly esteemed German composer, who, though
independant in his musical invention follows in Wagner's steps.

Two operas "Ingwelde" and the "Pfeiffertag" have already made him a
name amongst modern composers; his last, "Moloch" is however the best
in orchestration and invention.

The Moloch music, if somewhat heavy and loud, is altogether noble and
interesting.  The first Act is steeped in gloom, the second is more
{491} fascinating and especially the choral accompaniment to the
quartette is as striking as it is beautiful.

But the culminating point is reached in the last Act, where we find
passages of extreme beauty.

The scene is laid on the island of Thule (otherwise Germany, perhaps
Ruegen), at the time after the destruction of Carthage.

In the first Act Hiram, a Carthaginian priest emerges from a cave,
where he has found a refuge.  He has brought Carthage's famous idol
Moloch to Thule, with the intention of subjecting the inhabitants to
its power, in which he himself no more believes since the downfall of
his native city.

The inhabitants of Thule do not as yet worship any particular god, and
Hiram hopes to gain enough ascendancy over them, to use them as a means
of revenge against Carthage's great enemy Rome.

When the people of Thule catch sight of the fearful idol, they are
frightened, and Hiram intensifies their terror by taking advantage of
natural causes.  A terrific thunderstorm comes on and the lightning
striking the hollow brass figure, sets light to the wood inside and
makes the figure become red hot.

The King's son Teut is one of Hiram's first converts.  Moloch, he says,
has appeared to him in his dreams, and in spite of the remonstrances of
Wolf, his father's friend, in spite of Theoda's and his mother's tears,
he worships at Moloch's feet together with the majority of his
followers.

Velleda, his mother, a somewhat mystic personage, who foresees every
misfortune, {492} prophetically sees her son in the fearful monster's
jaws; she veils herself shuddering and withdraws into the woods.

Theoda, who loves Teut hopelessly tries all her simple wiles and
allurements on him in vain.  When Hiram sacrifices a pair of doves and
a ram to the idol, the people all join in his exulting cry of "Moloch
is King, he is Lord over all", with which grand and impressive chorus
the first Act closes.

The second Act takes place near the sacred yew of the Thuleans.  Wolf
meets Theoda, and tells her, that Teut is alienating the people with
the new religion, and that he must be slain.  Theoda opposes him, but
he turns from her, and goes to summon the old King to pronounce
judgment.

Meanwhile Hiram approaches the yew, accompanied by the labourers, who
are returning from their work.  He has taught them to plough the
ground, to sow, to till the soil, and now he deems it time to fell the
old tree, which they have hitherto held sacred, and under the branches
of which the King is wont to pronounce judgment.

Hiram is about to lay the axe to its roots, when the King appears.
Seeing his son bearing a foreign sword, he bids him lay it down at his
feet.  But Teut declares, that he has received the sword for the
protection of Moloch, and audaciously summons his father to dedicate
his own ancestral weapon to the new god.

{493}

Hiram joins him in this demand, and rouses the anger of the King, who
would have stabbed the priest but for Teut, who throws himself between
the two.  Then the outraged monarch turns his sword against his son,
whose sense of duty however hinders him from attacking his father,
before whom he bends his knee.  Yet he only meets with scorn and
sneers, and stung by these he seizes his sword.  Theoda now intervenes,
and Teut throws down his weapon.  The King does likewise, and both
begin to wrestle.  Teut overcomes his father, who, overpowered either
by the shock or by shame, becomes unconscious.  When Teut perceives
what he has done, he is struck with sorrow, but seizing the royal sword
he hands it to Hiram, to be taken to Moloch.

When the King comes to his senses, he is so humiliated by his defeat,
that he begs his son to kill him.  Teut refuses to do so, and the King,
cursing his son, turns away, to bury his grief in the wilderness.
Theoda follows him into exile, while Teut joins in the solemn
procession to Moloch's temple.

Hiram is triumphant; but suddenly cries of woe are heard.  Teut's
mother, in despair at her son's apostasy, has precipitated herself from
the rocks into the sea, and filled her son's heart with bitter sorrow
and pangs of remorse.

Hiram however succeeds once more in recalling him to his allegiance to
Moloch by telling him sternly, that all human feelings must be
sacrificed to the god.

{494}

When the people return, he orders them to cut down the sacred yew, the
timber of which is to be used for building the first ships known in
Thule, and that are destined for the war against the Romans.--

The third Act takes place some months later.  A bountiful harvest has
been gathered in.  With a charming chorus and dance the reapers
celebrate their first harvest festival.

Hiram's power has grown immensely; he has fostered the people's
superstitious dread by forbidding them to approach the temple of Moloch
at night, as death would be the inevitable fate of any mortal, wo
should dare to be present at Hiram's nightly converse with the god.

Hiram hails the reapers and after having sacrificed corn and bread to
the idol, he describes to his breathless hearers all the wonders of
Italy.  They decide to sail on the following morning,--the ships lying
ready at anchor,--to conquer the greatest city of the world.

After they have left Wolf appears with some warriors.  Their time of
revenge is near; Wolf delivers the King's shoulder belt to one of the
soldiers and orders him to rouse the country with the cry "Thule is in
danger", and to summon all the King's loyal subjects against Hiram and
Teut the apostate.

Night sets in and the priests of Moloch march forth from the temple,
warning everybody away from its door.--

{495}

Teut keeping guard sits before it in deep thought.  Suddenly he hears a
well known voice.  A roe appears and springs into the grove of the
temple followed by Theoda, who with her spear leaps lightly over the
wall.

For a moment Teut stands spell bound, but remembering the awful warning
he darts after her.

When Theoda emerges from the grove alone, she suddenly recognizes the
fatal place.  Seeing Teut she implores him to save her from death.  In
his first mad impulse he is about to stab both himself and her, but his
love restrains him and in their mutual embrace they forget death and
fear.  When they awake from their trance and find themselves still
alive and unharmed, Teut in a flash realizes Hiram's falseness and the
hollowness of his religion.

He awakens Hiram, the ever sleepless, who, distraught at the prospect
of losing all he has schemed and worked for hurls himself from the
cliffs into the sea.

In the mean time Wolf and his companions have set fire to the ships.

The priests come out in the dawning morning and are horror struck to
hear, that Hiram is dead.  The priests' chant to Moloch is drowned by
the wild cry of the people.

All now turn against Teut, and Wolf, unaware of his sudden conversion,
stabs him in the side.

Thus Theoda finds her lover.  She comes, adorned with red berries and
garlands, bringing the {496} old King, who sees in bitter grief that
his son is the victim of the creator of a new world of beauty and
fertility, which he sees around him.  Theoda bends down to her lover,
who dies in her arms, while the King orders to destroy Moloch.



SALOME.

An Opera in one act and Libretto by RICHARD STRAUSS founded on OSCAR
WILDE'S drama.


On December 9th, 1905, this opera was performed for the first time in
Dresden.

Its success was immense, and can only be compared with that achieved at
Bayreuth in 1876 by the first performance of the Nibelungen Ring.

The well-nigh perfect interpretation of this highly emotional opera
proved to be the most difficult composition ever before attempted at
the Dresden Opera House.

Salome is the emanation of a genius; for the music is as weird and
passionate as the libretto, and moreover perfectly in keeping with its
plot.  It would be difficult to do justice to it, for in order to
appreciate its complicated grandeur, one must have heard it performed.
It combines sublimity with asceticism and wickedness, in a most
marvellous manner.

Oscar Wilde, the unhappy poet, has produced a wonderful piece of
literature in his treatment of {497} the brutal facts connected with
Salome's dance and Jokanaan's decapitation.

According to the Biblical tale, Salome is simply the tool of her mother
Herodias, at whose instigation she demands Jokanaan's head.

In Wilde's drama, as well as in Strauss' opera, Salome is a distinct
personality, full of passion, whose instincts are in revolt against her
vicious surroundings, and whose heart goes out in fiery love to the
only man who comes up to her standard of what manhood should be--namely
Jokanaan.  When he repulses her, the passionate girl's love turns to
blind and unreasoning hatred.

In the first scene Herod's soldiers are talking of the holy prophet
Jokanaan, whose voice is heard from the well where he is kept captive
by the Tetrarch of Galilee, Herod.  Salome, hearing Jokanaan's strong,
deep voice, is seized with a wild longing to behold the prophet, and
she therefore declines her step-father's invitation to join in the
festival.  The soldiers, not daring to disobey Herod, obstinately
refuse to grant Salome's request in regard to Jokanaan, so she turns to
a young Syrian, Narraboth by name, who is devoted to her, and who,
falling a victim to her charms, finally gives orders to lead forth the
prophet.

When Jokanaan steps out of his prison, Salome looks spellbound at the
stern and powerful face.  Not heeding her, the prophet calls for Herod
and his spouse, whom he vehemently reproaches for their sins.

{498}

Salome goes up to him, but he turns from he with lofty contempt.
Vainly she uses all her wiles in an attempt to bewitch him; he sternly
reproves her, and cursing her as the unfortunate daughter of a vicious
mother, he returns to his dungeon.

Meanwhile Narraboth, seeing that his love for Salome is vain, and that
she has only eyes for the prophet, stabs himself.

When Herod appears on the terrace with his wife, to look for his
step-daughter, he sees the young Syrian dead on the ground.  He asks
the reason of his death, but receives no satisfactory answer.  However,
he guesses the truth, seeing Salome sitting apart, absorbed in gloomy
thoughts.  Herod is more in love with his step-daughter than with his
wife, whose first husband he killed, and this excites Herodias'
jealousy.

As a rule, Herod avoids the terrace, being afraid of Jokanaan's
prophecies, in which he secretly believes.  But now he desires Salome's
presence to divert him, while she is in no mood to oblige him, and
coldly refuses to eat and drink with him.

Then the prophet's voice is heard saying: "Lo! the time has come, the
day which I prophesied has dawned."  Herodias bids him be silent, but
Herod is all the more impressed by the voice he fears.  The Jews, who
have been clamouring for six months for the prophet, again beg to have
him delivered into their hands.  When Jokanaan proclaims the Saviour of
the world, the soldiers believe that he {499} means the Roman Caesar,
with the exception of a Nazarene who knows that he refers to the
Messiah, who is accomplishing miracles and awakening the dead.

In order to drown his fears, Herod begs Salome to dance for him.  He
promises her all his finest jewels, his white peacocks, and even half
his kingdom, but she nevertheless still refuses to dance for him.  Her
mother entreats her not to dance, when suddenly Salome changes her
mind.  After having made the Tetrarch swear by his own life to grant
her wish, whatever it might be, she is ready to comply with his wish.
Veils are brought, and Salome performs the dance of the Seven Veils, at
the end of which she sinks down at Herod's feet.

"Tell me what you want, Queen of Beauty", says Herod.  "I will grant
you whatever you desire".  "I want nothing more or less than Jokanaan's
head on a silver dish", rejoins Salome, rising, with a cold smile.

While Herodias eagerly seconds this awful wish, Herod shrinks back in
horror, but although he offers Salome every thing else which could
please her, she only repeats her first wish.

At last Herod gives in, and drawing a ring from his finger, which gives
the death-signal, he hands it to a soldier, who passes it on to the
executioner, and the latter goes down into the dungeon.

A death-like silence ensues, during which Salome vainly listens for a
sound or a cry from the dungeon into which she is peering.  Finally she
can bear {500} the suspense no longer.  Shrieking wildly she clamours
for Jokanaan's head, and the executioner stretches forth a huge, black
arm, holding a silver shield, with Jokanaan's head upon it.

While Herod covers his face, Salome seizes Jokanaan's head, and
devouring its beauty with her eyes, she utters rapturous exclamations,
and at last passionately kisses the lips she has so ardently coveted.

Herod, horrified by this monstrous spectacle, orders the torches to be
put out, and turns to leave the dreadful place.  When Salome exultingly
cries, "I have kissed thy mouth, Jokanaan!", Herod turns, and seeing
her, calls out loudly; "Kill this woman!" The soldiers rush forward,
crushing the princess beneath their shields.



DIE SCHOeNEN VON FOGARAS.

(THE BEAUTIES OF FOGARAS.)

Comic Opera in three acts by ALFRED GRUeNFELD.

Words by VICTOR LEON, founded on the Hungarian novel of MIKSZATH,
"Szehistye, the village without Men".


This opera was first performed in Dresden on September 7th, 1907.

Victor Leon's great talent to amuse his public shows itself as clearly
here as it did in "Barfuessele".  The libretto is a lively picture of
the time of the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus.

Gruenfeld's music is not deep, but delightfully fresh and naive.  He is
master in the instrumentation of miniature art.  His vivid rythms
display a grace, {501} an "entrain" and a piquancy, which remind one of
Delibes and Massenet, without being imitations of these great masters.

The dances are perfectly original, full of life and fire, and the
ballet in the second act is in itself a masterpiece, that will hold its
own.

Besides this there are a roguish song by a goose-girl, a very pretty
valse rondo, and last but not least many fine Hungarian songs.

The scene is laid in Transylvania in the year 1459.

The first act takes place in the Transylvanian village of Fogaras.

A long war has deprived the village of all its men, and the women of
Fogaras are wildly lamenting their absence.

They have charged the governor ("Gespann") Paul Rosto to petition the
King, to restore their husbands, and when the young schoolmaster,
Augustin Paradiser, the only man in the village besides Rosto appears
on the scene, they bitterly complain to him of the governor's
dilatoriousness.

Augustin tries to appease them, by assuring them, that the petition was
duly sent, and soon Rosto himself comes to his assistance by presenting
them with the King's answer to their appeal.

His Majesty graciously agrees to the right of the women of Fogaras to
claim their respective husbands, fathers and sons, the King having only
borrowed them for a time.

But as unfortunately most of them were slain in battle or taken
captive, he is unable to return {502} them all, and therefore he
declares himself ready to supply other men in their stead.

To this end it seems necessary to him, to see some of the Fogaras
beauties, and therefore he decrees, that the town is to send him three
specimen of the handsomest amongst them, a black haired, a brown haired
and a fair haired beauty.

Should the women not be willing to comply with the King's command, they
should be severely punished for having troubled his Majesty about
nothing.

The women of Fogaras being all the reverse of pretty the governor finds
himself in an awkward dilemma.

Fortunately for him the Countess Magdalen Honey has just returned home
with her maid Marjunka.

The latter is at once surrounded by her old companions, and begins to
tell them of their travels and adventures.--She relates how being at
Buda ("Ofen") two years ago during the great coronation festival, King
Matthias only danced with the Countess, and even kissed her before the
whole assembly, and that Marjunka herself had also found a sweetheart
in a first-rate violinist, and that everything had seemed to be turning
out for the best, when they were suddenly summoned home to the old
Countess's death-bed.

When, the year of mourning being passed, they returned to Buda, they
found the doors of the Kingly palace closed to them; and now they {503}
have come home to their native village full of grief and sorrow.

Rosto, after having greeted the Countess, tells her of his difficulties
about the three beautiful women, whom he cannot find; but the Countess
smilingly points to her jet black hair and then to the pretty brunette
Marjunka; and offers to drive with him to castle Varpalota, where the
King resides.

Rosto is considerably relieved, as there is only the fair haired beauty
still to be found.

At this moment the goose-girl Verona passes with her geese.

She is the sweetheart of the schoolmaster, who now comes to meet her,
after having had a rehearsal with the school children for the reception
of Countess Magdalen.

Their charming love duet is interrupted by Rosto.--While the Countess
is greeted by the singing children, Rosto no sooner perceives the
flaxen haired Verona, than he rushes up to her crying: "I have her,
thank God!--the fairest of the fair!"

Augustin interposes, but when Magdalen promises, not only to take care
of the young maiden, but also to give the sweethearts a cottage, two
pigs, a cow and some geese after their return from Varpalota, he is
satisfied, and offers himself a coachman for the journey and they all
drive away in high glee.--

The second act takes place at the King's hunting palace Varpalota.  A
band of Bohemian musicians is playing to the people assembled, and
{504} their leader ("Primas") Czobor plays an exquisite solo to the
royal cook Mujko, a most important person at court.

King Matthias tries to kill the time with all kinds of tricks and
frolics,--he vainly strives to forget the sweet lady he saw but once,
and whom he has sought for two years in vain.

He is on the eve of his twenty-fifth birthday, before which date he is
either to choose a bride or to lose his crown.

When the Paladin comes up to remind him of the fact, the King answers:
"Give me Magdalena Honey and I will marry her at once!"  But the
Paladin, who wants him to marry his niece Ilona Orszagh answers, that
the Countess could not be found anywhere.

Meanwhile General Hunyadi sends a number of prisoners to the King, and
the women of Fogaras being announced at the same time, Matthias orders
all to be brought before him.

The wild idea has come into his head of turning his cook into the King,
while he himself is to play the part of the cook.

The change is soon effected and a ludicrous scene ensues; the big cook
appearing in comic majesty before his subjects.  Then the whole court
groups around the mock King, to receive the women of Fogaras, who drive
up, clad in the rich costume of the Szekle peasants.

Mujko, the sham King, expresses his perfect satisfaction with the three
beauties and begins to {505} flirt with them.  Magdalen, perceiving at
once that they are being deceived, recognises the true King in the
disguise of the cook, while he is haunted by a dim recollection,
without being able to recognise the Countess in her disguise.

The scene ends with a charming ballet.--

In the third act Augustin has a stormy interview with Verona, whom he
saw with a jealous eye flirting with the pretended cook.

Magdalen, who has also perceived Verona's wiles and graces, believes
herself to be forgotten by the King, but Marjunka advises her, to
revive his memory by a song, which he once composed for his lady love.

Meanwhile Augustin, goaded to fury by his provoking little bride,
threatens to denounce the cook's love making to the King, and when he
finds himself alone with the man, whom he takes for the cook, he tells
him, that the King is being deceived, for the three beauties do not
come from Fogaras.

On hearing this, the King decides to punish them for their
treachery.--The prisoners being brought into the courtyard he tells
Mujko to choose every tenth man of them as husbands for the three
beauties of Fogaras.

Mujko announcing their fate to the ladies frightens them to death, the
prisoners presenting a most repulsive aspect of misery and neglect.

The lot of the brunette is the first cast, but Czobor, the Bohemian
leader intervenes, having recognised in Marjunka the girl he saw and
loved two years ago.

{506}

After a sign from the King Mujko consents to give the brunette to
Czobor.

Then comes Verona's turn and Augustin claims her as his already
affianced bride.

The black haired lady being the last one left, Mujko begins to count,
when Magdalen slowly approaches the King, singing softly: "Take my
life, take my all, I will greet thee as my lady, thou, a King's
Consort."

Now the King recognises at last his lost lady love.  Pushing back
Verona, whom Mujko has presented to him he cries: "I choose the black
haired one!" and throwing off his disguise he embraces Magdalen.--

The bells of the royal chapel now begin to ring, and the priests
receive and bless the three happy bridal couples.

As they leave the chapel they are met by the Paladin, ready to marry
his niece to the King.

But Matthias, seizing Magdalen's hand, proclaims her his Consort, and
all hail her as Hungary's Queen.



TIEFLAND.

(THE LOWLANDS.)

A musical Drama in two acts and a Prelude by EUGENE D'ALBERT.

Text after A. Guivera by RUDOLPH LOTHAR.


With this work the gifted composer has gained a footing, which promises
to be permanent in the musical world, for the opera has been accepted
by {507} all the leading theatres in Germany and Austria, and its
performances in Berlin, in Prague, in Dresden and in Vienna have found
uniform appreciation.

D'Albert's strongest point is his orchestration, which is admirably
adapted to the text.  His music, if lacking a personal note is always
noble, harmonious and perfectly clear and agreeable to the ear.

The Prelude is on the whole the finest part of the drama.  The broad
flowing motive of the shepherd's pipe is the incarnation of peace and
pure nature, the musical transition from the Prelude to act I is one,
of the best things, that D'Albert ever did, and the peasant scenes, the
trio of the three mocking village lasses are of the most enlivening
freshness.

The text is ultra realistic, almost brutal.

The name "Tiefland" has a double meaning; this we learn from the
Prelude.--

The plot is laid in the Pyrenees.  Pedro, the shepherd lives alone in
the high and clear mountain air.  His one wish is to have a companion,
a wife.  This desire is realised by the arrival of Sebastiano, supposed
to be a wealthy landowner, who offers Pedro a mill and a bride in the
person of Marta.

The girl is Sebastiano's mistress, but financial difficulties compel
him to get rid of her, in order to avoid scandal and to obtain a rich
bride.

The simple and unsuspecting Pedro accepts the unexpected gifts with
delight, not heeding Marta's reluctance, and so he leaves the clear
physical and moral atmosphere of the mountains and descends {508} into
"Tiefland", the low valley with its human passions and human tragedies.

The first act takes place in the mill, where three village girls gossip
about Marta's wedding, which is to take place on the very same day.

Nuri, a little girl and Marta's friend, has heard from Tommaso, an
octogenarian, that their rich and mighty master Sebastiano has found a
husband for Marta, and that the latter, being the master's property
like everything else around, has to obey his orders.

Marta herself is in despair; she despises Pedro, her future husband,
suspecting him to have been bribed to consent to this shameful bargain
by her lover and tyrant Sebastiano.

But Pedro is quite ignorant of the true facts as is old Tommaso, who is
only now enlightened by Moruccio, the miller's man, as to Marta's
actual position.

Horrified at having helped to bring about this sinful marriage, Tommaso
tries to dissuade Sebastiano from his evil designs, but the landowner
drives him away and orders the clergyman to marry the young couple at
once.

Pedro is in high glee, but vainly tries to win a smile or a kind word
from his unhappy bride.  While the village lads lead him away to be
dressed for the wedding, Sebastiano, taking Marta aside, once more
impresses upon her, that she is still and always will be his, and that
he will come to her chamber on the bridal night.

{509}

Marta shrinks from him in horror, but when Petro returns to fetch her,
she instinctively turns from him to her old master.

Petro has disdained to put on the fine clothes offered him, and goes to
church with his bride in his own old jacket.

When they are gone, Tommaso calls the land-owner once more to account
about Marta, and learns, that everything Moruccio told him is true, for
the young man repeats the story in his master's presence.

Tommaso hastens away, to stop the marriage, but already the church
bells are ringing and the bridal procession returns.

Pedro sends his guests away, and when alone with his wife tries to win
her love by his simple arts and wiles.  He shows her the first hard
earned silver coin he gained by killing a wolf, which had made havoc
amongst the master's herds.  The coin is still red with Pedro's own
blood.

But Marta, though somewhat softened and interested in spite of herself
only points to the room opposite her own, and is about to leave him,
when suddenly a light is seen in her own room.  Marta shrinks back
frightened and this awakens Pedro's suspicions.

He too has seen the light, but Marta succeeds in quieting him for the
moment, as the light has disappeared.

Slowly a change is coming over Marta.  As she perceives, that Pedro is
quite ignorant of her {510} true position, her heart goes out to him,
but she gives no sign of the love, that has taken possession of her.
She resolves to stay all night in this outer hall and sinks down near
the hearth, while Pedro stretches himself on the floor at her feet and
soon falls asleep.--

The second act still finds them in the same position.  Marta, seeing
Pedro asleep, gets up quietly in the early dawn, to attend to her
household cares.

When she is out of the hall or kitchen, Nuri comes in and awakes Pedro.
The poor lad's suspicions return and are intensified tenfold by Nuri's
remarks about the village people, who laugh at and pity the young
husband, and she wonders, what the reason of this can be.

Marta, finding the two together, drives the girl away.  Her love for
Pedro is awakened and with it jealousy.  But Pedro, without looking at
his young wife, takes Nuri by the hand and leads her away.

Old Tommaso, who now comes in, reproaches Marta for her evil life.
With bitter tears she tells him her whole story.  How she lived in
Barcelona with her mother, a beggar, having never known her
father;--how her mother died after years of misery, and how the old
lame man, who lived with them, took her abroad, and made her dance and
beg for him.

Having one day reached this village, the pretty girl of thirteen
pleased the rich landowner Sebastiano, and he made her his mistress,
after giving her old {511} foster-father this mill by way of
renumeration for his connivance.--She was often about to drown herself,
but her courage failed her, and so her life was passed in misery until
the day of this marriage, into which she was forced by her master.

Tommaso advises her, to confess everything to her husband, and to ask
his forgiveness.

In the next scene the village girls come to visit the young couple;
they drive Pedro almost mad with their taunts and innuendos, telling
him to ask Marta about their meaning.

When they are gone and Marta brings him the soup for his breakfast, he
refuses to touch it, and abruptly tells her, that he is going back to
the mountains alone.

Full of despair Marta defiantly owns, that she has belonged to another,
and recklessly goads him to such fury, that he seizes a knife and
wounds her in the arm.

She implores him to kill her, but seeing her blood flow, his love gets
the better of him; he presses her to his heart, and persuades her to
fly with him from the baleful air of the plain to the pure heights of
the mountains.

But the door is barred by a crowd of peasants and by Sebastiano
himself, who enters triumphantly and bids Marta dance for him.  Pedro
forbids this and the master strikes him.

Still Pedro's respect holds him in check, till Marta whispers to him,
that Sebastiano is the man, who has brought her to shame.

{512}

On this Pedro flies at the scoundrel.  He is however prevented from
attacking him by being forcibly removed by the peasants at Sebastiano's
command.

Marta sinks back in a swoon.

At this moment old Tommaso returns, and tells Sebastiano, that having
denounced his villany to the rich bride's father, the daughter is now
lost to him.

Recklessly Sebastiano turns to Marta, who, having revived, finds
herself alone with her old tyrant.

She struggles against him, calling to Pedro, who suddenly returns
through another door, and bidding the scoundrel defend himself rushes
upon him with his knife.  But Sebastiano has no weapon, Pedro therefore
throws down his knife and says they can wrestle then, and so be on
equal terms.

After a short and desperate struggle Pedro succeeds in strangling
Sebastiano, who falls dead to the ground.

Pedro then calls the villain's servants, and taking his wife into his
arms, rushes away from the "Tiefland" to find peace and happiness in
the mountains.



{513}

MADAME BUTTERFLY.

Tragedy of a Japanese woman in three acts after John L. Long and David
Belasco by L. ILLICA and G. GIACOSA.

Music by GIACOMO PUCCINI.


Though Puccini has not reached the musical heights of "Boheme" and
"Tosca" in this opera, it has nevertheless a certain value for its true
local colouring, united to the grace and the broad, flowing cantilene
peculiar to the Italian composer.

These are most prominent in the love duet.

In the second act the little flower scene, which seems redolent with
the delicate perfume of cherry blossoms, and the shimmering atmosphere,
steeped in a peculiar shifting haze, gives score to the best musical
effects of this famous composer.

The scene is laid in Nagasaki in our own time.

The first act takes place on a hill, from which there is a grand view
of the ocean and of the town below.

Goro ("Nakodo"=matchmaker) shows his new Japanese house to an American
lieutenant, Linkerton, who has purchased it in Japanese fashion for 999
years, with the right of giving monthly notice.--He is waiting for his
bride Cho-Cho-San, named Butterfly, whom he is about to wed under the
same queer conditions for one hundred yens (a yen about four shillings).

Butterfly's maid Suzuki and his two servants are presented to him, but
he is impatient to embrace his sweetheart, with whom he is very much in
love.

{514}

Sharpless, the American Consul, who tells him much good of the little
bride, warns him, not to bruise the wings of the delicate butterfly,
but Linkerton only laughs at his remonstrances.

At last Butterfly appears with her companions.  At her bidding, they
all shut their umbrellas and kneel to their friend's future husband, of
whom the girl is very proud.

Questioned by the Consul about her family, she tells him, that they are
of good origin, but that, her father having died, she had to support
herself and her mother as Geisha.  She is but fifteen and very sweet
and tender hearted.--

When the procession of her relations come up, they all do obeisance to
Linkerton.  They are all jealous of Butterfly's good luck and prophesy
an evil end, but the girl perfectly trusts and believes in her lover
and even confides to him, that she has left her own gods, to pray
henceforth to the God of her husband.

When the latter begins to show her their house, she produces from her
sleeve her few precious belongings; these are some silken scarfs, a
little brooch, a looking glass and a fan; also a long knife, which she
at once hides in a corner of the house.  Goro tells Linkerton, that it
is the weapon, with which her father performed "Harakiri" (killed
himself).  The last things she shows her lover are some little figures,
"the Ottoken", which represent the souls of her ancestors.--

{515}

When the whole assembly is ready, they are married by the commissary.

Linkerton treats his relations to champagne, but soon the festival is
interrupted by the dismal howls of Butterfly's uncle, the Bonze, who
climbs the hill and tells the relations, that the wretched bride has
denied her faith, and has been to the mission-house, to adopt her
husband's religion.

All turn from her with horror and curse her.  But Linkerton consoles
his weeping wife and the act closes with a charming love duet.

The second act shows Butterfly alone.--Linkerton has left her, and she
sits dreamily with her faithful maid Suzuki, who vainly invokes her
gods, to bring back the faithless husband.

The young wife, who has been waiting three long years for his return,
still firmly believes his promise, to come back when the
robin-redbreast should build its nest.

She refuses a proposal of marriage from prince Yamadori, who has loved
her for years, and now tries again to win the forsaken wife.  She
answers him with quiet dignity, that, though by Japanese law a wife is
considered free, as soon as her husband has left her, she considers
herself bound by the laws of her husband's country, and Yamadori leaves
her.

Sharpless now enters with a letter he has received from Linkerton.  Not
daring, to let her know its contents at once, he warns her, that her
{516} husband will never return and advises her to accept prince
Yamadori's offer.

Butterfly is at first startled and alarmed, but soon she recovers
herself, and beckoning to Suzuki, she shows Sharpless her little fair
haired, blue eyed boy, begging the Consul to write and tell her
husband, that his child is awaiting him.

Sharpless takes leave of her deeply touched and without having shown
the letter, when Suzuki enters screaming and accusing Goro, who has
goaded her to fury, by spreading a report in the town, that the child's
father is not known.

"You lie, you coward!" cries Butterfly, seizing a knife to kill the
wretch.  But suppressing her wrath she throws away the weapon and kicks
him from her in disgust.

Suddenly a cannon shot is heard.  Running on to the terrace Butterfly
perceives a war-ship in the harbour, bearing the name "Abraham
Linkerton."

All her troubles are forgotten; she bids her maid gather all the
flowers in the garden; these she scatters around in profusion.  Then
she fetches her boy and bids Suzuki comb her hair, while she herself
rouges her pale cheeks and those of her child.--Then they sit down
behind a partition, in which they have made holes, through which they
may watch the ship and await Linkerton's arrival.

The third act finds them in the same position.  Suzuki and the child
have fallen asleep, while Butterfly, sleepless, gazes through the
"Shosy".  Suzuki waking sees, that it is morning and implores her {517}
mistress to take some rest, on which Butterfly, taking her child in her
arms, retires into the inner room.

A loud knock causes Suzuki to open the "Shosy", and she finds herself
in the presence of Sharpless and Linkerton.  The latter signs to her,
not to waken Butterfly.  She is showing him the room adorned with
flowers for his arrival, when she suddenly perceives a lady walking in
the garden and hears, that she is Linkerton's lawful American wife.

Sharpless, taking the maid aside, begs her to prepare her mistress for
the coming blow and tells her, that the foreign lady desires to adopt
her husband's little boy.

Linkerton himself is deeply touched by the signs of Butterfly's undying
love; full of remorse he entreats Sharpless to comfort her as best he
can, and weeping leaves the scene of his first love dream.

His wife Kate returning to the foot of the terrace, sweetly repeats her
wish to adopt the little boy, when Butterfly, emerging from the inner
room, comes to look for her long lost husband, whose presence she feels
with the divination of love.

Seeing Sharpless standing by a foreign lady and Suzuki in tears the
truth suddenly bursts upon her.  "Is he alive?" she asks, and when
Suzuki answers "yes", she knows that he has forsaken her.--

{518}

Turned to stone she listens to Kate's humble apologies and to her offer
to take the child.--By a supreme effort she controls herself.

"I will give up my child to him only; let him come and take him; I
shall by ready in half an hour," she answers brokenly.

When Sharpless and Kate have left her, Butterfly sends Suzuki into
another room with the child.  Then seizing her father's long knife she
takes her white veil, throwing it over the folding screen.  Kissing the
blade she reads its inscription.  "Honourably he dies, who no longer
lives in honour," and raises it to her throat.

At this moment the door opens and her child runs up to his mother with
outstretched arms.  Snatching him to her bosom she devours him with
kisses, then sends him into the garden.

Seizing the knife once more Butterfly disappears behind the screen and
shortly afterward the knife is heard to fall.

When Linkerton's call "Butterfly" is heard, she emerges once more from
the background and drags herself to the door; but there her strength
fails her and she sinks dead to the ground.--



ACTE.

Music-Drama in four Acts.  Text and Music by JOAN MANEN.


It is only a few years since the young Spanish composer has begun to be
known beyond his own country.

{519}

He was an infant prodigy, whose musical genius revealed itself in his
earliest childhood.  He began to play the piano at the age of three,
and at seven he knew twenty-four of Bach's fugues by heart.

His fame began to be spoken of during his tours in Spain and all over
America, where he appeared not only as virtuoso on the piano and on the
violin, but also as director in difficult orchestral pieces.--When he
was thirteen he devoted himself entirely to the violin and to
composition, both of which studies occupied his early years completely.

Acte was produced at Barcelona in 1903, and its first performance out
of Spain took place in Dresden on January 24th 1908.

It was received with general approval, due, it must be confessed, not
so much to its dramatic effect as to its gorgeous and artistic staging.
Though the opera shows great talent, fine orchestration, a distinct
sense of local colour and some beautiful melodies, it lacks depth and
dramatic power.--

It is more like one of those old stage operas of Verdi and Bellini,
though it does not imitate them and contains, Wagner like, a number of
leading motives.  The same want is also to be found in the libretto,
which fails to show us Nero, the many-sided; depicting him almost
exclusively as a lover.--But considering the composer's youth, (he was
just nineteen, when he wrote Acte), it promises much and is well worth
hearing--and seeing.

The scene is laid in Rome during the reign of Nero.

{520}

The first Act takes place in the Palatine, where Agrippina, Nero's
mother, is haunted by evil forebodings, suggested by the story of
Clytemnestra's fate, sung by a chorus of her attendants.

Nero appears, and seeing his mother restless and uneasy, tries to
soothe her with assurances of his filial devotion.  Agrippina reminds
him of all she has done for him, and how she has committed crimes to
pave his way to the throne.--To reassure her, he begs her to ask any
favour she desires.  On this she demands his separation from the Greek
slave Acte, whom he has freed, and whom he loves to distraction, Acte
being in fact the only woman he ever loved.

Nero of course indignantly refuses to make this sacrifice.--Agrippina
persists in her demands and carried away by her violent temper and her
contempt for her false and treacherous son she commands him, either to
give up Acte, or to give back the imperial power to his mother, as she
alone made him, what he is.--Nero enraged shows himself as the ruler
and the despot and so terrifies her, that she tries to retract her evil
words and begs his pardon.

Tigellinus, Nero's friend and confidant, has heard her last words.  He
excites his master's hatred against his false mother still more, and
they decide to take vengeance on her at some favourable time.

Hearing Acte singing in the vestibule Tigellinus leaves Nero, who
receives his lady with open arms.  A charming love-duet closes the
first Act.--

{521}

In the second Act Marcus, an old Christian Patriarch, meets Acte in the
gardens of the Palatine at night and wins her over to his faith.  She
promises to join the Christians, and to this purpose calls her slave
Parthos, whom she persuades to guide her to the cave of Marcus.--After
having given him a ring, Nero's love-token, to deliver to Caesar, she
bribes Parthos, to swear, not to betray her secret, by making over to
him all her worldly goods.--

Unfortunately this interview has been witnessed by Agrippina from her
hiding place in the bushes, and she decides to make use of her
discovery against her son.

When day breaks a grand festival takes place in the gardens.  Agrippina
hails her son, and seeing him alone she sweetly asks where his faithful
companion Acte is.--Nero at once sends Tigellinus in search of her.

A beautiful ballet is now danced, and afterwards Caesar himself takes
his lute and sings a hymn in praise of Venus, the Goddess of love.--He
has hardly ended, when Tigellinus rushes in and exclaims that Acte is
not to be found.

Nero storms and Agrippina, pretending to know nothing, suggests that
Parthos should be questioned.  The poor slave is dragged forward; he
denies any knowledge of Acte's whereabouts, but her ring is found upon
him.  This he tremblingly gives to Nero, declaring that Acte gave it to
him to return to Caesar.--Tigellinus says, that the slave evidently
{522} knows more than this, and Nero orders him to be tortured.  While
the wretched Parthos is being led away Agrippina declares defiantly,
that she alone knows where Acte is, and offers to tell Nero on the
condition, that he will restore to her the imperial power, that she
covets.  Nero, enraged beyond measure orders Tigellinus to keep his
mother as a prisoner, until she reveals Acte's hiding-place.

He then turns to the frightened spectators and with the words "My will
is law, I am Caesar and will remain so for ever" the Act closes.

In the third Act Nero accompanied by Tigellinus leads his Pretorian
guards to the hiding-place of the Christians.--This he has found out
from the confessions of Parthos.--Nero hears Acte's voice singing a
Miserere, but commands his guards to conceal themselves.--

The Christians, among them Acte and Marcus, believing themselves safe
in the stormy night, at last emerge from the mountain caves, and at a
sign from Nero are surrounded by the Pretorian guards.

Nero seizes Acte and tries to win back her love, but Acte remains firm,
and she so infuriates her royal lover, that he threatens her with his
dagger.--Old Marcus stepping between, only rouses the Emperor's anger
to a higher pitch, while Tigellinus denounces the old man as Nero's
rival and the cause of Acte's flight.  Both are led away as captives
with their Christian brethren to Rome.

The last Act takes place on the terrace of the Palatine.

{523}

Lovely dances beguile the weary hours for Nero, lying on his couch, a
prey to love and hatred.  Tigellinus tries to rouse his pride by
relating to him the last interview between Marcus and Acte overheard by
him.

He describes the old man's exhortations and glowing promises of a
better life, and Acte's calm courage and deep faith, and Nero cries:
"She must be mine, or she dies!"--At this moment the Christians are
heard, greeting Caesar as they pass the palace on their way to
death.--Acte is not with them, she is now brought before Nero with
Marcus, for whom she implores Nero's pardon.--But it is in vain; Nero
falls upon the originator of his woes, and kills him with his own
hands.--

In this moment flames are seen leaping up in the streets of Rome.

Tigellinus hurries in, exclaiming that the people accuse their Emperor
of having set the city on fire, and already their furious cry is heard:
"Death to the red Caesar!"

Beside himself with rage and fear Nero seizes Acte, and throwing her
down from the terrace amongst the people, he accuses the Christians of
having set fire to the town.  Acte perishes a victim to the fury of the
people, while Nero cries out: "Burn O Rome, burn, Nero greets Thee!"



{524}

EUGENE ONEGIN.

Lyric Scenes in three acts by P. J. TSCHAIKOWSKY.

Text after Puschkin's poem of the same name.


Tschaikowsky's opera, long known and so intensely popular throughout
Russia, that many of its melodies have become household-properties, has
taken a long time to penetrate into other countries.  But wherever it
has been represented, its success was great and its impression upon the
public deep and lasting.

At the Dresden Opera House it was first given October 20th, 1908,
though the composer wrote it fully 29 years ago.  It was the most
brilliant success of the season.

Tschaikowsky is the classic amongst the Russian composers; his concert
music is well known and greatly esteemed in Germany.

Of the eleven operas, which he wrote, Eugene Onegin is the best.

The libretto lacks dramatic force, although it is taken from Puschkin's
masterpiece, a poem, which in Russia is equalled to Goethe's Faust, but
the music is strikingly original and full of exquisite music and
harmony.  The hearer's attention may be drawn especially to the fine
duet between Olga and Tatiana, and to the latter's love letter, a
supreme hymn of love in the first act.

In the second act there are some charming dances, a quaint
old-fashioned waltz, an original Mazurka and in the third act a
brilliant polonaise {525} and a delightful waltz, interwoven with the
passionate love duet between Onegin and Tatiana.

The text is adapted for the stage by Tschaikowsky's brother Modeste.

The scene is laid in Russia.  The first and second acts take place in
the country-house of Madame Larina, the third act in the house of
Prince Gremin at St. Petersburg.

In the first scene Madame Larina is sitting in the garden with the
nurse Philipyewna, talking of old times and listening to the pretty
songs of her two daughters.  Olga, a light-hearted merry girl, is
engaged to Lenski, a somewhat jealous youth.  Tatiana, the younger
sister, is thoughtful and sensitive and possesses all the
sentimentality of sweet eighteen.

While they are talking the peasants of the village enter, bringing
presents of fruit and corn to their landlady.  After having performed
their pretty dances, they are treated to wine and food by the nurse.--

When they have left Lenski, Olga's betrothed is announced.  He
introduces his friend Eugene Onegin to the family, and Tatiana promptly
falls in love with the interesting stranger, who seems also attracted
by the charming girl.  Lenski has only eyes for his bride Olga, who
soon grows somewhat tired of her passionate and exacting lover.--

In the evening, when Tatiana has retired to her bedroom, she writes a
long letter to Onegin, telling him, that she has seen his face in her
dreams, and believes him to be her good genius and her {526} guardian
angel.  She declares in the most touching terms, that she loves him,
but being ashamed of herself and hardly knowing, what she is doing in
her newly awakened love-fever, she writes again and again, destroying
each letter.  Towards morning she begins to write once more and at last
seals the letter just when her nurse enters to waken her.  To this
faithful servant she entrusts the precious document, imploring her to
deliver it to Onegin.

In the third scene Tatiana is waiting for him.  He cruelly undeceives
her about his own feelings, telling her, that although touched by her
confidence he cannot return her affection.  He warns her to restrain
her feelings in future, leaving her in an agony of shame.

The second act opens with a dance given in honour of Tatiana's
birthday.  Onegin feels bored and out of sheer ennui he begins to flirt
with Olga.  The thoughtless girl willingly yields to the young man's
attentions and promises to dance the cotillion with him, in order to
punish her lover for his jealousy.--This tactless behaviour enrages
Lenski to such a degree, that he challenges Onegin to a duel.  The
whole assembly is terrified, Tatiana is most indignant and mortified,
while Olga vainly tries to pacify her lover.  Onegin recognizes at
last, that he has gone too far, having not only given pain to a sweet
and innocent maiden, but having also deeply wounded his dearest friend.
In vain he tries to remonstrate with Lenski.  The duel is arranged, and
Lenski, feeling that he may not see {527} the following morning, takes
a last farewell of his weeping bride.

In the next scene Lenski, finding himself the first on the spot and
being left discreetly alone by his second, takes a touching farewell
from life, after which Onegin comes up and the duel follows.  Lenski is
shot and Onegin leaves the place, horror-struck at his own deed.

The third act takes place some years later at a ball in St. Petersburg,
in the house of Prince Gremin.  Here we find Onegin, who is a friend
and relative of the Prince.  After long and aimless wanderings about
the world he has come back to Russia utterly weary of life.  The memory
of his friend Lenski, whose premature death he caused, haunts him.  In
this melancholy state of mind he sees Tatiana again.  The Prince enters
the ballroom, leading a lady, whom Onegin recognizes as Tatiana.  Then
the Prince introduces her as his wife.  She has grown far lovelier,
then when he saw her last on the eve of Lenski's death.  Onegin's
passionate heart suddenly awakes to life again.--Tatiana bows coldly,
concealing her emotion.  Onegin explains to the Prince, that he has
just returned from his travels.--He tries to talk with Tatiana; she
however turns to her husband, pleading fatigue, and leaves the
ball-room with him.

Onegin, torn by jealousy and love, decides, to recover her affection at
any cost.

In the final scene he implores Tatiana, to be his own.  The young wife
resists, reminding him {528} of the past, when he spurned the simple
country maiden's blind love.  At last she grows weak and confesses,
that her love for him is not dead.  His wooing growing more passionate,
Tatiana declares, that she means to remain true to her husband, and
refuses to elope with him, but feeling that she cannot resist him much
longer, she flees, while Onegin rushes away, cursing himself and his
whole life.



ELEKTRA.

Tragedy in one act by HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL.

Music by RICHARD STRAUSS.


The first production of Strauss' Elektra took place in Dresden January
25th, 1909.  It met with immense applause from one part, with trenchant
criticism from the Philistines.

Certainly Strauss is neither Wagnerian nor academical, and certain it
is, that his new work is interesting enough, to necessitate its
admission in the Standard Operaglass.

The instrumentation is marvellous; orchestral impossibilities are
unknown to Strauss.  Although he depicts with predilection the weird
and ghastly, following closely the libretto, often sacrificing beauty
of expression to realistic truth, yet he also finds motives of deep
feeling.  These are for instance the melodious songs of Chrysothemis,
the sisters' first duet and the recognition of Orestes by Elektra.

The legend of Orestes has occupied the poets of all times.  Its
greatest interpreter was Sophokles, who first chose Elektra for the
heroine of his drama.  {529} But while classic grandeur prevails in the
old poet's drama, while he makes Elektra the tool of destiny decreed by
the gods, the Viennese poet goes back to the original myth, depriving
his heroine of every human feeling.  She lets herself be guided only by
her thirst for vengeance, and by her own savage and unprincipled
instincts, and appears in striking contrast to her sister Chrisothemis,
whose gentle nature is the one redeeming feature in the drama.

The scene is laid in Mykene.

In the opening scene five maids are talking about Elektra, who enters
haggard and in rags, shunning them and disappearing again like a hunted
animal.  Day by day she mourns for her father Agamemnon, who has been
murdered by her mother's lover Aegisthos.

The maids find fault with Elektra's strange behaviour and haughtiness.
They believe her to be dangerous and suggest, that her mother should
lock her up safely.  One maid reproves them however.  She respects in
Elektra the dead King's cherished daughter, who, though in rags and
brought so low by her unnatural mother, that she is compelled to eat
with the servants, yet bears herself more queenly than Clytemnestra
herself.  The others beat their companion for her allegiance to
Elektra, who appears again, moaning for Agamemnon.  His poor murdered
body seems to arise fresh before her every day.  Her one aim in life is
vengeance on his murderers, and her only hope is her brother Orestes,
who has disappeared.

{530}

She is joined by her sister Chrysothemis, who implores her to abandon
her vindictive thoughts, the cause of their common captivity.  She
further reveals to her, that their mother means to imprison her, but
Elektra laughs at her terror.--Chrysothemis longs for freedom, the love
of a husband and children, and is utterly alien to her sister's dark
thoughts.  Hearing her mother's step she entreats Elektra to go away,
Clytemnestra having had evil dreams about her son's coming home and
killing her.  Elektra, regardless of her prayers meets her mother with
a cruel stare.  The latter is in her darkest mood, which grows worse at
her hated daughter's appearance.  But Elektra, accosting her as a
goddess for once quiets her suspicions.  Clytemnestra dismisses her
servants, who tries to warn her against her daughter.  When they are
alone, the Queen complains bitterly of the frightful dreams that haunt
her, and wants to know, what she can do to banish them.

Elektra answers enigmatically, that a woman must be sacrificed, and
that a man, but not Aegisthos the coward, must do it.

Clytemnestra, vainly guessing at his name, is reminded of her son
Orestes, whom the mother has made to disappear, while he was a child.
Her troubled looks convince Elektra that Orestes is living, and casting
off her disguised mood, she sternly tells her mother, that she herself
is to be the sacrifice.--In a long wild monologue she reproaches her
for all her treachery, ending by {531} depicting the awful fate that
awaits her, and rejoicing over it.

Clytemnestra's terror is appeased by the appearance of her attendants,
one of whom whispers to her the welcome news of Orestes' death.

Wildly triumphant she leaves her daughter, who hears the bad news from
Chrysothemis.  Elektra will not believe it until she hears it from
another servant, who is sent into the fields, to inform Aegisthos about
it.  Then she implores her sister's help in killing her mother and her
lover, while they are asleep.--She has hidden the axe, with which her
father was slain, yet being physically weaker than her younger sister
she requires assistance.  But although she promises her all the good
things on earth and is ready to serve her like a slave, Chrysothemis
turns from her shuddering and finally escapes.  Elektra wildly curses
her and resolves to carry out her design alone.

For this purpose she unearths the axe, but is disturbed by the arrival
of a stranger, who takes her for one of the maids.  He replies to her
angry questions, that he has come to announce Orestes' death, which he
has witnessed.  Flashing with anger Elektra reproaches him for not
having died in his stead.  Her bearing convinces him, that she is
superior to what she seems.  Then she tells him, that she is Elektra,
to which he replies in a whisper: "Orestes lives."--At this moment an
old family servants enters, bringing three others, who, falling at the
stranger's feet, hail him as their master.  {532} Then Elektra
recognizes her brother and greets him with passionate joy, though she
is ashamed of her own miserable appearance.  Orestes at once agrees to
help her in her vengeance and enters the house with his old servant,
locking the door behind him.  Elektra, standing erect on the threshold,
hears Clytemnestra's scream and exclaims: "Hit her once more!"  Those
screams bring on Clytemnestra's servants together with Chrysothemis,
all trying to open the closed door.  But when they see Aegisthos
returning they vanish.

The king calls for lights.  Elektra taking up a torch, bows low to him,
and motions him to go on.  When he recognizes her, he asks where the
men are, who brought the news of Orestes' death.--Elektra, silently
advancing with the torch, opens the door and lets him pass into the
house.  Then she stands like one transfixed, listening to the frightful
cries inside the house.--Chrysothemis appearing in a transport of joy
shouts to her, that Orestes has come, and has avenged them by slaying
the guilty pair.--All his enemies are dead thanks to those servants,
who had remained faithful to him.  Orestes is brought out on their
shoulders, and while Chrysothemis joins her brother, Elektra sings a
weird hymn of exultation.  Slowly descending from the steps of the
threshold she begins to dance triumphantly.  The crowd looks on
spellbound; her dance grows wilder and more triumphant until she sinks
to the ground lifeless.

{533}

VERSIEGELT.

(SEALED.)

Comic Opera in one act by RICHARD BATKA and PORDES-MILO, adapted from
Rauppach's "Der versiegelte Buergermeister".

Music by LEO BLECH.


The popularity of this work, the composer's first real success, is due
not only to the sparkling and easy flow of melody, but also in large
measure to the skill with which the librettists have adapted Rauppach's
old-fashioned comedy.

We are transported to the age of chokers and kneebreeches, and the
easy-going and good-humoured spirit of the times is well caught, and
combined with the more delicate touches of feeling.

Blech is no mere imitator, but has a distinct individuality.

The chorus of the "Schuetzen", the dainty and touching little song of
the widow Gertrude, and the first love duet are effective and
characteristic, while the garrulous Lampe's songs are full of merriment.

The scene is laid in a small provincial town in the year 1830.  Frau
Willmers, a worthy matron, asks permission of her neighbour, a
sprightly young widow, to deposit in her house an heirloom, in the
shape of a handsome old cupboard, her reason being that the Burgomaster
who bears her a grudge owing to an ancient dispute with her husband,
threatens her with distraint for non-payment of taxes.  Gertrude
readily consents to have the cupboard placed in her room.  Meanwhile
Frau Willmers' son, Bertel, the Recorder, appears with Elsa, the {534}
daughter of the Burgomaster.  Bertel has asked the Burgomaster for
Elsa's hand, and been refused.  Elsa declares that she will marry
Bertel and no one but Bertel.  The latter begs Gertrude, who has long
possessed the Burgomaster's affections, to soften the father's heart.
Gertrude promises to do her best, with which consolation the couple
together with Frau Willmers take their departure.  In a humorous
monologue Gertrude decides to accept the Burgomaster.  She is
interrupted in her soliloquy by Lampe, the Beadle, who is a regular old
Paul Pry, and boasts to the widow of his smartness and sagacity.
According to himself he can ferret out anything, or any one, from a
defrauder of the revenue to a thief, an anarchist or a murderer.  Then
he goes on to say that he intended to serve notice of distraint on Frau
Willmers, but had found her door locked.  Suddenly he catches sight of
the cupboard which seems familiar to him, whereupon he hurriedly leaves
to convince himself that the valuable piece of furniture has been
removed from Frau Willmers'.  Meanwhile the Burgomaster arrives to ask
for Gertrude's hand.  He first tells her of Bertel's suit, and is
rather taken aback upon the widow advising him to accept Bertel as a
son-in-law.  Gertrude listens somewhat impatiently to his proposal, and
just as he is about to kiss her, Lampe appears at the door with Frau
Willmers.  Gertrude hastily conceals the Burgomaster in the cupboard.
Lampe having compelled the unfortunate Frau Willmers to admit the
ownership of the cupboard, {535} promptly affixes the official seal,
thus unconsciously seizing the Burgomaster as well as the cupboard.
The key is not to be found, and Lampe looking through a hole sees
something moving.  He suspects a gallant to be inside and leaves the
house to fetch the Burgomaster.  No sooner has he left than Bertel and
Elsa reappear, and are told by Gertrude of what has happened.  They
resolve to turn the Burgomaster's involuntary imprisonment to their
advantage.  While Gertrude and Frau Willmers go in search of witnesses,
the pair of lovers enact a regular comedy in front of the cupboard.
Bertel protests to his sweetheart that his loyalty to, and regard for,
her father prevent him from being a party to any deception.  He
declares that he will rather die than marry the daughter against her
father's wishes, whereupon Elsa takes tragic leave of her lover.  The
Burgomaster, deeply affected, reveals his presence and promises
everything if Bertel will only release him.  Bertel demands Elsa's hand
in return, and the latter hastily draws up a marriage contract in
virtue of which she is to be allowed to marry in a fortnight, and is to
receive into the bargain from her father 500 dollars in gold, a house
and garden, with the customary livestock, to wit, cows, goats, ducks,
hens, etc.  The document is passed into the cupboard by Bertel and
signed by the prisoner.  He is then set at liberty, and gives the
couple his blessing.  But to punish them for their sins, the
Burgomaster now locks them up in the cupboard, {536} seals it lightly
[Transcriber's note: tightly?], and hides himself in the alcove.
Hereupon Gertrude appears, accompanied by a merry throng, whom she has
brought from the fair to witness the release of her lover.  An
inspiriting chorus is sung, the door of the cupboard flies open, but
instead of the Burgomaster, out steps the betrothed couple.  At the
same moment the Burgomaster appears with stern mien.  In reply to his
question as to how the couple had got into the cupboard, Gertrude
artfully declares that she had shut them up in order to unite them in
spite of the father's harshness.  For a moment all are disappointed at
the unexpected turn things are taking.  But good humour gains the upper
hand, and then increases on the appearance of Lampe who is slightly
intoxicated and imagines that Bertel has killed his master, as he has
been unable to find him.  He wants to lock Gertrude up in the cupboard
for having broken the official seal, but eventually is forced into the
cupboard himself, and carried off amidst the shouts and jeers of all
present.  While Bertel and Elsa disappear into the alcove, the
Burgomaster makes for Gertrude and as a punishment for the trick she
has played him, makes her his wife and seals the compact in the usual
manner.



Albanus' Printing Office, Dresden.





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