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The Standard Operaglass - Detailed Plots of One Hundred and Fifty-one Celebrated Operas
by Charles Annesley
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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.

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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.

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