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Photo: B&H archive
Passau, 1971

Hartig, Heinz Friedrich

Escorial (1961)

Duration: 45 minutes
Chamber opera in one act

Libretto by Friedrich Petzold after the play by Michel de Ghelderode (G)

Scoring
S,T,2Bar,silent role; chorus; 1(=picc).1.1.1-1.1.1.0-timp.perc-harp-pft-strings.
Abbreviations (PDF).


Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.



World Premiere
10/4/1961
Berlin
Company: Unknown

Roles

THE KING Baritone and speaker
The jester, FOLIALTenor and speaker
THE QUEENSoprano and speaker
THE MONKBaritone
THE HANGMANSilent role


Time and Place
Spain under Philip II


Synopsis

The sepulchral chamber of the Spanish kings in the Escorial – symbol of the limits and the transitoriness of power. Bizarre impressions show the fate of a king who has betrayed men and God for the sake of power. His conscience is nothing but tattered shreds of fear. He himself has become an automaton of fear. The hubris has outstripped the king, ruling and ordering his destruction. Left over by the despair is the jester, Folial. Mirror – counter-mirror – mirror of death: everything is at meltdown, the figures are blurred into each other. The fool is the king – the king, was he the fool? ... Beyond and behind the king lies burned, murdered life: one human being after another, individuals, troops, peoples, victims of torture – and now, also, the queen: the last, solitary, human voice, which the king has silenced... When the last voice is dying, when everything that can be killed has been killed, then the hour arrives when laughter and hate become fear.
Friedrich Petzold


Moods
Dramatic, Tragic


Subjects
History, Relationships, Politics, Literary





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