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Photo: Gert Kiermeyer
Operhaus Halle, 2003, Director: Frank Martin Widmaier

Glanert, Detlev

Die drei Rätsel (2002/2003)

(I tre indovinelli / The Three Riddles)
Duration: 85 minutes
Opera in two acts for children and adults

Libretto by Carlo Pasquini; German translation by Erdmuthe Brand; French translation by Pascal Hild (I,G,F)

2S(boy and girl),S,M,T,2Bar,B; children's chorus; mixed chorus; rattle/thundersheet/rattle/tom-t/claves/t.bell(D1)/tamb/shaker/glass sound/metal sound/2glsp/3metallophones(S,A,B)/3 xyl(S,A,B)-pft-elec.org-3gtr-3vlnI.3vlnII.3vlnIII.3vlc.db [most instruments may be doubled or more]; on-stage:TD(3 or more)/wind machine.
Abbreviations (PDF).

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

World Premiere
Opernhaus, Halle
Frank Martin Widmaier, director
Conductor: Pavel Baleff
Company: Opernhaus Halle


LASSO, son of PopaBoy
Princess SCHARADAGirl
POPA, Lasso's mother / wild boarMezzo-soprano
King ZEPHALUS, Scharada's father (a potbelly) / FLY, a squabblerHigh Baritone
CRYING COCK, a postman / GALLOWS-BIRD, Lasso's friendTenor
Mr SUBTLE, a gambler / TARTARUS, a donkeyBaritone
SWALLOW, a drunkard / AVERNUS, a pigBass
Signora SOURSWEET / Mrs BONE, court lady of Scharada'sSoprano
Friends, alchemists, sea shellchildren's chorus
Guests, moon, robbers, astrologers, clairvoyants, courtiers, guards, the Seamixed chorus

Time and Place
Fairy-tale; a wine cellar - a river in a wood - in front of and inside a castle - a seashore

Lasso, a boy, decides to travel into a mysterious kingdom and to become king there by asking the Princess three riddles she cannot solve. Lasso’s mother is furious and gives him a poisoned cake on his way, for she thinks it better he dies at her hands than because of his own folly. On his journey through the woods, a wild boar eats the cake, and so Lasso discovers his mother’s plan. Shortly afterwards, he is tied to a tree by robbers who then eat the wild boar; they have to die as well. Suddenly, a man falls down out of the tree, having tried in vain to commit suicide; he sets Lasso free.

Lasso and his new friend reach the peculiar kingdom and, at a great ceremony, Lasso asks the Princess Scharada his three riddles – which she cannot solve. Generously, but also moved by growing sympathy, he allows her to be helped by her astrologers and alchemists. But all efforts to solve his riddles fail. Once again, Lasso gives Scharada a chance: they shall spend the night together in one bed; if he manages to make her laugh, he shall finally be the winner. He succeeds but the envious court people are already lurking. They have even brought Lasso’s mother, who now angrily drags him out of the bed. All become involved in a fight, and at its climax, an earthquake destroys the whole castle and the kingdom.

When the fogs disperse, Lasso, his friend and Scharada are all alone by the seashore. The sea glistens and invites them on great journeys. The friend falls in love with a singing shell and stays with her; Lasso and the Princess happily set out into the wide world.

Press Quotes
"Henze’s pupil has enriched Carlo Pasquini’s libretto with exquisite instrumentation and provided music full of speed and melody, engaging the listener with allusions of songs and making for captivating listening even in the more grotesque passages… like his earlier stage works, Glanert’s new opera is likely to make its way into the repertoire." (Joachim Lange, Opernwelt, Dec 2003)

"The Three Riddles is no childish nonsense but real Glanert: changing skilfully between breathless motor activity and quietness, brillantly orchestrated, with a tendency towards the grotesque – yet at the same time always easily agreeable... A boy leaves his parents’ home to conquer a princess who demands the solution of three impossible riddles and who admits defeat first reluctantly and then willingly... The end is revolution: the crowded adult world collapses... The premiere would serve as a good model for the future of opera – with listeners and performers of all ages." (Johannes Killyen, Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, 14 Oct 2003)

Comic, Poetic

Magic/Mystery, Relationships, Society

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