Photo: B&H archive
Elberfeld, 1934, Heinz Arnold dir.
Das Wahrzeichen (1934)
Comic opera in three acts
Libretto by Eugen Rittelbusch (G)
2S,M,A,6T,5Bar,3B,non-singing role; mixed chorus; ballet; 2.picc.2.2.2-126.96.36.199-timp.perc-harp-strings; On-stage: string quartet .
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
Hessisches Landestheater, Darmstadt
Rolf Prasch, director
Conductor: Karl Friderich
|MEISTER JOHANNES, the leader of the stonecutters' guild||Lyric Baritone|
|JAKOB VON MELEM, a silk dealer in Frankfurt||Bass|
|JUTTA, his daughter||Lyric Soprano|
|HILDEGARD, his niece||Lyric Soprano|
|GOTTFIRED VON KÖLN, a sculptor||Lyric Tenor|
|BARTHOLOMÄUS VAN DER HELST, a rich trader||Baritone|
|MOHAMMED, his servant, a moor||Buffo Tenor|
|GRETH, housekeeper in Melem's house||Mezzo Soprano|
|THE RED DIETER, a subverter and swindler||Buffo Bass|
|THE BLACK KASPAR, a bandit||Bass|
|THE HUNGERLIES, an egg-seller||Contralto|
|THE MAYOR of Frankfurt||Tenor|
|THE CITY SCRIBE||Tenor|
|SURÜSSEL, LENDENSTREICH and GLOTZAUGE, counsellors||Baritones|
|The leader of the Spoon Fools||non-singing role|
|Folks, children, maids, city soldiers, craftsmen, fools||chorus|
Time and Place
Medieval Franfurt before 1500
Melem, a tradesman from Cologne, has settled in Frankfurt and built himself a house near the Römerberg, the city's central square. Following the old tradition, the house is to be given an emblem. As he explains during the inauguration ceremony, Melem has exchanged a vow with his friend van der Helst, who once had saved his live, according to which the son of the one shall marry the daughter of the other. Years have passed, and now the younger van der Helst is on his way to Frankfurt to woo the beautiful Jutta, Melem's daughter. But Jutta is secretly in love with the sculptor Gottfried of Cologne, who is rejected by her father. On the road, young van der Helst is attacked and half-killed by bandits. One of them reads in the victim's papers about the purpose of his journey and decides to take the wooer's place. In Frankfurt, the bandit makes a grand entry and orders no less than three statues from the stonecutter, for his future father-in-law to make his choice for the new house. But during a market scene he is recognised by the Hungerlies, a market woman, as her former husband who ran away several years before.
In the meantime, van der Helst has been found by Gottfried who is also travelling to Frankfurt. After his convalescence, both continue on their way together. Jutta's cousin Hildegard and the stone cutter co-operate to create the funniest situations in order to unravel things, to expose the swindler, and to unite the lovers. The final scene in front of the Römer, Frankfurt's historic town hall, shows the punishment of the bandit and the erection of the emblem, created by Gottfried, that wins him Jutta's hand. Van der Helst approaches Hildegard instead. When the emblem appears – a Madonna with Jutta's features – all join in a solemn hymn to St Mary. (W. Kleinschmidt)
Comic, Poetic, Romantic
History, Relationships, Music/Arts