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Libretto by Richard Batka after Heinrich Lilienfein (G)

Scoring

2S,M,4T,4Bar,4B,speaking role; chorus
3(III=picc).2.corA.3(III=bcl).3-4.3.3.1-timp.perc-2harps-cel-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
10/03/1918
Leipzig
Company: Unknown

Roles

FRANCOIS GUILLAUME, French Brigadier Bass
DON PEREZ LARA Dramatic Tenor
SAINT-VALLIER, captain Lyric Tenor
MARCHAND, cavalry captain, adjutant Lyric Bass
HERBAUT, lieutenant Character Baritone
LEROUX, officer cadet Lyric Tenor
DE LA BRIÈRE, second lieutenant Lyric Bass
DUPONT, assistant surgeon Lyric Baritone
A SOLDIER Tenor
EMPEROR NAPOLOEN I Speaker role
MARQUÉS DE BARRIOS, Spanish grandee Character Baritone
JUANA, his daughter Dramatic Soprano
MANUEL, his son Lyric Soprano
PATER BENITO Lyric Baritone
THE ALKALDE OF OLIVERA Lyric Bass
LOPEZ, Barrios' servant Lyric Baritone
AMINTA, Donna Juana's maid Mezzo Soprano
the Barrios' servants
the emperor's attentands
Time and Place

Spain, around 1800

Synopsis



The French general Guillaume and his officers are billeted in the castle of Olivera. The lord of the castle, Marqués de Barrios, is determined to kill the hated occupiers and tries to make them feel secure by his obliging behaviour. Before he can carry out his plan, however, he has to calm the people. The French have commited the sacrilege of killing the bull that had been selected for the corrida. At the last moment, the conspiracy is discovered. Barrios and his family are to be executed by order of the merciless general. When Juana, the Marqués’ beautiful and proud daughter, asks for mercy for her young brother, Guillaume agrees under the condition that she will become his wife. She quickly realizes the power she has over the malformed Frenchman and, driven by hate and thirst for revenge, starts a cynical and dangerous game, cuckolding the general who is suffering because of his ugliness. Again and again Guillaume forgives her. Only when she tries to persuade him to betray the French emperor, who is in the immediate vicinity of the castle at the time, does he realize his blindness, and he stabs her to death. Napoleon arrives to judge Guillaume who is suspected of high treason because of his marriage to a Spanish woman. However, he pardons him in view of the corpse of Juana. When the emperor’s retreat is in danger, Guillaume sacrifices himself. He leaves his own carriage to Napoleon and takes the emperor’s one to head right for the rebels who are waiting in ambush.

Moods

Dramatic, Poetic, Romantic, Tragic

Subjects

History, Politics, Relationships




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