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Libretto by the composer, adapted from Franz Werfel's play (G)

Scoring

2S,M,A,3T,4Bar,4B,2speaking roles;
3(III=picc).2.corA.2.bcl.asax.tsax.2.dbn-4.3.3.1-timp.perc(2)-harp-pft-strings;
Off-stage:4picc-mouth org-timp.perc-harp-pft-org-vln

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
02/11/1965
Hamburg
Conductor: Leopold Ludwig
Company: Ensemble der Hamburgischen Staatsoper

Roles

JACOBOWSKY Baritone
COLONEL STJERBINSKY Tenor
MARIANNE Soprano
SZABUNIEWICZ Baritone
THE TRAGIC GENTLEMAN Baritone
MADAME BOUFFIER Mezzo Soprano
SALOMON Bass
THE OLD LADY FROM ARRAS Contralto
THE FLIRTING WOMAN Soprano
CHAUFFEUR Bass
CLAIRON, Café-owner in Saint Jean-de-Luz Bass
BRIGADIER AT SAINT CYRILL Bass
FIRST LIEUTENANT IN THE GERMAN ARMY Tenor
THE DICE PLAYER Bass
THE WANDERING JEW Tenor
ST. FRANCIS Baritone
CHEF D'ILOT, also the police chief of Saint Jean-de-Luz speaking role
A GESTAPO OFFICIAL speaking role
HOTEL AND CAFÉ GUESTS 2 Sopranos, Contralto,Tenor
Time and Place

France, 1940

Synopsis



Spring 1940. In a Paris hotel laundry-room, which has been converted into an air-raid shelter, two men meet whose characters and attitudes to life can only be described as diametrically opposed. Jacobowsky, a Polish Jew, on the run for an "eternity", who lives by the maxim that even in the most hopeless situation there are always two possibilities, and a Polish Colonel, Stjerbinsky, for whose capture the Germans are offering a reward. For him, as an officer and a "real man", only duty counts and this excludes all alternatives. Jacobowsky manages to procure a getaway car from somewhere and puts it at the Colonel's disposal for the transportation of secret documents. The Colonel, who is just as principled a gentleman as he is an officer, despite the imminent German invasion insists on collecting his French mistress, Marianne, first. Thanks to Jacobowsky's presence of mind and shrewdness, they manage to escape from the Germans. Gradually, Marianne becomes more and more fascinated by Jacobowsky – as a result of this, Stjerbinsky's self image starts to crumble. At the Spanish border, in St. Jean-de-Luz, their journey ends. All ways are blocked. For the first time, even Jacobowsky is at a loss. Suddenly, an English submarine surfaces which is supposed to take Stjerbinsky to England. Marianne – Mme. La France – who is not endangered, gives up her place to Jacobowsky. She will wait for her Colonel, who sails to freedom with Jacobowsky.

Moods

Comic, Dramatic, Poetic

Subjects

Literary, Politics, Relationships, Society




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