Markus Bothe, director Conductor: Ulrich Windfuhr Company: Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera Chorus
IRMGARD, his wife
the dowager MARGOT
The princely household, Crusaders
Time and Place
Medieval times, during the Crusades
Years ago, when the Prince went to Palestine for the 'holy war', he sought a way to ensure his wife's faithfulness. His farewell words were that if Irmgard were to love another man during his absence, his welcome kiss on his return would bring death to her. Irmgard refuses to comply with his threat, for she believes that only mutual confidence can guarantee the permanence of love. Every day Agnes and the dowager Margot remind her of the Prince's command and the pressure weighing upon her turns into an inner conflict. This reaches its peak when a travelling minstrel, who stays at the castle as a guest, makes clear to her that her emotional bond to the Prince is forced and unnatural. But instead of escaping to freedom with the minstrel before the Prince can return, she resorts instead to suicide.