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Music Text

Libretto by Karl Heinrich Ruppel after Guy de Maupassant. French translation by Claude Rostand (G,F)

Scoring

2S,dramA,2lyrT,BBar,speaker; chorus;
1(=picc).1.2(II=bcl).1-2.2.1.0-timp.perc-pft-cel-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
6/17/1954
Frankfurt
Company: Hessischer Rundfunk

World stage premiere
11/9/1954
Dusseldorf
Company: Unknown

World premiere of version
1/23/1956
Hamburg
Company: Hamburg

Roles

THE MOTHER Dramatic Contralto
THE FATHER Lyric Tenor
MARIE and ESTELLE, the daughters Soprano, Soubrette Soprano
THE STRANGER Bass Baritone
CHICOT, who runs the "Café du Commerce" Lyric Tenor
THE SPEAKER
Voices of the waves and of the house
Time and Place

A small Normandy fishing port in the 19th century

Synopsis



A sailor from a small Normandy fishing village, who was thought lost at sea, returns home after an absence of seventeen years. He finds his wife married to another man by whom she has two children and whom the sailor's own two daughters – now nearly grown up – call "Father". This very short story is about a real conflict, but the ending is not tragic. The situation would seem to demand that one of the three people involved in the conflict should bid adieu – not only to the situation but to life itself. This would then be, so to speak, the typical tragedy of the homecomer. However, Maupassant's fishermen are good and upright people who have looked Death in the face on the high sea often enough and are not in a mind to give him an easy victory, when they see that life can go on.


K. H. Ruppel

Moods

Poetic

Subjects

Relationships, Society




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