Libretto by Karl Heinrich Ruppel after Guy de Maupassant. French translation by Claude Rostand (G,F)
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes
for the world.
Company: Hessischer Rundfunk
World stage premiere
World premiere of version
|MARIE and ESTELLE, the daughters
||Soprano, Soubrette Soprano
|CHICOT, who runs the "Café du Commerce"
|Voices of the waves and of the house
Time and Place
A small Normandy fishing port in the 19th century
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