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Title: The Standard Light Operas
       Their Plots and Their Music

Author: George Upton

Release Date: June 11, 2013 [EBook #42918]

Language: English

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The Standard Light Operas


A Handbook



A. C. McClurg & Co.

Published September 13, 1902




The present volume, “The Standard Light Operas,” has been prepared not only with the hope that it may supply a popular want in these days when the light opera is so much in vogue, but also with the purpose of completing the series which the author has already compiled, including the opera, oratorio, cantata, and symphony. It has been somewhat difficult to select from the “embarrassment of riches” in the material offered by the profusion of operettas, musical comedies, and legitimate light operas which have been produced during the last few years, and which are still turned out with almost bewildering rapidity. Still more difficult is it to determine accurately those among them which are standard. A few of the lighter works which are contained in the original edition of the “Standard Operas” have been recast, as they properly belong in a work of this kind, and as they may answer the needs of those who have not the former volume. The opera comique and the opera bouffe are also represented by the best of their class, those whose text is clearly objectionable being [viii] omitted. The entire list of the characteristic and delightful operettas by the late Sir Alexander Sullivan is included, and some of the musical comedies which have a strong hold upon popular admiration. The operas have not been analyzed with that closeness of detail which characterizes the “Standard Operas,” as they do not call for treatment of that kind, and in many cases the leading numbers are only suggested. They are described rather than criticised, and as they have been compiled solely for the use of the general public they have been presented as untechnically as possible. They are intended to heighten popular enjoyment rather than to supply information for musicians, and as a vade mecum for the opera-goer rather than a reference for the musical student.

G. P. U.

Chicago, August, 1902.



The Postilion of Lonjumeau 15
Fra Diavolo 19
The Crown Diamonds 22
Olivette 26
The Mascot 29
The Bohemian Girl 33
The Rose of Castile 36
La Sonnambula 40
The Lily of Killarney 43
La Dame Blanche 47
Dorothy 50
Falka 52
Robin Hood 57
Maid Marian 60
Rob Roy 63
The Fencing-Master 67
Lakmé 70
The Daughter of the Regiment 73
Don Pasquale 76
Linda 78
The Elixir of Love 81
The Doctor of Alcantara 84
Martha 87
Stradella 90
Nanon 93
Mirella 97
Hansel and Gretel 100
Erminie 103
Girofle-Girofla 106
La Fille de Madame Angot 109
Czar and Carpenter 113
King Dodo 116
The Prince of Pilsen 118
Paul and Virginia 121
Queen Topaze 124
The Marriage of Jeannette 126
The Beggar Student 128
The Black Hussar 131
The Trumpeter of Säkkingen 134
The Merry Wives of Windsor 138
The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein 141
La Belle Hélène 145
Orpheus 148
The Chimes of Normandy 152
Crispino 155
The Barber of Seville 158
Billee Taylor 161
El Capitan 164
The Merry War 167
The Queen’s Lace Handkerchief 169
Queen Indigo 171
Die Fledermaus (The Bat) 174
Florodora 177
Cox and Box 180
Trial by Jury 182
The Sorcerer 185
H. M. S. Pinafore 188
The Pirates of Penzance 193
Patience 196
Iolanthe 200
Princess Ida 203
The Mikado 206
Ruddygore 209
The Yeomen of the Guard 213
The Gondoliers 216
Fatinitza 220
Boccaccio 224
The Beautiful Galatea 227
Mignon 230
Maritana 233
Lurline 236



The Postilion of Lonjumeau.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by De Leuven and Brunswick. First produced at the Opéra Comique, Paris, October 13, 1836.]


Chapelou, postilion.
Madeleine, mistress of the inn.
Marquis de Courcy, opera manager.
Bijou, village blacksmith.
Boudon, chorus leader.

[Villagers, chorus singers, etc.]

The scene of the opera is laid in Lonjumeau, a French village, and Paris; time of Louis the Fifteenth.

The sprightly opera “The Postilion of Lonjumeau” is characterized by grace and elegance of treatment, fascinating rhythm, and odd contrasts in effects. Its plot is very dramatic, and affords ample scope for humorous action. The opening scene of the first act introduces us to the wedding of Chapelou, the postilion, and Madeleine, mistress of the inn. During the merriment which follows, the Marquis de Courcy, Superintendent of the Paris Grand Opera, whose carriage [16] has broken down, makes his appearance, seeking the aid of a wheelwright. He hears Chapelou singing, and is so pleased with his voice that he offers him a position in the opera. Chapelou after some persuasion accepts, entreats Bijou, the village blacksmith, to look after Madeleine, and goes off with the Marquis in quest of artistic glory. Bijou informs Madeleine of Chapelou’s baseness, and the act closes with her denunciations of him, in which she is enthusiastically assisted by the female members of the wedding-party.

The second act opens in Paris. Madeleine has inherited a fortune from an aunt, and makes her appearance in the gay city as a rich and noble lady, under the assumed name of Madame de la Tour. The Marquis de Courcy, who is in love with her, at her request brings Chapelou, who is now a famous tenor known as St. Phar, Bijou, the Lonjumeau blacksmith, who is primo basso under the name of Alcindor, and the operatic chorus to her château for a rehearsal. St. Phar, not wishing to sing, pleads a cold, but when he learns that he is in the apartments of Madame de la Tour he consents, and the rehearsal goes off finely. Left alone with his hostess, he proposes to her and is accepted, but as he is already married he arranges that Boudon, the chorus leader, shall play the part of priest. The Marquis, who overhears the conspiracy, informs Madame de la Tour, who sends for a real priest and accompanies St. Phar to the altar, where they are married for the second time.


In the third act St. Phar, who fears that he will be hanged for committing bigamy, finds a happy escape from his troubles. The Marquis, furious because he has been rejected by Madame de la Tour in favor of an opera singer, seeks revenge, but his plans are thwarted. A humorous scene ensues, in which St. Phar is tormented by Alcindor and the wedding-party, as well as by the Marquis, who is now reconciled. Finally, upon being left alone in a darkened room with Madame de la Tour, she also aggravates him by personating two characters, singing from different sides of the apartment in the voice of the Madame and that of Madeleine. The dénouement ensues when she appears to him as the veritable Madeleine of Lonjumeau, whither the joyous pair return and are happy ever after.

The principal music of the first act is a romanza for soprano, “Husband ever Dear,” leading into a dance chorus; the famous Postilion’s Song with whip-snapping accompaniment; and a balcony serenade by Madeleine. The second act opens with a long and well-written aria for soprano, which is followed by the rehearsal scene,—a clever bit of humorous musical writing. In the course of this scene the tenor has a characteristic aria, preceded by a clarinet obligato, and the basso also has one running down to G, in which he describes with much gusto the immunities of a basso with a “double G.” A duet follows for soprano and tenor with a cadenza of extraordinary [18] length, the act closing with a finale in the conventional Italian style.

The third act opens with a long clarinet solo, the refrain of which is heard in the close of the act. This is followed by a “Good Night” chorus in mazurka time. The tenor then has an aria followed by a comic trio, which in reality is a duet, as the soprano is personating two singers with different voices. A duet and finale close the opera, the music of which is of just the class to be popular, while the action is so sustained in its humor as to make the bright little opera a favorite wherever heard.



Fra Diavolo.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Scribe. First produced at the Opéra Comique, Paris, January 28, 1830; in English, at Drury Lane Theatre, London, November 3, 1831; in Italian, at the Lyceum, London, July 9, 1857.]


Fra Diavolo, leader of the brigands.
Lord Allcash, English nobleman.
Lady Allcash, his wife.
Matteo, innkeeper.
Zerlina, Matteo’s daughter.
Lorenzo, Zerlina’s lover.
} brigands.

The scene is laid at the village of Terracina, Italy; time, last century.

The first act of this universally favorite opera opens with the hurried arrival of Lord Allcash, a typical English tourist, and his wife, at the inn of Terracina, kept by Matteo, whose daughter, Zerlina, is loved by Lorenzo, a young soldier. The latter is about to start for the capture of Fra Diavolo, the leader of the bandits, when the action of the opera begins. The English tourists have been robbed on their journey by the band of this same Fra Diavolo, who has followed them in [20] the disguise of a marquis and has been very attentive to the susceptible Lady Allcash. Lord Allcash has a quarrel with his wife on this account in a humorous duet, “I don’t object.” Fra Diavolo learns that the travellers have saved the most of their valuables, and lays his own plans to secure them. In an interview with Zerlina, she, mistaking him for the Marquis, sings him the story of Fra Diavolo in a romanza, “On Yonder Rock Reclining,” which has become a favorite the world over. To further his schemes he makes love to Lady Allcash in a graceful barcarole, “The Gondolier, Fond Passion’s Slave.” In the finale of the act Lorenzo and his carbineers return, and not finding Fra Diavolo at the inn, where they had hoped to surprise him, resume their search, leaving him to perfect his plans for the robbery.

In the opening scene of the second act Zerlina is in her chamber, preparing to retire. Before doing so, she lights Lord and Lady Allcash to their room. During her absence Fra Diavolo and his companions, Beppo and Giacomo, conceal themselves in her closet, Fra Diavolo having previously given them the signal that the coast was clear by singing a serenade, “Young Agnes,” in violation of every rule of dramatic consistency. Zerlina returns, and after singing a simple but charming prayer, “Oh! Holy Virgin,” retires to rest. In attempting to cross the room they partially awake her. One of the bandits rushes to the bed to stab her, but desists from his purpose as he hears her [21] murmuring her prayer. Then follows a trio by the robbers, sung pianissimo, which is very dramatic in its effect. At this point the carbineers return again, and the house at once is in an uproar. Lord and Lady Allcash rush in to find out the cause, followed by Lorenzo, who came to greet Zerlina. A sudden noise in the closet disturbs them. Fra Diavolo, knowing that he will be discovered, steps out into the room, and declares he is there to keep an appointment with Zerlina, whereupon Lorenzo challenges him. He accepts the challenge and coolly walks out of the room. One of his comrades is captured, but to secure his liberty agrees to betray his chief.

The opening of the third act finds Fra Diavolo once more among his native mountains. He gives expression to his exultation in a dashing, vigorous song, “Proudly and wide my Standard flies,” followed by the pretty rondo, “Then since Life glides so fast away.” As he joyously contemplates a speedy meeting with Lord and Lady Allcash and the securing of their valuables, villagers arrayed in festival attire in honor of the approaching nuptials of Lorenzo and Zerlina enter, singing a bright pastoral chorus, “Oh, Holy Virgin, bright and fair.” The finale of the act is occupied with the development of the scheme between Lorenzo, Beppo, and Giacomo to ensnare Fra Diavolo, and the final tragedy in which he meets his death at the hands of the carbineers, but not before he has declared Zerlina’s innocence. The text of the opera is full [22] of vivacity and humor, and the music so bright and melodious and yet artistically scored that it made Auber’s reputation at the Opéra Comique.

The Crown Diamonds.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Scribe and St. George. First produced in Paris in 1841; in English, at the Princess Theatre, London, May 2, 1844.]


Count de Campo Mayor, Minister of Police.
Don Henrique, nephew of the Count.
Don Sebastian, friend of Don Henrique.
Rebelledo, chief coiner.
Catarina, leader of the coiners.
Diana, cousin of Don Henrique.

The scene is laid in Portugal; time, 1777.

The story of “The Crown Diamonds,” one of the most melodious of Auber’s works, is as follows: Don Henrique, nephew of the Count de Campo Mayor, Minister of Police at Coimbra, on his way to participate in the coronation ceremonies and at the same time to sign a marriage contract with his cousin Diana, daughter of the Minister of Police, is overtaken by a storm in the mountains and seeks shelter in a ruined castle near the monastery of St. Huberto. While there he espies Rebelledo, the chief coiner, and two of his comrades examining the contents of his trunk. The latter, discovering him in turn and thinking him a [23] spy, rush upon him, but he is saved by Catarina, the leader of the gang, who returns him his trunk and allows him to depart upon condition that he shall not mention what he has seen for a year. He consents, but before he leaves, the gang is surrounded by soldiers led by Don Sebastian, a friend of Don Henrique. They make their escape, however, disguised as monks, while Rebelledo and Catarina disappear through an underground passage, carrying with them a mysterious casket of jewels.

The second act opens in the Château de Coimbra, and discloses Don Henrique in love with the mysterious Catarina and Diana with Don Sebastian. As Diana and Don Henrique are singing together, Don Sebastian announces that an accident has happened to a carriage and that its occupants desire shelter. Catarina and Rebelledo enter and accept the proffered hospitality. When Diana begins to read the account of a robbery containing a description of Rebelledo and his companions, that worthy vanishes, but Catarina remains in spite of Don Henrique’s warning that she is in the house of the Minister of Police. He declares his love for her, and begs her to fly with him; she refuses, but gives him a ring as a souvenir. At this point the Count enters, and announces that the crown jewels have been stolen and Don Henrique’s ring is recognized as one of them. Catarina is saved by Diana, who promises Don Henrique she will send her away in the Count’s carriage if he will refuse to sign the marriage [24] contract. He consents, and Catarina makes her escape.

The last act opens in the anteroom of the royal palace at Lisbon, where the Count, Don Henrique, and Don Sebastian are present, and Diana awaits an audience with the Queen. While they converse, Rebelledo enters, announced as the Count Fuentes, and an usher brings him word that the Queen will have private audience with him. While awaiting her, Rebelledo in a monologue explains that the real crown jewels have been pledged for the national debt, and that he has been employed to make duplicates of them to be worn on state occasions until the genuine ones can be redeemed. The Queen enters, declares she is satisfied with the work, and makes Rebelledo Minister of Secret Police. Count de Campo Mayor then announces to her the decision of the Council that she shall marry the Prince of Spain. She declares she will make her own choice, and when the Count remonstrates she threatens to confiscate his property for allowing the crown jewels to be stolen, and orders him to arrest his daughter and nephew for giving shelter to the thieves. Diana, suddenly entering, fails to recognize her as Catarina, and implores pardon for her connivance in the escape. Then Don Henrique still further complicates the situation. He recognizes Catarina, and declares to Diana he will seize her and fly to some distant land. His purpose is thwarted by his arrest for treason upon the Queen’s order. He rushes forward [25] to implore mercy for Catarina, when the Queen reveals herself and announces that she has chosen Don Henrique for her husband and their King.

The principal musical numbers of the opera are Rebelledo’s rollicking muleteer’s song, “O’er Mountain steep, through Valley roaming,” the rondo, “The Young Pedrillo,” with chorus accompaniment, and the lugubrious chorus of the pseudo monks, “Unto the Hermit of the Chapel,” in the first act; the nocturne, “The Brigand,” closing in gay bolero time, “In the Deep Ravine of the Forest,” Catarina’s bravura aria, “Love! at once I break thy Fetters,” the duet, “If I could but Courage feel,” and the beautiful ballade, “Oh! whisper what thou feelest,” in the second act; the usually interpolated air, “When Doubt the Tortured Frame is rending,” originally written for Louisa Pyne, who really made the first success for the opera, and the charming cavatina, “Love, dwell with me,” sung by the Queen in the last act.




[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Chivat and Duru. First produced at the Bouffes Parisiens, Paris, November 13, 1879; first American production, New York, January 7, 1881.]


Captain de Mérimac, of the Man of War “Cormorant.”
Valentine, his nephew, officer of the Rousillon Guards.
Duc des Ifs, cousin of the Countess.
Coquelicot, his foster brother.
Marvejol, Seneschal to the Countess.
Olivette, daughter of the Seneschal.
Bathilde, Countess of Rousillon.
Veloutine, the Seneschal’s housekeeper.
Moustique, Captain’s boy on board the “Cormorant.”

[Nobles of the Court of Rousillon, the watch of Perpignan, citizens, gossips, wedding-guests, sailors, etc.]

The scene is laid at Perpignan on the Mediterranean Sea; time of Louis the Fourteenth.

Following the English version of the opera, at the opening of the first act the villagers of Perpignan are greatly excited over the approaching marriage of Olivette, the Seneschal’s daughter, and De Mérimac, an old sea-captain. Olivette, however, just out of a convent, is in love with Valentine, a young officer and the Captain’s nephew. [27] In the mean time the Countess of Rousillon is also in love with Valentine and has come to Perpignan to see him. She is at the house of the Seneschal, and is surprised there by Valentine, who has climbed her balcony expecting to find Olivette. The old Captain, who is making slow progress with his suit, writes to the Countess demanding Olivette’s hand. Valentine seizes his opportunity, passes himself off as the Captain, and marries Olivette at the request of the Countess herself.

The second act opens with a ball which the Countess gives in honor of the wedding, at which Valentine is forced to personate both himself and the Captain. The latter appears upon the scene, and is heartily congratulated as the bridegroom. When Valentine also appears as the old man, De Mérimac resolves he will have the bride whom Valentine has secured by the use of his name. By a little craft Olivette rids herself of her elderly suitor only to encounter fresh trouble, for the Countess declares she will marry the soldier. A plot is formed, the result of which is an order sending the Countess out of the kingdom.

The opening of the last act shows that the plot is partially successful. The Countess is a prisoner on board De Mérimac’s vessel, and Olivette and Valentine, who are disguised as sailors, seek a vessel to take them away; but Valentine is recognized and seized, Olivette contrives to free the Countess, and passes herself off for her, Olivette’s maid, Veloutine, pretending to be her mistress. [28] This introduces a new complication, for the near-sighted Duke des Ifs courts the maid, supposing her to be Olivette, and boasts of it to Valentine in the hearing of De Mérimac. Both uncle and nephew then renounce Olivette until the Countess returns and an explanation is made. In the dénouement Valentine is united to Olivette and the Countess to the Duke, while the old Captain is advised to follow the example of the Venetian Doges and “marry the sea,” which he promptly hastens to do, and follows his bride ever after.

The music of “Olivette” is light and sprightly throughout, the most taking numbers being the marine madrigal, a song with chorus, “The Yacht and the Brig”; the pretty waltz song, “O Heart, wherefore so light,” sung by the Countess; Olivette’s tyrolienne song, “The Convent slept”; Valentine’s serenade, “In Quaint and in Mystic Word,” and Olivette’s characteristic sob song, “Oh! my Father,” in the first act: Olivette’s serio-comic song, “The Matron of an Hour”; the Countess’ song, “When Lovers around Woman throng”; another humorous song for Olivette, “I do think Fate, upon my Life”; a charming duet for Olivette and the Countess, “Like Carrier Dove, I’ll swift be flying,” with the refrain, “I love my Love so well,” and the jolly farandole, “The Vintage over, then Maid and Lover,” sung and danced by Olivette, Countess, and chorus, in the second act: the romanza “Nearest and dearest,” an effective number for the Countess, and three [29] delicious bits of nonsense,—“Give Milk to Babes, to Peasants Beer,” styled in the score a Grog-orian chant, the ridiculous legend “The Torpedo and the Whale,” and the dashing bolero, “Where Balmy Garlic scents the Air,” in the last act.

The Mascot.

[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Chivat and Duru. First produced at the Bouffes Parisiens, Paris, December 29, 1880; first American production, Gaiety Theatre, Boston, April 12, 1881.]


Bettina, the Mascot.
Fiametta, daughter of Prince Lorenzo.
Pippo, a shepherd.
Lorenzo, prince of Piombino.
Rocco, a farmer.
Frederic, prince of Pisa.
Parafante, sergeant.
Matheo, innkeeper.

[Peasants, lords and ladies of court, soldiers, etc.]

The scene is laid in Piombino, Italy; time, the fifteenth century.

The story of “The Mascot” is charmingly romantic, and much more consistent and coherent than the usual plots of the comic operas. The first act opens with a vintage festival. The peasants are all rejoicing except Rocco, the farmer, who has had bad luck. Pippo, his shepherd, whom he had sent to his brother for help, returns with a basket of eggs and a letter in which he [30] informs Rocco that he has also sent him Bettina, his turkey-keeper, who will bring him prosperity, as she is a mascot. Pippo, who is in love with Bettina, waxes eloquent over her charms, but when she comes she is coldly received by Rocco and ordered to go back. As she is preparing to leave, Prince Lorenzo, his daughter Fiametta, Prince Frederic, and others of a hunting-party arrive and stop for refreshment. Prince Lorenzo, who is one of the unlucky kind, learns by chance of Bettina’s gift, and determines to take her to his court; but Rocco objects. The Prince, however, gains his consent by promising to make him Lord Chamberlain. The party sets off homeward with Rocco in good spirits and Bettina sad, while poor Pippo is left behind disconsolate.

The second act opens in the palace at Piombino, where a festival is to be given in honor of the marriage of Fiametta to Prince Frederic of Pisa. Among the attractions of the fête is an entertainment by a troupe of actors and dancers, the most prominent of whom is Saltarello, in reality Pippo in disguise. The lovers discover each other and plan an escape; but Rocco, who has recognized Pippo, frustrates their scheme by disclosing his identity to the Prince, who orders his arrest. The situation is still further complicated by the fickle Fiametta, who has fallen in love with Pippo and tells him that Bettina is false and is about to marry Prince Lorenzo. At last Pippo and Bettina have a chance to meet, and they make their [31] escape by leaping through a window into the river.

The last act opens in the hall of an inn in Pisa. There has been a war between the two princes, and Frederic has defeated Lorenzo. Pippo has been a captain in the Pisan army, and Bettina, disguised as a trooper, has fought by his side. They reveal their real names to Frederic, and declare their intention of marriage. During preparations for the wedding Prince Lorenzo, Fiametta, and Rocco, who are travelling about the country as minstrels to make their living, owing to the misfortunes of war, meet the bridal party at the inn. After mutual explanations Fiametta returns to her old lover Frederic, and Pippo and Bettina are married. The Mascot brings good luck to them all at last.

The most interesting numbers in the opera are the drinking-song, “All morose Thoughts now are flying”; the legend of the Mascots, “One Day the Arch Fiend drunk with Pride,” sung by Pippo and chorus; Bettina’s song, “Don’t come too near, I tell you”; the quaint duet for Bettina and Pippo, “When I behold your Manly Form”; the charming coaching-chorus, “Come, let us now be off as quick as a Bird,” sung by Bettina and chorus in the first act; the chorus and air of Saltarello, “Hail, Princesses and Lords”; the pretty duet, “Know’st thou those Robes,” for Bettina and Pippo, and the concerted finale of the second act; the stirring rataplan, “Marking Time [32] with Cadence so Steady,” the entrance of the refugees preluding the grotesque “Orang-Outang Song,” sung by Fiametta and chorus, and the graceful arietta following the entrance of the wedding-party in the last act.



The Bohemian Girl.

[Grand opera, in three acts; text by Bunn. First produced at Drury Lane Theatre, London, November 27, 1843.]


Arline, daughter of Count Arnheim.
Thaddeus, a Polish exile.
Gypsy Queen.
Devilshoof, Gypsy leader.
Count Arnheim, Governor of Presburg.
Florestein, nephew of the Count.

[Retainers, hunters, soldiers, gypsies, etc.]

The scene is laid at Presburg, Hungary; time, last century.

“The Bohemian Girl,” usually designated as grand opera, strictly speaking, is a ballad opera, and is one of the few English works of its class which has made a success upon the Continent and in the United States. The first act opens with the rescue of Arline, daughter of Count Arnheim, from the attack of a stag by Thaddeus, a Polish fugitive, who has joined a gypsy band to save himself from arrest. In return for his timely aid, the Count invites him to a banquet, where he gets into trouble by refusing to drink the health of the Emperor. Devilshoof, the leader of the band, saves him from the angry soldiers, but in turn is [34] himself seized. The Count allows Thaddeus to go, and Devilshoof subsequently escapes, carrying Arline with him.

Twelve years elapse between the first and second acts. The Count has received no tidings from Arline and has given her up as lost. The second act opens in the gypsy camp in the suburbs of Presburg, and discloses Arline asleep with Thaddeus watching over her. The gypsies themselves depart in quest of plunder, headed by Devilshoof, and happen upon Florestein, the Count’s nephew, returning in a drunken condition from a revel. They speedily relieve him of his valuables. After their departure Arline awakes, and Thaddeus tells her how she received the scar upon her arm and of her rescue from the stag, at the same time declaring his love for her. Arline confesses her love for him, and the two are united according to the laws of the tribe by the Gypsy Queen, who is also in love with Thaddeus, and vows vengeance upon the pair. The scene now changes to a street in the city. A fair is in progress, and the gypsies resort to it with Arline at their head. As they mingle among the people, Florestein attempts to insult Arline, and an altercation ensues between them, ending in his repulse. He seeks revenge by having her arrested for stealing a medallion which belonged to him and which the Gypsy Queen, knowing it to be his, had maliciously given to her. Arline is brought before the Count for trial, during which he asks her about the scar on her [35] arm. She replies by relating the story Thaddeus had told her, and this leads to his discovery of his daughter.

The last act finds Arline restored to her old position but still retaining her love for Thaddeus. With Devilshoof’s help he secures a meeting with her. The Gypsy Queen gives information to the Count, and Thaddeus is ordered to leave. Arline implores her father to relent, and threatens to go with her lover. The situation happily resolves itself when Thaddeus proves that he is of noble descent. The Count thereupon yields and gives his daughter to him. The baffled and furious Gypsy Queen induces one of the tribe to fire at Thaddeus, but by a timely movement of Devilshoof the bullet pierces the heart of the Queen.

The principal musical numbers of the first act are the Count’s solo, “A Soldier’s Life”; the pathetic song, “’T is sad to leave your Fatherland”; the gypsy chorus, “In the Gypsy’s Life you may read,” and the prayer in the finale, “Thou who in Might supreme.” The second act contains some of the most melodious and effective numbers in the work, including the quaint little chorus, “Silence, Silence, the Lady Moon”; the joyous song, “I dreamed I dwelt in Marble Halls,” which is a universal favorite; the musical dialogue and ensemble, “The Secret of her Birth”; the gypsy’s song, “Come with the Gypsy Bride”; the beautiful unaccompanied quartette, “From the Valleys and Hills,” and the impressive reverie by [36] the Count, “The Heart bowed down.” The last act has two delightful numbers,—the tender and impassioned song, “When other Lips and other Hearts,” and the stirring martial song, “When the Fair Land of Poland,” in which Thaddeus avows his noble descent and boasts the deeds of his ancestry in battle.

The Rose of Castile.

[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Harris and Falconer. First produced at the Lyceum Theatre, London, October 29, 1857.]


Elvira, Queen of Leon and “Rose of Castile.”
Manuel, Don Sebastian, the Infant, in disguise of muleteer.
Carmen, attendant of the Queen.
Don Pedro,
Don Sallust,
Don Florio
} conspirators.

The scene is laid in Spain; time, last century.

At the opening of the opera, Elvira, Queen of Leon, has just ascended the throne, and her hand has been demanded by the King of Castile for his brother, Don Sebastian, the Infant. The latter, with the design of satisfying his curiosity about her, is on the eve of entering Castile disguised as a muleteer. Elvira hears of this, and adopts the same expedient, by starting with Carmen, one of her attendants, disguised as peasants to intercept him. In the opening of the first act the two appear [37] at an inn where the peasants are dancing. The innkeeper is rude to them, but Don Sebastian, disguised as Manuel the muleteer, protects them, and offers his services as escort, which the Queen willingly accepts, for she has recognized him and he has fulfilled the motive of the story by falling in love with her. At this point Don Pedro, who has designs upon the throne, with his fellow-conspirators Don Sallust and Don Florio, enter. Observing Elvira’s likeness to the Queen, they persuade her to personate Her Majesty, which, after feigned reluctance, she consents to do. She also accepts their services as escorts, and all the more unhesitatingly because she knows Manuel will follow her.

The second act opens in the throne-room of the palace. Don Pedro enters, somewhat dejected by the uncertainty of his schemes. The Queen, who has eluded the surveillance of the conspirators, also appears and grants an audience to Manuel, in which he informs her of the meeting with the peasant girl and boy and declares his belief they were the Queen and Carmen. He also informs her of the conspirators’ plot to imprison her, which she thwarts by inducing a silly old Duchess to personate the Queen for one day and, closely veiled, ride to the palace in the royal carriage. Her scheme succeeds admirably. The Duchess is seized and conveyed to a convent. In the next scene Don Pedro and Don Florio are mourning over the loss of their peasant girl, when she appears. [38] Their mourning turns to desperate perplexity when the Queen reveals herself and announces her intention of marrying the muleteer.

In the last act Carmen and Don Florio agree to marry. Then the Queen and her ladies enter, and a message is delivered her from Don Sebastian announcing his marriage. Enraged at the discovery that the muleteer is not Don Sebastian, the Queen upbraids him and yet declares she will be true to him. This pleases Don Pedro, as he believes he can force her to abdicate if she marries a muleteer; but in the last scene Manuel mounts the throne, and announces he is King of Castile, Elvira expresses her delight, and all ends happily.

The story of the opera is exceedingly involved, but the music is well sustained and ranks with the best that Balfe has written. The principal numbers of the first act are the lively chorus, “List to the Gay Castanet”; the vocal scherzo by Elvira, “Yes, I’ll obey you”; Manuel’s rollicking song, “I am a Simple Muleteer”; the buffo trio, which ends in a spirited bacchanal, “Wine, Wine, the Magician thou art”; and Elvira’s pleasing rondo, “Oh! were I the Queen of Spain.” The second act contains the expressive conspirators’ chorus, “The Queen in the Palace”; the beautiful ballad, “Though Fortune darkly o’er me frowns,” sung by Don Pedro; the ballad, “The Convent Cell,” sung by Elvira, which is one of Balfe’s happiest inspirations; the buffo trio, “I’m not the Queen, ha, ha”; and Elvira’s characteristic scena, “I’m [39] but a Simple Peasant Maid.” The leading numbers of the last act are the bravura air, “Oh! Joyous, Happy Day,” which was intended by the composer to show the vocal ability of Eliza Pyne, who first appeared in the role of Elvira; Manuel’s fine ballad, “’Twas Rank and Fame that tempted thee”; Don Pedro’s martial song, “Hark, hark, methinks I hear”; the stirring song by Manuel, when he mounts the throne, which recalls “The Fair Land of Poland” in “The Bohemian Girl”; and Elvira’s second bravura air, “Oh! no, by Fortune blessed.”



La Sonnambula.

[Grand opera, in two acts; text by Romani. Produced for the first time in Milan, March 6, 1831; in London, at the King’s Theatre, July 28, 1831; in Paris, October 28, 1831; in New York, May 14, 1842.]


Amina, ward of the miller’s wife.
Elvino, a landholder.
Rodolfo, lord of the village.
Lisa, innkeeper.
Alessio, a peasant, lover of Lisa.
Teresa, mistress of the mill.

The scene is laid in Switzerland; time, last century.

The first act of the opera opens with the preparations for the marriage of Amina and Elvino. Lisa, the mistress of the inn, is also in love with Elvino and jealous of Amina. On the day before the wedding, Rodolfo, the young lord of the village, arrives to look after his estates, and puts up at the inn, where he meets Amina. He pays her many pretty compliments, much to the dissatisfaction of Elvino, who is inclined to quarrel with him. After Rodolfo retires to his chamber, Amina, who is addicted to sleep-walking, enters the room and throws herself upon the bed as if it [41] were her own. She is seen not only by Rodolfo, but also by Lisa, who has been vainly seeking to captivate him. To escape the embarrassment of the situation, Rodolfo quietly goes out; but the malicious Lisa hastens to inform Elvino of what Amina has done, at the same time thoughtlessly leaving her handkerchief in Rodolfo’s room. Elvino rushes to the spot with other villagers, finds Amina as Lisa had described, denounces her, and offers himself to the latter.

In the last act Amina is seen stepping from the window of the mill in her sleep. She crosses a frail bridge above the mill wheel, descends in safety, and walks into Elvino’s arms amid the jubilant songs of the villagers. Elvino at last is convinced of her innocence, while the discovery of Lisa’s handkerchief in Rodolfo’s room proclaims her the faithless one.

The little pastoral story is of the simplest kind, but it is set to music as melodious as ever has come from an Italian composer, and the rôle of the heroine has engaged the services of nearly all the great artists of the nineteenth century from Malibran to Patti. Its most striking melodies are the aria “Sovra il sen” (“On my Heart your Hand do place”), in the third scene of the first act, where Amina declares her happiness; the aria for baritone in the sixth scene, “Vi ravviso” (“I recognize you, Pleasant Spot”), sung by Rodolfo; the playful duet, “Mai piu dubbi” (“Away with Doubts”), in which Amina chides [42] her lover for his jealousy; the humorous and characteristic chorus of the villagers in the tenth scene, “Osservate, l’uscio è aperto” (“Observe, the Door is open”), as they tiptoe into the chamber; the duet in the next scene, “O mio dolor” (“Oh, my Sorrow”), in which Amina asserts her innocence; the aria for tenor in the third scene of the second act, “Tutto e sciolto” (“Every Tie is broken”), in which Elvino bemoans his hard lot; and that joyous outburst of birdlike melody, “Ah! non giunge” (“Human Thought cannot conceive”), which closes the opera.



The Lily of Killarney.

[Romantic opera, in three acts; text by Oxenford and Boucicault. First produced at Covent Garden Theatre, London, February 8, 1862.]


Anne Chute, the heiress.
Mrs. Cregan, of the hall at Tore Cregan.
Father Tom, the priest.
Eily O’Connor, the Colleen Bawn.
Hardress Cregan, son of Mrs. Cregan.
Danny Mann, the boatman.
Myles na Coppaleen.
Corrigan, “the middle-man.”

The scene is laid at Killarney, Ireland; time, last century.

The opera “The Lily of Killarney” is the musical setting of the drama, “The Colleen Bawn.” The plot is essentially similar, and the characters are identical. The first act opens with the festivities of Hardress Cregan’s friends at the hall at Tore Cregan. During their temporary absence to witness a horse-race, Corrigan, “the middle-man,” calls upon Mrs. Cregan and suggests to her the marriage of her son to the heiress, Anne Chute, as the only chance of securing the payment of a mortgage he holds upon the place. [44] Failing in this, he expresses his own willingness to accept Mrs. Cregan’s hand, but the hint meets with no favor. At this point Danny Mann, Hardress’ boatman, is heard singing, and Corrigan informs Mrs. Cregan he is about to take her son to see Eily, the Colleen Bawn, Anne Chute’s peasant rival. Danny and Hardress set off on their errand, leaving Mrs. Cregan disconsolate and Corrigan exultant. In the second scene Corrigan and Myles na Coppaleen, the peasant lover of the Colleen Bawn, have an interview in which Corrigan tells him she is the mistress of Hardress. The next scene introduces us to Eily’s cottage, where Father Tom is seeking to induce her to persuade Hardress to make public announcement of his marriage to her. When Hardress appears he asks her to give up the marriage certificate and conceal their union; but Myles prevents this, and Father Tom makes Eily promise she will never surrender it.

In the second act Hardress is paying court to Anne Chute, but is haunted by remorse over his desertion of Eily. Danny Mann suggests putting her on board a vessel and shipping her to America, but Hardress rejects the scheme. Danny then agrees that Eily shall disappear if he will send his glove, a token secretly understood between them. This also he rejects. Meanwhile Corrigan is pressing his alternative upon Mrs. Cregan, but is interrupted by Hardress, who threatens to kill him if he does not desist. Corrigan retires uttering threats of revenge. Danny Mann then intimates to Mrs. [45] Cregan that if she will induce Hardress to send the glove, he can bring happiness to the family again. She secures the glove and gives it to Danny, who promptly takes it to Eily with the message that her husband has sent for her. Eily, in spite of Myles’ warnings, gets into Danny’s boat and trusts herself to him. Danny rows out to a water cave, and ordering her to step upon a rock demands the certificate. She refuses to give it up, and Danny pushes her into the water. Myles, who uses the cave for secret purposes, mistakes Danny for another and shoots him, and then, espying Eily, plunges in and saves her.

The dénouement of the story is quickly told in the last act. Hardress is arrested for murder, but Danny, who was fatally wounded, makes a dying confession of his scheme against the life of the Colleen Bawn. Corrigan brings soldiers to the house of Anne Chute at the moment of Hardress’ marriage with her, but is thwarted in his revenge when Myles produces Eily Cregan, Hardress’ lawful wife. Mrs. Cregan also confesses her part in the plot, and absolves her son from intentional guilt. Everything being cleared up, Eily rushes into Hardress’ arms, and the chorus declares

“A cloudless day at last will dawn

Upon the hapless Colleen Bawn.”

The music is very elaborate for light-opera purposes, and is written broadly and effectively, especially for the orchestra. Many Irish melodies [46] sprinkled through the work relieve its heaviness. The principal numbers are the serenade and duet, “The Moon has raised her Lamp above”; Myles’ song, “It is a Charming Girl I love”; Eily’s song, “In my Wild Mountain Valley he sought me,” and the well-known original Irish melody, “The Cruiskeen Lawn,” also sung by Eily; the “Tally-ho” chorus, introducing the second act; Danny Mann’s recitative and airs, “The Colleen Bawn” and “Duty? Yes, I’ll do my duty”; the dramatic finale to the second act; Myles’ serenade in the third act, “Your Slumbers, och! Soft as your Glance may be”; Hardress’ beautiful song, “Eily Mavourneen, I see thee before me”; and the fine concerted trio which closes the act.



La Dame Blanche.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Scribe. First produced at the Opéra Comique, Paris, December 10, 1825; first time in English under the title of “The White Maid” at Covent Garden, London, January 2, 1827.]


George Brown, or Julius of Avenel.
Gaveston, late steward of the Avenel estate.
MacIrton, an auctioneer.
Dikson, an honest farmer.
Anna, adopted child of the Lady of Avenel.
Jenny, wife of Dikson.
Margaret, servant of the late Lady of Avenel.

[Mountaineers, peasants, etc.]

The scene is laid in Scotland; time of the Stuarts.

The story of this favorite opera, adapted from Walter Scott’s novels “The Monastery” and “Guy Mannering,” runs as follows. The Laird of Avenel, a Stuart partisan, upon the eve of going into exile after the battle of Culloden, entrusts his estate and a considerable treasure concealed in a statue, called “the White Lady,” to Gaveston, his steward. The traditions affirmed that the White Lady was the protectress of the Avenels, and the villagers declared they had seen her in the neighborhood. Gaveston, however, who puts no faith [48] in the legend, announces the sale of the castle, hoping that the superstition may keep others from bidding and that he may get it for a low price. The steward decides to sell, because he has heard the Laird is dead and knows there is no heir.

Anna, an orphan, who had been befriended by the Laird, determines to frustrate the designs of Gaveston, and appears in the village disguised as the White Lady. She writes to Dikson, a farmer who is indebted to her, to meet her at midnight in the castle of Avenel. His superstitious fears lead him to decline the invitation, but George Brown, a young British soldier on furlough, who is sharing the farmer’s hospitality, volunteers in his stead. He encounters the White Lady at the castle, and is informed by her that he will speedily meet a young lady who has saved his life by her careful nursing, Anna recognizing him as her recent patient. When the day of sale comes, George and Anna are present, and the former buys the castle in obedience to Anna’s instructions, though he has not a shilling to his name. When the time for payment comes, Anna produces the treasure which had been concealed in the statue, and still in the disguise of the White Lady reveals to him the secret of his birth during the exile of his parents, and informs him he is Julius of Avenel. Gaveston approaches the spectre, and tears off her veil, revealing Anna. Moved by the zeal and fidelity of his father’s ward, George offers her his hand, which after some maidenly scruples she accepts.


In the first act the principal numbers are the opening song of George, “Ah! what Pleasure a Soldier to be”; the characteristic ballad of the White Lady with choral responses, “Where yon Trees your Eye discovers”; and the graceful trio in the finale, “Heavens! what do I hear.” The second act opens with a plaintive romanza, “Poor Margaret, spin away,” sung by Margaret, Anna’s old nurse, at her spinning-wheel, as she thinks of the absent Laird, followed in the fifth scene by a beautiful cavatina for tenor, “Come, O Gentle Lady.” In the seventh scene there is a charming duet, “From these Halls,” and the act closes with an ensemble for seven voices and chorus which is extremely effective. The third act opens with a sentimental air for Anna, “With what Delight I behold,” followed in the third scene by a stirring chorus of mountaineers, “Hail to our Gallant, our New-made Lord,” and leading up to “The Lay ever sung by the Clan of Avenel”—set to the familiar melody of “Robin Adair.” Though somewhat old-fashioned, the opera still retains its freshness, and its refined sentiment finds charming musical expression.




[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Stephenson. First produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, September 25, 1886.]


Dorothy Bantam, Squire Bantam’s daughter.
Lydia Hawthorne, her cousin.
Priscilla Privett, a widow.
Phyllis, Tuppet’s daughter.
Geoffrey Wilder, Bantam’s nephew.
Harry Sherwood, Wilder’s chum.
Squire Bantam, of Chanticleer Hall.
Lurcher, a sheriff’s officer.
Tuppet, the village landlord.
Tom Grass, in love with Phyllis.

[Farm hands, hop-pickers, and ballet.]

The scene is laid in Kent, England; time, a hundred years ago.

The story of “Dorothy” is a simple one, but affords much scope for humor. The first act opens in a hop-field, introducing a chorus and dance of the hop-pickers. Afterward appears Dorothy, daughter of a wealthy squire, who is masquerading in a peasant’s dress, and while serving the landlord’s customers falls in love with a gentleman whose horse has lost a shoe. Her cousin, Lydia Hawthorne, who is with her in disguise, also falls in love with a customer. Each girl gives her lover [51] a ring, and each lover vows he will never part with it; but that same evening at a ball the faithless swains give the rings to two fine ladies, who are none other than Dorothy and Lydia as their proper selves. After they have parted, the two lovers, Wilder and Sherwood, play the part of burglars and rob Squire Bantam. Dorothy, disguised in male attire, then challenges her lover, who, though he accepts, displays arrant cowardice, which leads up to the inevitable explanations. Incidentally there is much fun growing out of the efforts of Lurcher, the sheriff’s officer, who has followed Wilder and Sherwood down from London to collect a bill against the former. In the end Wilder and Sherwood are united to Dorothy and Lydia amid great rejoicing at Chanticleer Hall.

The principal numbers are the ballad, “With such a Dainty Dame”; the song of “The Sheriff’s Man” by Lurcher, Wilder, and Sherwood; the quartette “You swear to be Good,” and the jolly chorus “Under the Pump,” in the first act; the introduction and country dance, the bass song by Bantam, “Contentment I give you,” and the ballad, “I stand at your Threshold,” sung by Sherwood, in the second act; and the chorus of old women, “Dancing is not what it used to be,” Phyllis’ ballad, “The Time has come when I must yield” and the septette and chorus, “What Joy untold,” leading up to the elaborate finale of the last act.




[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Letterier and Vanloo.]


Kolbach, military governor of Montgratz.
Tancred, his nephew.
Arthur, student, son of a rich Hungarian farmer.
Lay Brother Pelican, doorkeeper of the convent.
Konrad, captain of the governor’s pages.
Tekeli, sergeant of the patrol.
Boboky, gypsy scout.
Boleslas, chief of the gypsies.
The Seneschal, Kolbach’s steward.
Falka, niece of Kolbach, at the convent school.
Edwige, sister of Boleslas.
Alexina de Kelkirsch, a young heiress.
Minna, her maid.
Janotha, landlady of the inn.

[Military pages, soldiers of the watch, maids of honor, peasants, Bohemians, etc.]

The scene is laid in Hungary; time, the middle of the eighteenth century.

The first act of “Falka” opens with the announcement that Kolbach, the military governor of Hungary, has been promised a patent of nobility by the Emperor upon the condition that he can establish the succession with a male heir, either [53] direct or collateral. He is childless himself, but he has a niece, Falka, who is in a convent, and a nephew, Tancred, who is usher in a village school. The brother of Kolbach is dead. His hopes for the heir rest upon Tancred, whom he has never seen. He summons him to take a place in his house as the heir presumptive. On his way, Tancred is captured by a band of gypsies, led by Boleslas, but is released by Edwige, Boleslas’ sister, on condition that he marries her. All this has happened in the night, and Edwige has not even seen Tancred’s face. The latter, when he learns who Edwige is, flies, and is pursued to the city where Kolbach lives by Boleslas and Edwige. From a pocket-book he has dropped they discover he is the nephew of the governor, and plot to identify him at the meeting, but Tancred, overhearing them, decides to baffle them by not appearing, and writes to his uncle that he is detained by illness. In the mean time Falka, the niece, has eloped with a young man named Arthur. Closely pursued by Brother Pelican, the convent doorkeeper, the fugitives arrive at the inn where Kolbach and Tancred were to have met. To foil Brother Pelican, Falka arrays herself in a suit of Arthur’s, and then boldly decides to personate her brother. Kolbach is easily deceived, but new complications ensue. Brother Pelican, finding Falka’s convent dress, suspects she has disguised herself as a boy and arrests Arthur for her. Boleslas and Edwige, witnessing the meeting of Falka and Kolbach, are certain Falka [54] is the missing Tancred. For Falka’s sake Arthur is silent, and the cortège sets out for the castle where the heir presumptive is to be engaged, by the Emperor’s order, to the rich young Alexina de Kelkirsch.

In the second act Brother Pelican takes Arthur to the convent in Falka’s dress, and Falka remains in a soldier’s uniform to win the consent of her uncle to their union. Her plans are now disturbed by the arrival of Tancred, disguised as a footman, to watch his own interests and thwart the schemes of the young soldier, who he little dreams is his own sister. He is afraid to reveal himself because he knows Boleslas is on his track. He contrives that Falka shall be accused of broken vows before Kolbach, and she is challenged by Boleslas, but escapes by revealing her sex to Edwige. Arthur, who has been brought back from the convent, confesses the interchange of dresses with Falka, whereupon Kolbach orders them both out of his presence. Tancred displays unusual satisfaction, and thus discloses his identity to Edwige. Thus the act closes with Kolbach’s discovery that Tancred is betrothed to a gypsy and that the pseudo Tancred is his niece Falka.

In the last act Kolbach reluctantly prepares for the marriage of Tancred to Alexina, as the Emperor desires. Falka is shut up in a tower, whence she is to be sent back to the convent. At this point Boleslas appears with Edwige. An interview between the two brides leads to the substitution of [55] Edwige for Alexina, and Tancred marries the gypsy. Falka escapes from the tower, but is caught and brought before her uncle, who at last pardons her various follies, all the more willingly because he has received a despatch from the Emperor that he may adopt her as his heiress, the succession having been settled in the female line.

The principal numbers in the first act are the stirring air and refrain, “I’m the Captain,” sung by Edwige, Tancred, and Boleslas, preluded by a short march movement; a taking little nocturne, “There was no Ray of Light,” sung by Edwige; a rondo duet, “For your Indulgence”; and the long and elaborate finale, which closes with an octette and full chorus.

The second act opens with a charming chorus, “Tap, tap,” sung by the maids of honor, followed by couplets, “Perhaps you will excuse.” Falka has a pretty air, “Yon Life it seems,” followed by the exit chorus, “Ah! is she not a Beauty?” This in turn is followed by a characteristic Bohemian chorus, “Tra-la-la,” with a gypsy air, “Cradled upon the Heather,” coming in as a kind of vocal intermezzo. After a long ensemble, “It was Tancred,” a trio, “Oh Joy! oh Rapture!” is sung, in the course of which there is an ingenious passage burlesquing Italian opera, followed by a quintette, “His Aspect’s not so overpowering,” and leading up to an elaborately concerted finale.

The last act, though short, contains many brilliant numbers; among them the bridal chorus, [56] “Rampart and Bastian Gray,” followed by a lively Hungarian rondo and dance, “Catchee, catchee”; a romanza “At Eventide,” which literally passes “from grave to gay, from lively to severe,” as it begins with an andante agitato, changing to an andante religioso, and ending with a waltz tempo, and repeating with the same abrupt changes; a charming duo Berceuse, “Slumber, O Sentinel”; and the bell chorus, “There the Bells go,” preceding a short finale.



Robin Hood.

[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Harry B. Smith. First produced in Chicago, June 9, 1890.]


Robert of Huntington, afterward Robin Hood.
Sheriff of Nottingham.
Sir Guy of Gisborne, his ward.
Little John,
Will Scarlet,
Friar Tuck,
Allan a Dale,
} outlaws.
Lady Marian Fitzwalker, afterwards Maid Marian.
Dame Durden, a widow.
Annabel, her daughter.

[Villagers, milkmaids, outlaws, King’s foresters, archers, pedlers, etc.]

The scene is laid in England; time of Richard the First.

The first act of “Robin Hood” opens in the market-place of Nottingham, where the villagers are holding a fair and at the same time celebrating May Day with a blithe chorus, for Robin Hood’s name is often associated with that day. The three outlaws Allan a Dale, Little John, and Will Scarlet, enter, and sing most lustily the praises of their free life in Sherwood Forest, the villagers joining in chorus. The tantara changes to a graceful and yet hilarious dance chorus, “A [58] Morris Dance must you entrance,” sung fortissimo. The second number is a characteristic and lively song by Friar Tuck, in which he offers at auction venison, ale, and homespun, followed by No. 3, a humorous pastoral, the milkmaid’s song with chorus, “When Chanticleer crowing.” This leads up to the entrance of Robin Hood in a spirited chorus, “Come the Bowmen in Lincoln Green,” in which the free life of the forest is still further extolled. Another and still more spirited scene introduces Maid Marian, which is followed by an expressive and graceful duet for Maid Marian and Robin Hood, “Though it was within this Hour we met,” closing in waltz time. This is followed by the Sheriff’s buffo song with chorus, “I am the Merry Sheriff of Nottingham,” and this in turn by a trio introduced by the Sheriff, “When a Peer makes Love to a Damsel Fair,” which, after the entrance of Sir Guy and his luckless wooing, closes in a gay waltz movement, “Sweetheart, my own Sweetheart.” In the finale Robin Hood demands that the Sheriff shall proclaim him Earl. The Sheriff declares that by his father’s will he has been disinherited, and that he has the documents to show that before Robin Hood’s birth his father was secretly married to a young peasant girl, who died when the Earl’s first child was born. He further declares that he reared the child, and that he is Sir Guy, the rightful heir of Huntington. Maid Marian declares she will suppress the King’s command and not accept Sir Guy’s hand, and Robin [59] Hood vows justice shall be done when the King returns from the Crusades.

The second act opens with a brisk hunting-chorus, “Oh! cheerily soundeth the Hunter’s Horn,” sung by Allan a Dale, Little John, Scarlet, and the male chorus, in the course of which Scarlet tells the story of the tailor and the crow, set to a humming accompaniment. This is followed by Little John’s unctuous apostrophe to the nut-brown ale, “And it’s will ye quaff with me, my Lads.” The next number is a tinkers’ song, “’Tis Merry Journeymen we are,” with characteristic accompaniment, followed by an elaborate sextette, “Oh, see the Lambkins play.” Maid Marian sings a joyous forest song, “In Greenwood Fair,” followed by Robin Hood’s serenade, “A Troubadour sang to his Love,” and a quartette in which Maid Marian declares her love for Robin Hood and Allan a Dale vows revenge. In the finale, opening in waltz time, the Sheriff is placed in the stocks by the outlaws, who jeer at him while Dame Durden flouts him, but he is finally rescued by Sir Guy and his archers. The outlaws in turn find themselves in trouble, and Maid Marian and Robin Hood are in despair.

The last act opens with a vigorous armorers’ song, “Let Hammer on Anvil ring,” followed by a pretty romance, “The Legend of the Chimes,” with a ding-dong accompaniment. A graceful duet follows, “There will come a Time,” in which Robin Hood and Maid Marian plight their troth. [60] In strong contrast with this, Annabel, Dame Durden, Sir Guy, the Sheriff, and Friar Tuck indulge in a vivacious quintette, “When Life seems made of Pains and Pangs, I sing my Too-ral-loo-ral-loo.” A jolly country dance and chorus, “Happy Day, Happy Day,” introduce the finale, in which Maid Marian is saved by the timely arrival of Robin Hood at the church door with the King’s pardon, leaving him free to marry.

Maid Marian.

[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Harry B. Smith. First produced at Chestnut Street Opera House, Philadelphia, Pa., November 4, 1901.]


Sheriff of Nottingham.
Little John.
Robin Hood.
Will Scarlet.
Friar Tuck.
Allan a Dale.
Guy of Gisborne.
Dame Durden.
} gamekeepers.
Yussuf, a slave merchant.
Sir H. Vere de Vere,
Sir Hugh Montford,
} Knights of St. George.
Amina, a snake-charmer.
Lady Vivian.
Maid Marian.

[Huntsmen, men at arms, Saracen warriors, mummers, Crusaders, etc.]

The scene is laid in England and Palestine; time of Richard the First.


The story of “Maid Marian” introduces most of the familiar characters in “Robin Hood” and some new ones, and the scene alternates between Sherwood Forest and Palestine. It is intended as a sequel to the latter opera. The plot begins at the point where Maid Marian and Robin Hood were betrothed. Robin has joined the Crusaders and left Marian on the eve of the wedding. He also leaves a letter for Marian in Little John’s charge, directing her in case of trouble to apply to him for help. This letter is stolen by the Sheriff of Nottingham, who substitutes for it a forged missive calculated to make her believe that Robin is false. The first act closes with the arrival of Little John and the forest outlaws, who leave for the holy war. Marian joins them to seek for Robin.

The second act opens in the camp of the Crusaders, near the city of Acre. Maid Marian has been captured by the Saracens and sold into slavery, but is rescued by Robin Hood. Then the Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisborne, the latter still intent upon marrying Marian, appear in the disguise of merchants and betray the camp into the hands of the Saracens. Dame Durden’s encounter with the Sheriff and Friar Tuck’s antics as an odalisque add merriment to the story.

In the last act all the principals are back in England and the scene opens with a Christmas revel in Huntington Castle. Robin thwarts all the schemes of the Sheriff, comes into his rights, and is reunited to Maid Marian.


While the story lacks in interest as compared with that of “Robin Hood,” the music gains in dramatic power and seriousness of purpose, and at the same time is full of life and vivacity. The overture is notable for being in genuine concert form,—the first instance of the kind in comic opera for many years past,—and thus naturally sets the pace, as it were, for the opera, and gives the clew to its musical contents. The most noticeable numbers in the first act are the Cellarer’s Toast, “The Cellar is dark and the Cellar is deep,” a rollicking song for Scarlet, Friar Tuck, and chorus; the charmingly melodious “Song of the Falcon,” “Let one who will go hunt the Deer,” for Maid Marian; the Sheriff’s song, “I am the Sheriff Mild and Good,” which is always popular; and a delightful madrigal, the quintette “Love may come and Love may go.” The second act contains many pleasing and characteristic songs, among them “The Monk and the Magpie,” sung by Scarlet and chorus; the “Song of the Outlaw,” a spirited ballad by Robin Hood; the Sheriff’s serenade, a popular tune, “When a Man is in Love”; “The Snake Charmer’s Song,” by Maid Marian; and the vigorous “Song of the Crusader” by Robin; but the two most effective numbers are a graceful song, “Tell me again, Sweetheart,” sung by Allan a Dale, and the duet in waltz manner, “True Love is not for a Day,” by Robin and Marian. The third act is largely choral, the introductory Christmas carolling and [63] dance rhythms being especially effective, but it contains one of the best solo numbers in the work, the dainty song with chorus, “Under the Mistletoe Bough.” The music throughout is dramatic, strong, and well written. While the opera has not been as popular as its predecessor, yet the music is of a higher order, and occasionally approaches grand opera in its breadth and earnestness.

Rob Roy.

[Romantic comic opera, in three acts; text by Harry B. Smith. First produced at the Herald Square Theatre, New York, October 29, 1894.]


Rob Roy MacGregor, Highland chief.
Janet, daughter of the Mayor.
Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the young Pretender.
Flora MacDonald, partisan of the Pretender.
Dugald MacWheeble, Mayor of Perth.
Lochiel, otherwise Donald Cameron.
Capt. Ralph Sheridan, of the Grenadiers.
Sandy MacSherry, town-crier.
Tammas MacSorlie, the Mayor’s henchman.
Lieut. Cornwallis, of the Grenadiers.
Lieut. Clinton.
Angus MacAllister.
Duncan Campbell.
Stuart MacPherson.
Donald MacAlpine.
Nellie, barmaid of “The Crown and Thistle.”

[Highlanders, Lowlanders, townsmen, watchmen, drummer-boys, English Grenadiers, etc.]

The scene is laid in Scotland; time of George the Second.


The first act of “Rob Roy” opens in Perth, where Lochiel and his Highlanders have stolen a considerable sum of money in the keeping of the Provost, with which they propose to aid Prince Charles Stuart in his designs upon the English throne. Flora MacDonald, a zealous partisan of the young Pretender, appears upon the scene, and induces the Provost to consent to a gathering of the clans in Perth. Hearing of a Scotch victory, he compels his daughter Janet to marry Sandy MacSherry, the town-crier, who claims relationship with the Stuarts. In the mean time English grenadiers enter Perth, and their captain, Ralph Sheridan, falls in love with Janet. The Provost, who is always on the side that is uppermost, forces his daughter to declare herself the Captain’s wife and then accuses Sandy of stealing the missing money. Janet obeys him, but immediately afterwards Rob Roy captures the town, and the Provost, to get rid of his new English son-in-law, causes his arrest. It now appears that the crafty Janet when she went through the Scotch form of marriage with Sandy and the Captain was already secretly married to Rob Roy. To escape her two nominal husbands she proposes to go with Rob Roy’s Highlanders as his orderly. The act closes with the gathering of the clans and the elevation of the standard.

The second act opens with the defeat of the Scotch at Culloden. A reward is offered for the Prince, who is in hiding among the MacGregors in their mountain stronghold. The Provost and his [65] henchmen appear as strolling balladmongers, still in Highland dress, and not having heard of the Scotch defeat. When Sandy MacSherry arrives with the news of the English victory, the Provost gets into English uniform at once, and determines to secure the reward offered for the Prince. At last the Prince is found by the English, but when they are about to take him away, Flora MacDonald appears in the Prince’s costume, declares him her servant, and is led away by the soldiers in spite of the efforts of Rob Roy and the Prince to rescue her.

The third act opens near Stirling Castle, where Flora is confined under sentence of death on the morrow. Lochiel aids her to escape, and she goes to the MacGregors’ cave, where the Prince is to join her. Meanwhile, her cell being empty, Lochiel, who has taken the turnkey’s place, puts Sandy in it. The Provost, who is now an English corporal, supposing that Flora is still in the castle, brings her a disguise costume in which Sandy manages to effect his escape. Flora is found in the cave and brought back to the camp, but is saved from being shot by the timely arrival of the Prince, who gives himself up. As he is about to be executed, the Lowlanders around him throw off their coats and stand revealed as armed Highlanders. They keep the English soldiers at bay while the Prince and Flora are seen sailing away for France.

In the first act, after a long choral scene and [66] ensemble, Flora makes her entrance with the spirited song, “Away in the Morning Early,” which is followed by a sentimental duet with the Prince, “Thou, Dear Heart.” The town-crier next has a characteristic song with a ding-dong accompaniment. After a grenadier song and chorus by Captain Sheridan and his soldiers, there is a vigorous Highland chorus and song by Rob Roy, “The White and the Red, huzzah.” The remaining prominent numbers in this act are a pretty duet for Rob Roy and Janet, “There he is and nae one wi’ him”; a charming Scotch ballad, “My Hame is where the Heather blooms,” and a humorous song by the Provost, “My Hairt is in the Highlands.”

The principal numbers in the second act are Janet’s joyous song, “There was a Merry Miller of the Lowland”; the spirited martial lay of the Cavalier, “With their trappings all a-jingle”; the jolly song of the balladmongers, “From Place to Place I fare, Lads”; Rob Roy’s song, “Come, Lairds of the Highlands”; and the effective romanza, “Dearest Heart of my Heart,” sung by Flora.

The third act opens with a vigorous rataplan chorus followed by a charming chansonette and duet, “Who can tell me where she dwells,” sung by the Prince and Flora. The remaining numbers are a short but exceedingly effective bass song, “In the Donjon Deep”; the Provost’s serenade, “The Land of Romances,” followed by a dance, [67] and a pretty little rustic song, “There’s a Lass, some think her Bonny,” for Rob Roy, Janet, and chorus, leading up to a vigorous choral finale.

The Fencing-Master.

[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Harry B. Smith. First produced at the New York Casino, November 14, 1892.]


Francesca, Torquato’s daughter, brought up as a boy.
Torquato, fencing-master of the Milanese court.
Pasquino, private astrologer to the Duke.
Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan.
Count Guido Malespine.
Filippa, the Duke’s ward.
Marchesa di Goldoni.
Theresa, daughter of a Milanese money-lender.
Pietro, an innkeeper.
Michaele Steno, Doge of Venice.
Rinaldo, Captain of the Doge’s Guards.
Fortunio, rightful heir to the ducal throne.

[Students in Torquato’s Academy.]

The scene is laid in Milan and Venice; time, the first quarter of the fifteenth century.

The heroine of this opera is Francesca, daughter of a fencing-master, who has brought her up as a boy and taught her fencing among other accomplishments. She is in love with Fortunio, rightful heir to the throne of Milan, who believes her to be a boy. Fortunio in turn is in love with the Countess Filippa, and the Marchesa di Goldoni, a young widow, is in love with Francesca. The bankrupt and usurping Duke of Milan and his [68] private astrologer, of whom he has purchased so many horoscopes as to deplete his exchequer, furnish the comedy element of the opera. The Duke has mortgaged one room after another in his palace to money-lenders, and has also employed a regularly organized stock company of Venetian bravos to remove Fortunio. The first act closes with the departure of Fortunio and Francesca to Venice on political business.

The second act opens in Venice. Filippa has been sent there to be married, but Fortunio plans an elopement with her and entrusts the secret to Francesca. The jealous Francesca betrays the plan to Guido, his rival, who abducts Filippa. When Fortunio discovers what Francesca has done, he challenges the supposed young man, whose identity is revealed after he has wounded her. Fortunio is arrested by the Duke and is about to be taken to prison, when Francesca declares herself as the real traitor and is imprisoned in his stead.

In the last act Francesca escapes through the connivance of the Marchesa, who still believes her to be a man. At a fête Filippa is expected to name her future husband. Fortunio has made an appointment with her, but meets Francesca disguised as the Countess, in a mask and domino like hers. She learns from Fortunio that he really loves her and not Filippa. The opera closes with the downfall of the usurping Duke and his astrologer and the restoration of Fortunio to his rights.


The music has the Italian color, the first act containing a graceful tarantella and chorus, “Under thy Window I wait”; a duet, gavotte, and chorus, “Oh, listen, and in Verse I will relate,” sung by Theresa and Pasquino; a lively song, “The Life of a Rover,” by Fortunio; a charming habanera and quintette, “True Love is a Gem so Fair and Rare”; and a waltz quintette, “Lady Fair, I must decline.” The second act opens with a barcarole, “Over the Moonlit Waves we glide,” and contains also a graceful maranesca, “Oh, come, my Love, the Stars are bright”; a humorous serenade for the Duke, “Singing a Serenade is no Light Task”; a sentimental romanza for Francesca, “The Nightingale and the Rose”; and a brilliant finale in which the music accompanies the historic ceremony of the marriage with the Adriatic. The principal numbers of the third act are a graceful carnival scene with chorus opening the act; the serenade for the Marchesa and cavaliers, “Wild Bird that singeth”; a will-o’-the-wisp song by Francesca, “Traveller wandering wearily”; and a melodious duet for Francesca and Fortunio, “Dwells an Image in my Heart,” leading up to a short finale.




[Romantic opera, in three acts; text by Goudinet and Gille. First produced at the Opéra Comique, Paris, April 14, 1883; in New York, March 1, 1886.]


Lakmé, daughter of Nilakantha.
Nilakantha, a Brahmin priest.
Gerald, an English officer, lover of Lakmé.
Frederick, an English officer.
Mallika, slave of Lakmé.
Hadji, slave of Lakmé.
} daughters of the Viceroy.
Mrs. Benson, their governess.

[Hindoos, Chinamen, fruit-venders, sailors, etc.]

The scene is laid in India; time, last century.

The opera of “Lakmé” opens in the sacred grounds of Nilakantha, a Brahmin priest who has an aversion to all foreigners, where Gerald and Frederick, two young English officers, with ladies are strolling about. They gradually retire with the exception of Gerald, who is curious to see the owner of some jewels left upon a shrine. Lakmé, the daughter of Nilakantha, returns for them, espies Gerald, and there is a case of love at first sight. The priest however interrupts their demonstrations, [71] and Gerald escapes his vengeance in a convenient thunder-storm. In the second act Lakmé and Nilakantha appear in the market-place in the guise of penitents. He forces his daughter to sing, hoping that her voice will induce her lover to disclose himself. The scheme succeeds, and Nilakantha, stealing upon Gerald, stabs him in the back and makes good his escape. The third act opens in a jungle where Lakmé is nursing Gerald with the hope of retaining his love. She eventually saves his life, but while she is absent to obtain some water which, according to the Indian legend, will make love eternal, Frederick finds him and urges him to return to his regiment. Duty is more powerful than passion, and he consents. When Lakmé finds that he is going, she takes poison and dies in Gerald’s arms.

The first act opens with a chorus of Hindoos, oriental in its coloring, followed by a duet between Lakmé and her father, the scene closing with a sacred chant. A beautiful duet for Lakmé and her slave follows, “Neath yon Dome where Jasmines with the Roses are blooming.” As Lakmé appears at the shrine, she sings a restless love song, “Why love I thus to stray?” followed by Gerald’s ardent response, “The God of Truth so Glowing.”

The first number of importance in the second act is the pathetic aria of Nilakantha, addressed to his daughter, “Lakmé, thy Soft Looks are over-clouded.” Then follows Lakmé’s bell song, [72] “Where strays the Hindoo Maiden,” a brilliant and gracefully embellished aria with tinkling accompaniment which will always be popular. The remaining principal numbers are an impassioned song by Gerald, “Ah! then ’tis Slumbering Love,” followed by the mysterious response from Lakmé, “In the Forest near at Hand.”

The music of the third act is tinged with sadness throughout, as the action hastens to the tragic dénouement. Its principal numbers are the low murmuring song by Lakmé, “’Neath the Dome of Moon and Star,” as she watches her sleeping lover; Gerald’s song, “Tho’ Speechless I, my Heart remembers,” followed by a pretty three-part chorus in the distance; and Lakmé’s last dying songs, “To me the Fairest Dream thou’st given,” and “Farewell, the Dream is over.”



The Daughter of the Regiment.

[Opéra comique, in two acts; text by Bayard and St. Georges. First produced at the Opéra Comique, Paris, February 11, 1840.]


Sulpice, an old sergeant.
Tony, a Tyrolean peasant in love with Marie.
Hortensius, secretary of the Marchioness.
Marie, the adopted Daughter of the Regiment.
Marchioness de Berkenfeld.
Duchesse de Crackenthorpe.

[Villagers, soldiers, gentlemen, guests.]

The scene is laid in the Tyrol; time, about twelve years after the Battle of Marengo.

At the opening of the opera Marie, the heroine, and vivandière in Napoleon’s Twenty-first Regiment, has been saved from falling over a precipice by Tony, a Tyrolean peasant, and is ever after the object of his special admiration and, shortly, of his love. She tells the story of her life, from which it appears that she was adopted as the Daughter of the Regiment because she was picked up on the field of battle by Sergeant Sulpice, who found upon her person a letter written by her father to the Marchioness de Berkenfeld. Tony’s reward for his rescue of Marie is his arrest [74] as a spy, but not before he has declared his love for her. He easily clears up his record, and the soldiers decide he may have Marie’s hand if he will join them. He gives joyous assent to this proposition, but his hopes are suddenly dashed to the ground when the Marchioness de Berkenfeld appears. Sergeant Sulpice delivers the letter to her, after reading which she claims Marie as her niece, and carries her off amidst smothered imprecations by the soldiers and especially by Tony upon the Marchioness.

In the second act Marie is found in her new home at the castle of Berkenfeld, and the old sergeant is with her, while she is rehearsing a romance which she is to sing to a grand company. She and Sulpice suddenly break out into a rollicking rataplan, and go through military evolutions to the horror of the Marchioness. While the latter is expostulating with them, martial music announces the approach of the gallant Twenty-first, with Tony at their head, for he is now a colonel. He makes another appeal for Marie’s hand, and the appeal is seconded by the soldiers, but the Marchioness refuses the favor. Tony then proposes an elopement, to which Marie consents. To thwart this scheme, the Marchioness announces that early in life she had been secretly married to an army officer of low rank and that he was Marie’s father. Unable to disobey her mother’s wishes, Marie gives up Tony and falls into a melancholy mood. Her sad plight rouses old associations in the mind of the [75] Marchioness, and she at last gives her consent to the union.

The music of the first act is very brilliant, and includes among its best numbers Marie’s opening song, “The Camp was my Birthplace”; the duet with Sulpice, known the world over as “The Rataplan,” stirring and martial in its character and accompanied by the rattling of drums and the sonorous strains of the brasses; the spirited “Salute to France”; Marie’s song of the regiment, “All Men confess it”; her pretty duet with Tony, “No longer can I doubt it”; and her touching adieu to the regiment, “Farewell, a Long Farewell.”

In the second act the principal numbers are the “Rataplan” (repeated); Marie’s aria, “By the Glitter of Greatness and Riches”; the soldiers’ spirited choral appeal, “We have come our Child to free”; Tony’s romance, “That I might live in her Dear Sight”; and the effective trio, “Once again, what Delight,” leading to the exultant finale. The music of the opera is light, but exceedingly brilliant, and the leading rôles have always been esteemed by great artists. That of Marie was a favorite one with Jenny Lind, Patti, Sontag, and Albani.


Don Pasquale.

[Opera buffa, in three acts; text and music by Donizetti. First produced at the Theatre des Italiens, Paris, January 4, 1843.]


Don Pasquale, an obstinate but kind-hearted bachelor.
Dr. Malatesta, his friend and physician.
Ernesto, Don Pasquale’s nephew.
Norina, a young widow.

[Valets, chambermaids, majordomo, dressmaker, etc.]

The scene is laid in Rome; time, last century.

The opening of the first act of “Don Pasquale” discloses the Don enraged with Ernesto, his nephew, because he will not marry to suit him. Dr. Malatesta, a mutual friend, comes to the help of Ernesto, to whom he is greatly attached, and contrives a scheme to further his interests. He urges the Don to marry a lady, pretending she is his (the doctor’s) sister, in reality Norina, with whom Ernesto is in love. Norina is let into the secret, her part being to consent to the marriage contract and then so torment Don Pasquale that he will be glad to get rid of her and even consent to her marriage with Ernesto.

In the second act Ernesto is found bewailing his fate. The Don enters, showily arrayed for his wedding. Norina appears with the doctor, and shyly and reluctantly signs the wedding-contract. [77] As soon as she has signed it, however, she drops all modesty. The bewildered Ernesto is kept quiet by signs from the doctor. Norina first refuses all the Don’s demonstrations, and then declares Ernesto shall be her escort. She summons the servants, and lays out a scheme of housekeeping upon such an extravagant scale that Don Pasquale declares he will not pay the bills. She says he shall, as she is now master of the house.

In the third act Norina continues her annoying antics. She employs the most expensive milliners and modistes. At length, when he finds that she is going to the theatre, he forbids it. A quarrel follows. She boxes his ears, and as she flounces out of the room she purposely drops a letter, the contents of which add jealousy to his other troubles. At this juncture Dr. Malatesta comes in and condoles with him. Nothing will satisfy Don Pasquale, however, except her leaving the house, and finally he orders her to go, at the same time taxing her with having a lover concealed on the premises. The doctor pleads with him to let his nephew marry Norina. When he finds she is really the doctor’s sister, he is only too glad to get out of his troubles by consenting to the marriage of the young couple and blessing them.

The principal numbers in the first act are the duet for Ernesto and Don Pasquale; the scena for Norina, “And in that Look she gave”; and the charming duet for Norina and the doctor, “What Sport we’ll have,” closing the act. The second [78] act opens with the lugubrious aria, “Oh! how at one Fell Blow,” in which Ernesto bewails his sad condition, and also contains a charming quartette. The gem of the opera is the serenade in the last act, “How Soft the Air — in April Night so Fair,” better known perhaps by its Italian title, “Com ’e gentil,” which was inserted by Donizetti after the first performance to strengthen the work and make it more popular. The serenade has been heard the world over and is a favorite concert number still. The charm of “Don Pasquale” lies in its humorous situations and the bright, melodious music which illustrates them. For brilliant gayety it stands in the front rank of comic operas.


[Grand opera, in three acts; text by Rossi. First produced at the Kärnthnerthor Theatre, Vienna, May 19, 1842.]


Linda, daughter of Antonio.
Pierotto, a villager.
Antonio, a farmer.
Madalina, his wife.
Marquis of Boisfleury.
Carlo, the Marquis’ son.

[Villagers, Savoyards, etc.]

The scene is laid in Switzerland; time, last century.

The first act of “Linda de Chamouni” opens in the valley of that name, and discloses the home of [79] Antonio Lonstolat, a farmer, and his old wife, Madalina, whose only daughter, Linda, is in love with Carlo, a young painter who has recently come into the valley. Misfortunes have overtaken the old couple, and they are in danger of losing their farm, which is owned by the Marchioness de Sirval. Their anxiety is temporarily relieved when the Marquis of Boisfleury visits them and assures them he will save the farm, his real purpose being to effect the ruin of Linda by ingratiating himself with her parents. The Prefect of the village, however, is aware of his designs, and induces them to let Linda accompany a party of villagers to Paris, promising at the same time to place her with his brother, who is supposed to be living in that city. She soon leaves under the protection of Pierotto, the Savoyard.

The second act discloses them on the way to Paris, but Linda unfortunately loses her companion. Upon reaching Paris she finds that the Prefect’s brother is dead. Meanwhile Carlo, who has followed her, arrives, and reveals to her that he is the Viscount Sirval, son of the Marchioness, and nephew of the Marquis. He renews his offer of marriage, and places her in a handsome apartment. In these questionable surroundings Pierotto discovers her. Her father, who has had to give up the farm, also finds her, and, distrusting her innocence amid such luxury, curses her. The Marchioness meanwhile, who has learned of her son’s attachment, threatens to imprison Linda if he does [80] not marry the lady she has selected for him. He gives his feigned consent, and Linda, thinking he has deserted her, goes insane.

In the last act Pierotto takes her back to her native village. Carlo arrives there in search of her, and finding her with Pierotto sings to her, hoping she will recognize his voice and that her reason may return. The song has the desired effect. Subsequently the Marchioness relents, gives her consent to their union, and all ends happily.

The music of “Linda” is of that serious and dignified kind which justifies its inclusion in the list of grand operas. In the first act the opening aria of Antonio, “We were both in this Valley nurtured,” is a touching expression of the sorrow of the aged couple. Linda’s farewell, “Oh, Stars that guide my Fervent Love,” familiar on the concert stage by its Italian title, “O, luce di quest’ anima,” is an aria of strong dramatic power, and has always been a popular favorite. In this act also are Pierotto’s pathetic ballad, “Once a Better Fortune seeking,” and the passionate duet for Linda and Carlo, “Oh that the Blessed Day were come.” The principal numbers in the second act are the brilliant duet for Linda and Pierotto, “Oh, Linda, at thy Happy Fate,” which is highly embellished, and the aria for Linda, “Ah! go, my Love.” The last act contains a mournful aria by Carlo, “If from Heaven the Bolts should reach me”; his charming song in which he appeals to Linda, “Hear the voice that, softly singing”; and [81] the rapturous duet for Linda and Carlo, “Ah! the Vision of thy Sorrow fades,” which closes the opera.

The Elixir of Love.

[Opera buffa, in two acts; text by Romani. First produced in Milan in 1832; in English at Drury Lane Theatre, London, in 1839.]


Nemorino, a young husbandman.
Sergeant Belcore.
Dr. Dulcamara, a travelling quack.
Pietro, peasant.
Adina, a country girl.
} her companions.

[Farmers, peasants, soldiers, villagers, etc.]

The scene is laid in an Italian village; time, last century.

Few more graceful little operas have been written than “The Elixir of Love.” Its heroine, Adina, a capricious country girl, is loved by Nemorino, a farmer, whose uncle lies at the point of death, also by Belcore, a sergeant, whose troops are billeted upon the neighboring village. Adina has both her lovers in suspense when Dr. Dulcamara, a quack, arrives in the village to sell his nostrums. Nemorino applies to him for a bottle of the Elixir of Love, and receives from him a bottle of ordinary wine with the assurance that if he drinks of it he can command the love of any [82] one on the morrow. To make sure of its agreeable properties, he drinks the whole of it with the result that he accosts Adina in a half-tipsy condition, and so disgusts her that she promises to marry the sergeant in a week. In the mean time an order comes for the departure of the troops, and the sergeant presses her to marry him that day.

Adina gives her consent, and the second act opens with the assembling of the villagers to witness the signing of the marriage contract. While the principals and notary retire for the signing, Nemorino enters, and finding Dr. Dulcamara begs of him some charm that will make Adina love him; but as he has no money the quack refuses to assist him. Nemorino is in despair, but at this juncture the sergeant enters out of humor, as the capricious Adina has refused to sign until evening. Finding that Nemorino needs money, he urges him to enlist, and for the sake of the bonus of twenty crowns he consents. Nemorino hastens with the money to the quack, and obtains a second bottle of elixir which is much more powerful than the first. The girls of the village somehow have discovered that Nemorino’s uncle has died and left him a handsome property, of which good fortune, however, Nemorino is ignorant. They use all their charms to attract his favor. Nemorino attributes his sudden popularity to the elixir, and even the quack himself is surprised at the remarkable change in his customer. Nemorino now pays Adina off in kind by making her jealous. Dr. [83] Dulcamara comes to her assistance, seeing an opportunity for the sale of more elixir. He explains its properties to her, tells her of Nemorino’s attachment, and advises her to try some of it. Struck with his devotion, she announces another change of mind to the sergeant, and bestows her hand upon the faithful Nemorino.

The opera abounds with bright and gay musical numbers, the most attractive of which are the long and characteristic buffo song, “Give Ear now, ye Rustic Ones,” in which Dr. Dulcamara describes his various nostrums to the villagers; the charmingly humorous duet, “Much obliged,” for Nemorino and Dr. Dulcamara; and the ensemble, “The Wine-cup full teeming,” in which the half-tipsy Nemorino appears in the finale of the first act. The prominent numbers of the second act are the beautiful duet, “What Affection and oh, how cruel,” for Adina and Dr. Dulcamara; the beautiful romanza for Nemorino, “In her Dark Eye embathed there stood” (“Una furtiva lacrima”), which is of world-wide popularity; and Adina’s gracefully melodious aria, “So much Joy is more than my Heart can contain.”



The Doctor of Alcantara.

[Comic operetta, in two acts; text by Wolfe. First produced at the Museum, Boston, Mass., April 7, 1862.]


Dr. Paracelsus.
Señor Balthazar.
Carlos, his son.
} porters.
Don Pomposo, alguazil.
Donna Lucrezia, wife of Dr. Paracelsus.
Isabella, her daughter.
Inez, her maid.

[Serenaders, citizens, etc.]

The scene is laid in Alcantara, Spain; time, last century.

The first act of this operetta opens with a dainty serenade by Carlos, son of Señor Balthazar, to Señorita Isabella, daughter of Dr. Paracelsus, with whom he is in love. Isabella, who is intended for another by her mother, Donna Lucrezia, prefers this unknown serenader. As the song closes, Isabella, Lucrezia, and even the maid Inez claim it as a compliment, and quarrel over it in an effective buffo trio, “You Saucy Jade.” Three songs follow this number,—“Beneath the [85] Gloomy Convent Wall,” “When a Lover is Poor,” and “There was a Knight, as I’ve been told,” in which the three women recite their unfortunate love affairs. As their songs close, the doctor enters with the announcement that a basket has arrived, ostensibly for Inez. The curious Lucrezia looks into it, and finds Carlos, who immediately jumps out and sings a passionate love-song, “I love, I love,” which the infatuated Lucrezia takes to herself. The love scene is interrupted by a sudden noise, and in alarm she hurries Carlos back into the basket and flies. Carlos in the mean time gets out again and fills it with books. The doctor and Inez enter, and to conceal the receipt of the basket from Lucrezia, as she might be angry with the maid, they remove it to a balcony, whence by accident it tumbles into the river. Their terror when they learn that a man was concealed in it makes an amusing scene, and this is heightened by the entrance of the Alguazil, who announces himself in a pompous bass song, “I’m Don Hypolito Lopez Pomposo,” and inquires into the supposed murder.

In the second act the situation becomes still further complicated when the doctor and Inez find Carlos in the house. Convinced that he is a detective, they seek to conciliate him by offering him wine, but by mistake give him a narcotic draught which the doctor had mixed for one of his patients. Carlos falls insensible, and thinking him dead, they hide him under a sofa. Meanwhile [86] Señor Balthazar, the father of the youth whom Isabella supposes she is to be forced to marry, and who turns out to be Carlos, arrives to pass the night. As they have no bed for him, he sleeps upon the sofa over the supposed corpse of his own son. A quartette, “Good-night, Señor Balthazar,” follows, which is full of humor, mingled with ghostly terror, and grotesque in its effect, especially in the accompaniment. Daylight, however, dispels the illusion, and a happy dénouement is reached in the finale, “Hope, ever Smiling,” which is quite brilliant in character. The operetta is very amusing in its situations, the songs are pretty and tuneful, and the concerted music is particularly effective.




[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by St. Georges. First produced in Vienna, November 25, 1847.]


Plunkett, a wealthy young farmer.
Lionel, his adopted brother, afterwards Earl of Derby.
Lord Tristan Mickleford, Lady Henrietta’s cousin.
Sheriff of Richmond, footman to Lady Henrietta.
Lady Henrietta, Maid of Honor to the Queen.
Nancy, her waiting-maid.
Molly Pitt,
Polly Smith,
Betsy Witt,
} servants.

[Farmers, farmers’ wives, servants, ladies, hunters, huntresses, and footmen.]

The scene is laid in Richmond, England; time of Queen Anne.

The first act of “Martha,” unquestionably the most popular of all light operas, opens during the progress of the servants’ fair at Richmond, whither Lady Henrietta, maid of honor to the Queen, accompanied by Nancy, her maid, and Sir Tristan, her aged cousin and admirer, tired of court life, have resorted in the disguise of servants. In the first three scenes they arrange their masquerade. [88] Sir Tristan, much to his disgust, is to be known as John, and Lady Henrietta as Martha. The first number is a duet for the two ladies, “Of the Knights so Brave and Charming,” followed by an animated trio with Sir Tristan, in dance time. The fourth scene is laid in the market-place, in which appear Plunkett, a wealthy farmer, and Lionel, his adopted brother. The parentage of the latter is unknown, but he has a souvenir from his father in the form of a ring which he is to present to the Queen whenever he shall find himself in trouble. Lionel tells his story in a tenor aria, “Lost, proscribed, a Humble Stranger,” which has been a favorite song the world over for years. The two have come to the fair to engage servants for the year, who are bound over by the sheriff. Plunkett and Lionel meet Martha and Nancy, and are so delighted with their looks that they tender the customary bonus which secures them. They accept it as a joke, but find that it is a serious matter when the young farmers drive off with them, leaving Sir Tristan in despair.

The second act opens in Plunkett’s farmhouse. After having learned their names, Plunkett attempts to find out what they can do, and tests them first at the spinning-wheel, which leads up to the delightful spinning quartette, “When the Foot the Wheel turns lightly.” It does not take the brothers long to find out that they have engaged servants who are more ornamental than useful, [89] but they decide to keep them. Nancy in a pet kicks her wheel over and runs off, followed by Plunkett, leaving Lionel alone with Martha. He at once falls in love with her, snatches a rose from her bosom, and refuses to return it unless she will sing. She replies with the familiar song, “The Last Rose of Summer,” interpolated by Flotow, and made still more effective by introducing the tenor in the refrain. He asks for her hand, but she makes sport of him. In the mean time Plunkett and Nancy return, and a beautiful Good-night quartette follows, “Midnight Sounds.” The brothers then retire, and Martha and Nancy, aided by Sir Tristan, make their escape. The next scene opens in the woods where farmers are carousing; among them Plunkett, who sings a rollicking drinking-song, “I want to ask you.” The revel is interrupted by a hunting-party of court ladies, headed by the Queen. Martha and Nancy are among them, and are recognized by Plunkett and Lionel, but they are not recognized in turn. Plunkett attempts to seize Nancy, but the huntresses drive him off, leaving Lionel and Lady Henrietta alone. The scene is one of the most effective in the opera, and contains a beautiful tenor solo, “Like a Dream Bright and Fair”—better known perhaps by its Italian title, “M’appari,” and a romance for soprano, “Here in Deepest Forest Shadows,” the act closing with a finely concerted quintette and chorus. The despairing Lionel bethinks him of his ring, gives it to Plunkett, and asks him to show it to the Queen. [90] It proves that he is the only son of the late Earl of Derby, and his estate, of which he has been unjustly deprived, is restored to him.

The opera reaches its musical climax in the second act. The third is mainly devoted to the dénouement. The Lady Henrietta, who has really been seriously in love with Lionel, is united to him, and it hardly needs to be added that Nancy and Plunkett go and do likewise.


[Romantic opera, in three acts; text by Deschamps and Pacini. First produced as a lyric drama at the Palais Royal Theatre, Paris, in 1837; rewritten and produced in its present form, at Hamburg, December 30, 1844.]


Alessandro Stradella, a famous singer.
Bassi, a rich Venetian.
Leonora, his ward.
} bandits.

[Pupils of Stradella, masqueraders, guards, and people of the Romagna.]

The scene is laid in Venice and Rome; time, the year 1769.

The story of the opera follows in the main the familiar historical, and probably apochryphal, narrative of the experiences of the Italian musician, Alessandro Stradella, varying from it only in the dénouement. Stradella wins the hand of Leonora, the fair ward of the wealthy Venetian merchant, Bassi, who is also in love with her. They fly to Rome [91] and are married, but in the mean time are pursued by two bravos, Barbarino and Malvolio, who have been employed by Bassi to make way with Stradella. They track him to his house, and while the bridal party are absent, they enter in company with Bassi and conceal themselves. Not being able to accomplish their purpose on this occasion, they secure admission a second time, disguised as pilgrims, and are kindly received by Stradella. In the next scene, while Stradella, Leonora, and the two bravos are singing the praises of their native Italy, pilgrims on their way to the shrine of the Virgin are heard singing outside, and Leonora and Stradella go out to greet them. The bravos are so touched by Stradella’s singing that they hesitate in their purpose. Bassi upbraids them, and finally, upon receiving an additional sum of money, they agree to execute his designs, and conceal themselves. When Stradella returns and rehearses a hymn to the Virgin which he is to sing on the morrow, they are so affected that they emerge from their hiding-place, confess the object of their visit, and implore his forgiveness. Explanations follow, a reconciliation is effected, and the lovers are made happy. This dénouement differs from that of the historical version, in which both lovers are killed.

The principal numbers are Stradella’s serenade, “Hark! Dearest, hark”; the following nocturne, “Through the Valleys”; the brilliant carnival chorus, “Joyous ringing, Pleasure singing,” in the first act: the aria of Leonora in her chamber, “Be [92] Witness to my Fond Heart’s Dreaming,” the rollicking drinking-song of the two bravos, “Quick, let us drink,” and the bandit ballad, “Within Lofty Mountains,” sung by Stradella, in the second act; and an exquisite terzetto, “Tell me, then, Friend Barbarino,” sung by Bassi and the two bravos when they hesitate to perform their work; and Stradella’s lovely hymn to the Virgin, “Virgin Maria, humbly adoring,” in the third act.




[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Zell. First produced in Vienna in 1877.]


Marquis de Marsillac.
Hector, his nephew.
Marquis d’ Aubigné, King’s chamberlain.
Bombardine, his henchman.
Louis XIV.
Mons. l’Abbé.
Nanon, mistress of the Golden Lamb.
Ninon de l’Enclos, a famous beauty.
Mme. de Frontenac,
Countess Houliers,
} Ninon’s friends.
Mme. de Maintenon, King’s mistress.

[Country relatives, peasants, soldiers, courtiers, ladies, etc.]

The scene is laid in Paris; time of Louis the Fourteenth.

The first act opens at the inn of the Golden Lamb, near the gates of Paris, kept by Nanon, who has become so famous for her wit and beauty that the Marquis de Marsillac, director of the Royal Theatre, takes his nephew Hector there to see her. Thither also goes Ninon [94] de l’Enclos, the famous beauty, to get a sight of Nanon, who, she suspects, has attracted the attentions of her own lover, the Marquis d’Aubigné. She is told that Nanon is to be married to Grignan, the drummer, and returns to the city with her suspicions allayed. Grignan, however, is in reality the Marquis, who, in the disguise of a drummer, intends to abduct Nanon. After a serenade to her she surprises him with a proposal of marriage; but when everything is ready for the ceremony, the Marquis secures his own arrest by his Colonel on account of a duel. While grieving over the arrest, Nanon receives a ring and some friendly assurances from Gaston, the page of Ninon de l’Enclos, and thereupon turns to her for help in rescuing the supposed Grignan from death, which is the penalty for duelling.

The second act opens in Ninon’s salon. Marsillac, his nephew, and an Abbé, who is one of Ninon’s lovers and confessor of Mme. de Maintenon, are present at a ball, likewise D’Aubigné, who is reproached by Ninon for having remained away so long and forgotten her birthday. To escape embarrassment he sings to her the same serenade he had sung to Nanon. Shortly afterwards Nanon arrives to seek Ninon’s aid in saving Grignan. In the mean time D’Aubigné, jealous of Hector, because he pays court both to Nanon and Ninon, challenges him, and they hurry into the latter’s garden and settle their quarrel with the [95] sword. During their absence Marsillac, who has noted Grignan’s serenade, also sings it, accompanied by the musicians of the court chapel, but is only laughed at for his trouble. When D’Aubigné returns from the duel, he is asked to clear up the mystery of this song; but before he can do so the guard, who has seen the duel, enters and arrests Hector, who has been wounded and refuses to give the name of his opponent.

The third act opens in the private chapel of Mme. de Maintenon, where the Abbé sings to her the same serenade in the form of a hymn. Marsillac appears to ask for Hector’s pardon, and receives it when it appears that D’Aubigné was the challenging party. D’Aubigné thereupon congratulates her upon her birthday with the serenade, and Marsillac repeats it. Ninon and Nanon next appear to intercede for their lovers, D’Aubigné and Grignan. The King presents Nanon with the life of Grignan, and she in turn, recognizing Grignan, presents the pardon to Ninon. Touched by her generosity, Grignan offers Nanon his hand, and Mme. de Maintenon, who is somewhat uneasy at the King’s evident admiration for Nanon, gives her consent and she is made Marquise d’Aubigné.

The music of “Nanon” is gay and brilliant throughout. The principal numbers are the serenade, a minstrel’s song, as it is usually designated, “Ah! what a Joyful Day is this; I am so Full of Glee,” which is heard in various forms in all three acts; the opening drinking-choruses; Nanon’s [96] ballad, “Once before this Tavern straying”; the jolly chorus of the country relatives, “Here we come in Troops of Dozens, Uncles, Nephews, Aunts, and Cousins”; Gaston’s ballad, “All that Frenchmen now will heed”; Hector’s song, “Young appearing,” in the second act; and the lively concerted finale of the last act.




[Pastoral opera, in three acts; text by Carré. First produced at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris, March 19, 1864.]


Mirella, daughter of Raimondo.
Tavena, a fortune-teller.
Andreluno, a shepherd boy.
Vincenzina, sister of Vincenzo.
Clemenza, a peasant girl.
Vincenzo, lover of Mirella.
Urias, his rival.
Raimondo, a wealthy farmer.
Ambrogio, father of Vincenzo.

[Villagers, citizens, etc.]

The scene is laid in Provence; time, the last century.

The opera of “Mirella,” in France known as “Mireille,” is founded upon the “Mireio” of Mistral, the Provençal poet, and was originally written in five acts. Subsequently it was reduced to three acts and a waltz was added to the finale. Though one of the lighter of Gounod’s operas, and not very strong dramatically, it has great lyric beauty. The first scene opens in a mulberry grove. Mirella is rallied by the girls upon her love for Vincenzo, the basket-maker, and is [98] also warned by Tavena, the fortune-teller, against yielding to her attachment, as she foresees that Raimondo, Mirella’s father, will never consent to the union. When she meets her lover, however, they renew their pledges and arrange, if their plans are thwarted, to meet at the Chapel of the Virgin.

The second act opens with a merry-making at Arles. Tavena informs Mirella that Vincenzo has a rival in Urias, a wild herdsman, who has asked her hand of her father. Mirella however repulses him when he brings the father’s consent. Ambrogio, Vincenzo’s father, and his daughter, Vincenzina, intercede with Raimondo in Vincenzo’s behalf, but in vain. Mirella, who has overheard them, declares to her father her irrevocable attachment for Vincenzo, which throws him into such a rage that he is about to strike her. She is saved from the blow by appealing to the memory of her mother.

The last act opens upon a desolate sunburned plain. Mirella appears toiling across the hot sands to keep her appointment with her lover at the Chapel of the Virgin, accompanied by Andreluno, the shepherd boy, singing to the accompaniment of his pipe. Tavena meets them, and assures Mirella that Vincenzo will keep his appointment, and then returns to Arles to plead with the father in Mirella’s behalf. The poor girl arrives at the chapel nearly prostrated with the burning heat. Vincenzo soon appears, and is shortly followed by [99] Raimondo, who is so affected by the pitiable condition of his daughter, that he gives his consent to their union. A biographer of Gounod has condensed the story of the opera into these few words: “A rich young girl, a poor young man, an ill-fated love; and death of the young girl by sunstroke.” In the revised version the dénouement is happy instead of tragic.

The first act opens with the pretty and graceful pastoral chorus of the maidens under the mulberry-trees, “Sing, Happy Maidens, as we gather.” The second act also opens with an equally graceful chorus and farandole, “The Gay Farandole never fails to delight,” followed by a beautiful Provençal folk song, “Evening is Sweet with Summer Flowers,” which is full of local color. Tavena sings a quaint fortune-teller’s roundelay, “’Tis the Season of the Year,” and in the next scene Mirella has a number of rare beauty, “The Frowns of Fortune I fear no longer,” in which she declares her unalterable love for Vincenzo. The finale of this act with its vigorous aria for Mirella, “At your Feet, behold, I remain,” is the only really dramatic episode in the opera. The third act opens with the quaint little song of Andreluno with oboe accompaniment, “The Day awakes,” and also contains a plaintive song for tenor, “Angels of Paradise.” It closes with a waltz song, “Gentle Bird of the Morning,” which is most lavishly embellished and ends the quiet, naïve, little pastoral opera with a brilliant vocal pyrotechnical display.



Hansel and Gretel.

[Fairy opera, in three acts; text by Wette. First produced, in Germany in 1894.]


Peter, a broom-maker.
Gertrude, his wife.
Sandman, the sleep fairy.
Dewman, the dawn fairy.

[Angels, witches, and fairies.]

The scene is laid in a German forest; time, the present.

The story of “Hansel and Gretel” is based upon one of Grimm’s fairy tales. The first act opens at the house of Peter, the broom-maker, who with his wife is away seeking food. The children, Hansel and Gretel, have been left with injunctions to knit and make brooms. Instead of working they indulge in a childish romp, which is interrupted by the mother, who has returned. In her anger she upsets a pitcher of milk, which was the only hope of supper in the house. Thereupon she sends them into the forest, and bids them not to come home until they have filled their basket [101] with strawberries. When Peter returns he brings provisions with him, but breaks out in a fit of rage when he is informed the children have been sent away, telling his wife of the witch who haunts the woods, entices children to her honey-cake house, bakes them into gingerbread, and devours them.

The second act opens with a characteristic instrumental number, “The Witches’ Ride.” The children are disclosed near the Ilsenstein, making garlands and mocking the cuckoos in a beautiful duet with echo accompaniment. At last they realize that they are lost, and their distress is heightened by strange sights and sounds. In the midst of their trouble the Sandman approaches, strews sand in their eyes, and sings them to sleep with a charming lullaby, after they have recited their prayer, “When at Night I go to sleep, Fourteen Angels Watch do keep.” As they go to sleep, the fourteen angels come down and surround them, while other angels perform a stately dance.

The third act is called “The Witch’s House.” The angels have disappeared, and the Dawn Fairy wakens the children, singing a delightful song, “I’m up with Early Dawning.” Gretel wakes first, and rouses Hansel by tickling him with a leaf, accompanying the act with a tickling song. When fairly aroused, they discover the witch’s house, with an oven on one side and a cage on the other. The house is made of sweets and creams. Enticed by its sweetness, the hungry children break off fragments, and are surprised at their work by [102] the old witch within. She comes out, and, after a series of invocations, accompanied with characteristic music, prepares to bake Gretel in the oven; but while she is looking into it the children push her into the fire. Then they dance a witch waltz, and meanwhile the oven falls into bits. Swarms of children rush round them, released from their gingerbread disguise, and sing a song of gratitude as two of the boys drag out the witch from the ruins in the form of a big cake. The father and mother at last find the children, and all join in the pious little hymn, “When past bearing is our Grief, God, the Lord, will send Relief.” It is only a little child’s tale, but it is accompanied by music of the highest order, and built up on the same plan of motives which Wagner has used in his imposing Nibelung Trilogy.




[Musical comedy, in two acts; text by Bellamy and Paulton. First produced at the Comedy Theatre, London, November 9, 1885; in New York at the Casino, March 10, 1886.]


Marquis de Pontvert.
Eugene Marcel, the Marquis’ secretary.
Vicomte de Brissac.
Delaunay, a young officer.
Dufois, landlord of the Golden Lion.
Chevalier de Brabazon, guest of the Marquis.
} two thieves.
Cerise Marcel, Erminie’s companion.
Javatte, Erminie’s maid.
Princesse de Gramponeur.
Erminie de Pontvert.

[Soldiers, peasantry, guards, waiters, etc.]

The scene is laid in France; time, the last century.

The story of “Erminie” is based upon the old melodrama “Robert Macaire,” the two vagabonds, Ravannes and Cadeaux, taking the places of the two murderers, Macaire and Jacques Strop. Few melodramas were more popular in their day than “Robert Macaire,” in which Lemaitre, the great French actor, made one of [104] his most conspicuous successes. It is also true that few musical comedies have been more successful than “Erminie.” At the opening of the opera, a gallant on the way to his betrothal with a young lady whom he has never seen is attacked by two thieves, Ravannes and Cadeaux, who carry off his wardrobe and tie him to a tree. Later, Ravannes arrives in the midst of the betrothal festivities, and passes himself off as the expected guest. He introduces Cadeaux as a nobleman, and explains their lack of proper attire with the statement that they had been robbed while on the way there. Erminie has an affection for Eugene, her father’s secretary, and none for the man who claims to be a suitor for her hand. Ernst, who was the real victim of the robbery, and who is in love with Cerise, escapes from the predicament in which the two thieves placed him, and arrives in time for the festivities, to find himself denounced by Ravannes as the highwayman who had attacked them earlier in the day. Ravannes, by assuming great magnanimity and a certain nobility of conduct, and by his proffers of help to Erminie in securing the man she loves in return for her assistance in his plans, of which she of course is ignorant, so ingratiates himself in her confidence that he nearly succeeds in robbing the house. In the end, however, the two vagabonds are unmasked. Eugene obtains the hand of Erminie, and Ernst and Cerise are equally fortunate.


The music of “Erminie” is light and graceful throughout. Its principal numbers are Erminie’s song, “Ah! when Love is Young”; the duet for Eugene and Erminie, “Past and Future”; the Marquis’ stirring martial song, “Dull is the Life of the Soldier in Peace”; the rollicking thieves’ duet, “We’re a Philanthropic Couple, be it known”; Erminie’s pretty dream song, “At Midnight on my Pillow lying,” and the lullaby “Dear Mother, in Dreams I see her,” which is the gem of the opera; the song and whistling chorus, “What the Dicky Birds say”; the vocal gavotte, “Join in Pleasures, dance a Measure”; and the concerted piece, “Good-night,” which leads up to the close of the last act.




[Opera bouffe, in three acts; text by Vanloo and Aterrier. First produced at the Thèâtre des Fantasies Parisiennes, Brussels, March 21, 1874; in Paris, November 11, 1874; in New York at the Park Theatre, 1875.]


Don Bolero d’Alcarazas, a Spanish grandee.
Marasquin, banker.
Mourzook, a Moorish chief.
} Don Bolero’s twin daughters.
Aurore, their mother.
Pedro, the page.
Pirate Chief.

[Cousins, bridesmaids, pages, pirates, Moors, etc.]

The scene is laid in Spain; time, the last century.

The opening scene of “Giroflé-Girofla” which, with “La Fille de Madame Angot,” made the reputation of Lecocq as an opera-bouffe composer, introduces Don Bolero d’Alcarazas, a Spanish grandee, and Aurore, his wife, also their twin daughters, Giroflé and Girofla, who, being of marriageble age, have been hastily betrothed, Giroflé to Marasquin, a banker to whom Don Bolero is heavily indebted, and Girofla to Mourzook, a Moorish chief who has made regular demands upon Don Bolero for money on [107] penalty of death. By the double marriage he expects to get rid of his obligations on the one hand and avoid the payment of the enforced tribute on the other. Giroflé is married as arranged, but Girofla, who was to have been married the same day, is abducted by pirates before the ceremony can be performed. When Mourzook arrives and finds he has no bride, he is in a terrible rage, but is quieted down when, after a little manœuvring by Aurore, Giroflé is passed off on him as Girofla and is thus to be married a second time.

In the second act the wedding festivities are going on and both bridegrooms are clamoring for their brides. No word is heard from Admiral Matamoras, who has been sent to capture the pirates. Don Bolero and Aurore resort to all kinds of expedients to settle matters and pacify the irate banker and the furious Moor, and besides have much trouble in restraining Giroflé from flying to her Marasquin. At last she is locked up. She manages to get out, however, and goes off with some of her cousins for a revel. Her absence is explained by a report that the pirates have carried her off also, which adds to the parents’ perplexity as well as to the fury of Marasquin and Mourzook. At last Giroflé appears in a tipsy condition and is claimed by both. The act closes with the report that Matamoras has been defeated, and that the pirates have carried Girofla to Constantinople.

The third act opens on the following morning. The two would-be husbands have been locked into [108] their apartments. Marasquin has passed a quiet night, but Mourzook has smashed the furniture and escaped through the window from his chamber. The parents assure Marasquin that even if Mourzook returns he will have to leave that afternoon, and suggest that there can be no harm in letting him have Giroflé for his wife until that time. Marasquin reluctantly consents, and when Mourzook returns and Giroflé is presented to him as Girofla, a ridiculous love scene occurs, which Marasquin contrives to interrupt by various devices. Finally the return of Girofla is announced, and Matamoras with his sailors appears, leading her by the hand. Explanations are made all round, the parents are forgiven, and Mourzook is satisfied.

The music is lively throughout and oftentimes brilliant, and of a higher standard than usually characterizes opera bouffe. The most taking numbers are the ballad with pizzicato accompaniment, sung by Paquita, “Lorsque la journée est finis” (“When the Day is finished”); the concerted ensemble, “À la chapelle” (“To the Church”); the grotesque pirates’ chorus, “Parmi les choses délicates” (“Among the Delicate Things to do”), and the sparkling duet for Giroflé and Marasquin, “C’est fini, le mariage” (“The Marriage has been solemnized”), in the first act: the bacchanalian chorus, “Écoutez cette musique” (“Listen to this Music”), leading up to a dance; a vivacious and well-written quintette, “Matamoras, grand capitaine” (“Matamoras, our Great Captain”); [109] a fascinating drinking-song, “Le Punch scintille” (“This Flaming Bowl”), and the andante duet “O Giroflé, O Girofla,” a smooth, tender melody, which is in striking contrast with the drinking-music preceding it and that which immediately follows the chorus of the half-tipsy wedding-guests, “C’ést le canon” (“It is the Cannon”): and the rondo, “Beau père une telle demand” (“Oh, my Father, now you ask”), sung by Marasquin, and the duet for Mourzook and Giroflé “Ma belle Giroflé” (“My Lovely Giroflé”), in the third act.

La Fille de Madame Angot.

[Opera bouffe, in three acts; text by Clairville, Sirandin, and Konig. First produced at the Fantasies Parisiennes, Brussels, November, 1872; in Paris at the Folies Dramatiques, February 23, 1873.]


Clairette Angot, daughter of the market.
Mlle. Lange, comedienne.
Ange Pitou, street singer.
Pomponnet, hairdresser.
} police officials.

[Bourgeois, grenadiers, conspirators, hussars, servants, marketwomen, etc.

The scene is laid in Paris; time, about the period of the French Revolution.

The first act opens in a market square in Paris where the marketwomen and others in holiday [110] costume are making ready to celebrate the wedding of Pomponnet, the hairdresser, and Clairette, the daughter of the late Madame Angot. During the festive preparations, for which Clairette has little desire, as her affections are fixed upon Ange Pitou, a street singer, who is continually in trouble by reason of his political songs, the latter makes his appearance. He is informed of the forthcoming wedding, which has been arranged by the market people, who have adopted Clairette as the child of the market. At the same time Larivaudière and Louchard, the police officials who caused his arrest because of his knowledge of the relations of Larivaudière and Mademoiselle Lange, the comedienne and favorite of Barras, are surprised to find him at large. To prevent him from reciting his knowledge in a song which he is sure has been written, Larivaudière buys him off. Pitou subsequently regrets his bargain. When the crowd clamors for a song, he says he has none. The people are furious with him, but Clairette comes to his rescue. She has found the song denouncing Larivaudière, sings it, and is arrested, notwithstanding Pitou’s declaration that he is the author of it.

The second act opens in Mademoiselle Lange’s salon. She has persuaded Barras to release Clairette and have her brought to her apartments, so that she may discover why she sings this song denouncing the government and insulting her also. In the mean time she has also sent for Pomponnet, her hairdresser, and informs him what his [111] future wife has done. He replies that Pitou wrote the song, and that he (Pomponnet) has it. She orders him to fetch it to her. When Clairette arrives they recognize each other as old school friends. Mademoiselle Lange assures her she shall not go back to prison and that she need not marry Pomponnet. She retires to Mademoiselle Lange’s boudoir, when a visitor is announced. It is Ange Pitou, and a love scene at once occurs. The jealous Larivaudière enters and accuses them of being lovers. To justify herself Mademoiselle Lange declares that Pitou and Clairette are lovers, and the latter confirms the statement. Pomponnet’s voice is heard in the outer room. He is admitted, and promptly arrested for having the revolutionary song on his person. The act closes with a meeting of conspirators, and Mademoiselle Lange’s clever oiling of the grenadiers who have come to arrest them by turning the whole affair into a grand ball, to which they are invited.

The last act is occupied with plots and counter-plots which at last succeed in disentangling all the complications. Mademoiselle Lange’s perfidy, as well as Pitou’s, is shown up, Larivaudière has his revenge, and Clairette and Pomponnet are made happy.

The music of the opera is so bright, gay, and characteristic that it made Lecocq a dangerous rival of Offenbach. The most conspicuous numbers are Clairette’s pretty romance, “L’enfant de la Halle” (“The Child of the Market”); Amaranthe’s [112] jolly couplets, “Marchande de marée” (“A Beautiful Fishwoman”); Ange Pitou’s rondo, “Certainement j’aimais Clairette” (“’Tis true I loved Clairette”) and Clairette’s spirited song, “Jadis les rois, race proscrite” (“Once Kings, a Race proscribed”), in the first act: another equally spirited song, “Comme un Coursier” (“Like a Courser”); Pomponnet’s pretty air, “Elle est tellement innocente” (“She is so innocent”); a charming sentimental duet for Mademoiselle Lange and Clairette, “Jours fortunes de notre enfance” (“Happy Days of Childhood”); a striking ensemble in the form of a quintette, “Oui, je vous le dis, c’est pour elle” (“Yes, ’tis on her Account alone”); and the famous conspirators’ chorus, “Quand on conspire” (“When one conspires”), in the second act: and Clairette’s couplets with chorus, “Vous aviez fait de la dépense” (“You put yourselves to Great Expense”); the humorous duet, “Larivaudière and Pomponnet,” and Clairette’s song, “Ah! c’est donc toi” (“Ah! ’tis you, then”), in the last act.



Czar and Carpenter.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text and music by Lörtzing. First produced in Berlin in 1854.]


Peter I., Czar of Russia under the name of Peter Michaelhoff.
Peter Ivanoff, a young Russian shipwright.
Herr van Bett, burgomaster of Saardam.
Gen. Lefort, Russian ambassador.
Lord Syndham, British ambassador.
Marquis of Chateauneuf, French ambassador.
Marie, niece of the burgomaster.
Widow Brown, mistress of the shipyard.

[Shipwrights, workmen, sailors, villagers, etc.]

The scene is laid in Saardam; time, the year 1698.

The opening of the first act of the “Czar and Carpenter” discloses Peter the Great and Peter Ivanoff, a deserter from the Russian army, at work in the shipyard of Mrs. Brown in Saardam. The British and French ambassadors, having been notified that the Czar is there in disguise, are searching for him with the object of negotiating a treaty with him, or, failing that, to abduct him. The British ambassador employs the pompous burgomaster of Saardam to find [114] him a Russian named Peter, without however disclosing his real character to him. The burgomaster happens upon Peter Ivanoff and brings him to the ambassador, who, supposing him to be the Czar, seeks to arrange a treaty with him, and finally gives him a passport so that he may visit England. Meanwhile the people of Saardam, being informed that the Czar is with them, prepare a reception for him.

The French ambassador, who has also been searching for the Czar, finds the real one by telling him the story of a Russian defeat which causes him to betray himself. The Czar, who is now anxious to go home and crush out the rebellion, seeks for some means to get away without the knowledge of the Dutch and the English. Finding out by chance that Ivanoff has an English passport, he secures it, and gives Ivanoff another paper which he is not to open until an hour has passed. During this time Ivanoff is enjoying the public reception, which suddenly is interrupted by cannon reports. The gateway of the port is opened, showing the Czar with the Russian and French ambassadors sailing away. Ivanoff opens his paper, and finds that his companion was the Czar, who has given him a good situation as well as his consent to his marriage with Marie, the burgomaster’s niece.

The leading numbers of the first act are the carpenter’s spirited song, “Grip your Axes”; Marie’s jealousy song, “Ah! Jealousy is a Bad [115] Companion”; the humorous aria of Van Bett, “Oh! sancta Justitia, I shall go raving”; the long duet for Van Bett and Ivanoff, “Shall I make a Full Confession?” and the effective quartettes in the finale. The second act contains the best music of the opera. It opens with a mixed chorus of a bacchanalian sort, “Long live Joy and Pleasure,” which after a long dialogue is followed by the tenor romanza, “Fare thee well, my Flandrish Maiden,” a quaint melody, running at the end of each stanza into a duet, closing with full chorus accompaniment. A sextette, “The Work that we’re beginning,” immediately follows, which, though brief, is the most effective number in the opera. The next number of any consequence in this act, is a rollicking bridal song, “Charming Maiden, why do Blushes,” sung by Marie. The last act has a comic aria and chorus, “To greet our Hero with a Stately Reception,” and an effective song for the Czar, “In Childhood, with Crown and with Sceptre I played.”



King Dodo.

[A musical comedy, in three acts; text by Pixley. First produced at the Studebaker Theatre, Chicago, May 27, 1901.]


King Dodo I.
Pedro, Court chamberlain.
Dr. Fizz, Court physician.
Mudge, Court historian.
Sancho, an innkeeper.
Bonilla, prime minister to Queen Lili.
Lo Baswood.
Queen Lili.
Angela, the King’s ward.
Piola, a soldier of fortune.

[Courtiers, knights, ladies, etc.]

The scene is laid in Dodoland and the South Sea islands; time, the present.

“King Dodo,” though usually set down on the programmes as a comic opera, strictly speaking, is a musical comedy, or comedy opera. Its plot turns upon the efforts of King Dodo to [117] find the elixir of youth. His adventures carry him from his own kingdom in the land of nowhere in particular to the South Sea islands and back, a few absurd love episodes adding to the humor of the situations in which he finds himself. The old King is enamoured of the Princess Angela, and to secure her he determines to find the fountain which will renew his youth. His Court physician has failed in the attempt; but Piola, “a soldier of fortune,” claims to know where the fountain is, but demands that when he finds it he shall have the hand of Angela as his reward. The King reluctantly consents, and starts with his whole establishment to find it. The wonderful spring is discovered in the land of the Spoopjus, and there King Dodo also finds Queen Lili, who promptly falls in love with him, because her ideal for a husband is a man full of years and experience. The King, however, accidentally drinks from the fountain, and is transformed into a child, whereupon the Queen rejects him. As the waters fortunately work both ways, when Dodo is thrown into them by conspirators, he becomes himself again, and the Queen devotes herself to him anew with such assiduity that they are united. Pedro and Annette and Piola and Angela also improve the occasion to get married, and all return in great glee to Dodoland.

The musical numbers in “King Dodo,” are all of a light, catchy kind, their success depending much upon the sprightliness of the performers. [118] The most popular are the “Cats’ Quartette”; “The Tale of the Bumble-bee”; Piola’s song, “I’ll do or die,” which is accompanied by a stirring chorus; the melodious “Zamoña,” sung by Angela and chorus; a drinking-song of a spirited sort by Annette and chorus; “The Eminent Dr. Fizz,” sung by the doctor himself; and “The Jolly old Potentate” and the topical song, “They gave me a Medal for that,” sung by King Dodo.

The Prince of Pilsen.

[A musical comedy, in two acts; text by Pixley. First produced in the Tremont Theatre, Boston, May 21, 1902.]


Carl Otto, the Prince.
Hans Wagner, an American citizen.
Tom Wagner, his son.
Arthur St. John Wilberforce.
Mrs. Madison Crocker, an American widow.

[Tourists, students, flower-girls, sailors, etc.

The scene is laid in Nice; time, the present.

“The Prince of Pilsen,” the latest, and in many respects the best, of Mr. Luders’ productions, like most musical comedies of the prevailing kind, has but a brief and somewhat incongruous story. The [119] first act opens during the annual flower festival at Nice. The proprietor of the Hôtel Internationale learns that the Prince of Pilsen will reach there on the morrow incognito, and determines he shall be received with all the attentions due to his rank. He employs a band of musicians to escort him from the station to the hotel, and hires flower-girls to strew his way with roses. Hans Wagner, a German-American brewer from Cincinnati, and his daughter, who go to Nice to meet the brewer’s son, an American naval officer, arrive on the same day. The brewer is mistaken for the Prince, and he and his party meet with a brilliant but somewhat surprising reception. He can account for it in no other way than that his greeting as the Prince of Pilsen is a tribute to the excellence of his Pilsener beer, and accepts it complaisantly. When the real prince arrives, however, with a company of Heidelberg students, he is ignored, and even has some difficulty in securing accommodations. The Prince, however, does not declare his identity at once, but waits for an opportunity to expose the impostor who is trading on his name. He accidentally meets the daughter, and after some conversation with her is sure that her father has not intended to deceive and is not responsible for the mistake. He decides therefore to continue the rôle of private citizen, and is the more confirmed in his decision when he finds himself falling in love with the brewer’s daughter. This enrages the brother, who challenges the Prince, which leads to the arrest of [120] both of them. In the second act all the complications get straightened out. The real Prince marries the brewer’s daughter, and the brewer himself takes home the American widow, Mrs. Madison Crocker, as his wife.

On this somewhat slight thread of a plot the composer has strung numerous bits of lively, exhilarating music, some of it of a decidedly better kind than is usually found in these potpourris, but the most of it of the sort which is popular and easily caught up. The number of the lyrics as well as of the topical songs, choruses, and extravaganzas is so large, and they are of such uniformity in interest and tunefulness, that it is difficult to single out the most conspicuous. The numbers, however, which have made the greatest success are Wagner’s topical song, “He didn’t know exactly what to do”; a charming smoking-song, “Pictures in the Smoke”; the “Tale of the Sea-shell”; the unaccompanied male chorus, “Oh! Heidelberg, dear Heidelberg,” which should be a favorite students’ song; and the “Song of the Cities,” in which the peculiarities of the girls of various American cities are imitated, the song ending with a droll cake walk. So far as numbers go, indeed, the opera presents a bewildering embarrassment of good things.



Paul and Virginia.

[Romantic opera, in three acts and seven tableaux; text by Carré and Barbier. First produced at the Opéra National Lyrique, Paris, November 15, 1876; in London, June 1, 1878; in New York, March 28, 1883.]


St. Croix, slave-master.
Domingo, mulatto slave.
M. de la Bourdonnais, governor of the island.
Negro Slave.
Meala, mulatto slave.
MME. de la Tour, mother of Virginia.
Margaret, mother of Paul.
Old Lady, grand-aunt of Virginia.

[Inhabitants of the island, sailors, slaves, etc.]

The scene is laid upon an island on the African coast; time, the eighteenth century.

The story of “Paul and Virginia,” Massé’s masterpiece, follows the lines of Bernardin St. Pierre’s beautiful romance of the same name. The first act opens with the recital of the history of Madame de la Tour, mother of Virginia, and Margaret, the mother of Paul, and [122] reveals the love of the two children for each other. While they are discussing the advisability of sending Paul to India for a time, against which his slave Domingo piteously protests, islanders come rushing towards the cabin announcing the arrival of a vessel from France. In hopes that she will have a letter announcing that she has been forgiven by the relatives who have renounced her, Madame de la Tour goes to the port. A love scene between the children follows, which is interrupted by the hurried entrance of the slave Meala, who is flying from punishment by her master, St. Croix. The two offer to go back with her and to intercede for her forgiveness, in which they are successful. St. Croix, who has designs upon Virginia, begs them to remain until night; but Meala warns them of their danger in a song, and they leave while St. Croix wreaks his revenge upon Meala.

The second act opens in the home of Madame de la Tour. She has had a letter from her aunt forgiving her, making Virginia her heiress if she will come to France, and sending money for the journey. After a long struggle between duty to her mother and love for Paul, she declines to go. Meala makes them another hurried call, again flying from St. Croix, who this time is pursuing her with a twofold purpose, first, of punishing Meala and, second, of carrying out his base designs against Virginia. He soon appears at the house and demands his slave, but Paul refuses to give [123] her up. At last St. Croix offers to sell her to Paul, and Virginia furnishes the money. The faithful Meala that night informs them of St. Croix’s plot to seize Virginia when she goes to the vessel; but he is foiled, as she does not leave. The act closes with a call from the governor of the island, who bears express orders from Virginia’s relatives, signed by the King, that she must go to France.

The last act is brief, and relates the tragedy. It opens at a grotto on the seashore, where the melancholy Paul has waited and watched week by week for the vessel which will bring Virginia back to him. At last it is sighted, but a storm comes up and soon develops into a hurricane, and when it subsides the vessel is a wreck, and Virginia is found dead upon the beach.

The opera is replete with beautiful melodies. There are, in the first act, a characteristic minor song for Domingo, “Ah! do not send my Dear Young Master,” which the composer evidently intended to be in the Ethiopian manner; a chanson of the genuine French style, “Ah! Hapless Black,” though sung by a negro boy; a lonely and expressive melody sung by Virginia, as she pleads with St. Croix, “What I would say my Tongue forgetteth”; the weird Bamboula chorus, sung by the slaves; and a very dramatic aria for Meala, “’Neath the Vines Entwining,” in which she warns the children of their danger. The principal numbers in the second act are Virginia’s romance, “As Last Night thro’ the Woods”; a [124] beautiful chanson for Domingo, “The Bird flies yonder”; Paul’s couplets, “Ah! crush not my Courage”; the passionate duet for Paul and Virginia, “Ah! since thou wilt go,” closing in unison; and Virginia’s florid aria, “Ah, what Entrancing Calm,” the cadenza of which is exceedingly brilliant. The best numbers in the short last act are Meala’s song, “In vain on this Distant Shore”; Paul’s letter song, “Dearest Mother”; and the vision and storm music at the close.

Queen Topaze.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Lockroy and Battu. First produced at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris, December 27, 1856.]


La Reine Topaze.
Le Capitaine Rafael.

[Gypsies, soldiers, etc.]

The scene is laid in France; time, last century.

“Queen Topaze” (“La Reine Topaze”) is one of the few of Massé’s earlier works which have held the boards, mainly on account of its charming melodiousness. The rôle of the Queen was a great favorite with Miolan-Carvalho and Parepa-Rosa, as it offers opportunities for brilliant vocal [125] execution. Its story is of the slightest kind. In her infancy Topaze is stolen by a band of gypsies and eventually becomes their queen. She falls in love with Rafael, a captain whom she wins from his affianced, a rich noblewoman. He does not marry her, however, until she discloses to him the secret of her birth. Some byplay among the gypsies supplies the humor of the situations. As to the text it is far from dramatic in character, and the dialogue is tedious and dragging.

The music, however, is excellent, and it was to this feature that Massé owed his election in the year of its production as Auber’s successor in the French Academy. The gypsy music is particularly charming. There are also a clever sextette, “We are six noblemen”—indeed, there is an unusual amount of six and seven part writing in the opera; the “Song of the Bee,” a delightful melody for Queen Topaze with a particularly characteristic accompaniment, likewise a brilliant bolero; a lovely romance in the last act for Rafael, and a somewhat dramatic narrative song for him in the first act; and a skilfully constructed trio for Annibal and the two gypsies. The remaining number of importance is an interpolated one,—“The Carnival of Venice,” with the Paganini variations, which was first introduced by Miolan-Carvalho, the creator of the title rôle.


The Marriage of Jeannette.

[Opéra comique, in one act; text by Carré and Barbière. First produced at the Opéra Comique, Paris, February 4, 1853; in New York, in 1861.]


Petit Pierre.

[Chorus of peasants.]

The scene is laid in a French country village; time, the last century.

Nothing could be simpler than the story of Massé’s little opera, “Les Noces de Jeannette” (“The Marriage of Jeannette”), which was first given in this country in 1861, with Clara Louise Kellogg and M. Dubreul in the two principal parts, and twenty-five years later was a favorite in the repertory of the American Opera Company, under the direction of Theodore Thomas, who produced it as an after piece to Delibes’ two-act ballet, “Sylvia.” The story concerns only two persons. Jean, a boorish rustic, falls in love with Jeannette and proposes marriage. On the wedding-day, however, he suddenly changes his mind, and just as the notary hands him the pen to sign the contract, takes to his heels and runs home. Jeannette follows him up to demand an explanation, and pretends that she will not force him to marry her. In [127] lieu of that she asks him to sign another contract from which she will withhold her name just to show that he was willing to do so. She furthermore promises publicly to reject him. When he has signed the new contract, she suddenly changes her mind also, and declares they are man and wife. In his fury Jean breaks up nearly everything in the house before he goes to sleep. The next day in his absence Jeannette provides new furniture from her own store, places things to rights again, sets the dinner, and awaits Jean’s return. When he comes back again, he is in more tractable mood, and seeing what Jeannette has done acknowledges her as his wife.

This simple story the composer has framed in a dainty musical setting, the principal numbers being the song “Others may hastily marry,” sung by Jean after his escapade; Jeannette’s pretty, simple melody, “From out a Throng of Lovers”; Jean’s vigorous and defiant “Ah! little do you fancy”; the graceful song by Jeannette, “Fly now, my Needle, glancing brightly”; her brilliant and exultant song, “Voice that’s sweetest”; and the spirited unison male chorus, “Ring out, Village Bells,” that closes this refined and beautiful work.



The Beggar Student.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; first produced in Vienna, 1882.]


Symon Symonovicz, the beggar student.
Janitsky, his friend.
Gen. Ollendorf, military governor of Krakow.
} jailers.
Major Holtzheim.
Sitzky, an innkeeper.
Countess Palmatica.
} her daughters.
Lieut. Poppenburg.
Lieut. Schmeinitz.
Lieut. Wangerheim.

[Prisoners, peasants, soldiers, musicians, courtiers, etc.]

The scene is laid in Krakow; time, the year 1704.

The first act of this tuneful opera opens in the city of Krakow. General Ollendorf, the military governor, is in a rage because he has been repulsed by Laura, daughter of the [129] Countess Palmatica, to whom he has showed some unwelcome attentions. To avenge what he considers an insult, he conceives the idea of dressing some poor and low-born young fellow in the finery of a prince, and passing him off as such upon the Countess and her daughter, trusting that their poverty will induce them to accept the impostor. After such a marriage his revenge would be complete. He finds his accomplice in the military prison. Symon Symonovicz, a vagabond Polish student, is ready to play the gentleman, and only insists on taking along with him Janitsky, a fellow prisoner, to act as his secretary. The plot is successful. The Countess and her daughter, who have been living for a long time in genteel poverty, are dazzled by the finery and prospects of the suitor, and the act closes with the betrothal of Symon and Laura.

In the second act the two find that they are really in love with each other. As the money furnished by the General is all spent, Symon decides to tell Laura of the deception practised upon her, though it may cost him the marriage, which was to have taken place that day. Afraid to tell her in person, he writes the disclosure, and intrusts the letter to the Countess with the request to have it given to Laura before the ceremony. The General, however, thwarts this scheme, and the pair are married, whereupon he exposes Symon to the assembled guests as an impostor and has him driven from the palace.


At the opening of the third act Symon appears in melancholy plight and contemplating suicide. His friend Janitsky, who is in love with Laura’s sister, Bronislava, comes to his rescue. He comes forward as a Polish officer engaged in a plot for the capture of the citadel and the reinstatement of King Stanislaus upon the throne of Poland. The plot with Symon’s help succeeds, and in return Symon is not only ennobled, but the Countess and his wife forgive him, and the governor-general is foiled at every point.

The principal numbers are Ollendorf’s entrance song in waltz time, “And they say that towards Ladies”; the characteristic duet by Symon and Janitsky on leaving jail, “Confounded Cell, at last I leave thee”; the charming entrance trio for Laura, Bronislava, and the Countess, “Some little Shopping really we ought to do”; and Laura’s brilliant song, “But when the Song is sweetly sounding,” in the finale of the first act; Laura’s humorous song, “If Joy in Married Life you’d find”; the sentimental duet of Bronislava and Janitsky, “This Kiss, Sweet Love”; Ollendorf’s grotesque songs, “One Day I was perambulating,” and “There in the Chamber Polish,” which is usually adapted as a topical song; and the long and cleverly concerted finale of the second act: and Bronislava’s song, “Prince a Beggar’s said to be,” and Symon’s couplet, “I’m penniless and outlawed too,” in the third act.


The Black Hussar.

[Opéra comique, in three acts. First produced at Vienna, 1886.]


Helbert, officer of the Black Hussars.
Waldermann, his companion.
Hackenback, magistrate of Trautenfeld.
Piffkow, his man of all work.
Thorillière, major in Napoleon’s army.
Hetman, captain of the Cossacks.
Mifflin, an actor.
} Hackenback’s daughters.
Goddess of Liberty.

[Soldiers, peasants, villagers, conspirators, etc.]

The scene is laid in the German village of Trautenfeld; time, the years 1812-13.

The story of “The Black Hussar” is simple. Von Helbert, an officer of the Black Hussars, in the disguise of an army chaplain, is seeking to foment an insurrection in the town of Trautenfeld. Hackenback, the town magistrate, has carried himself so diplomatically, as between the Russians and French, and is so opposed to any rupture with either from fear of sudden visitation, that Von Helbert’s efforts to induce his townsmen to rise against the Napoleonic régime are not altogether [132] successful. The French in the mean time are hunting for him, but he cunningly succeeds in getting a description of the magistrate posted for that of himself. To be ready for any sudden emergency, Hackenback has a reversible panel on his house, one side having the portrait of the Czar and the other that of Napoleon. When he is suspected by the French, he calls their attention to it; but unfortunately for him the Russian side is exposed, and this with the description which Von Helbert had so kindly posted leads to his arrest. Finally the Black Hussar regiment arrives, and captures the French troops just as they have captured the Russian, which had previously been in occupation, so that there is no need for further disguises. The humorous situations in the opera grow out of the love-making between Von Helbert and his companion Waldermann and the magistrate’s daughters Minna and Rosetta.

Although “The Black Hussar” is musically inferior to “The Beggar Student,” yet it has many interesting numbers, among them the long descriptive song of Piffkow, the man of all work, “Piffkow, Piffkow, that’s the cry,” which reminds one in its general character of Figaro’s famous song in “The Barber of Seville”; the magistrate’s buffo song, “All Night long I’ve weighed and sifted”; Helbert’s martial recitative, “I’ve traversed Lands that once were green”; the jolly gossipers’ chorus, introducing the second act; Piffkow’s bombastic song, “’Twas in the Adjacent Town [133] Last Night”; Minna’s quaint Russian song, “Ivan loved his Katza well”; the introduced song, “Ohe, mamma”; and the trio following it, “The Ways of Love are very strange,” which closes the act.



The Trumpeter of Säkkingen.

[Opera comique, in a prelude and three acts; text by Bunge. First produced at the Stadt Theatre, Leipsic, May 4, 1884.]


Baron of Schoenau.
Margaretha, his daughter.
Count of Wildenstein.
Countess Wildenstein, the Baron’s cousin.
Damian, the Count’s son by a second marriage.
Werner Kirchoff, the “trumpeter.”
Conradin, a trooper.

[Heralds, youths, maidens, peasants, school children, students, troopers, etc.]

The scene is laid in Säkkingen, on the Rhine; time, the year 1650, near the close of the Thirty Years’ War.

Few operas have had the advantage of such an excellent book as Nessler’s “Trumpeter of Säkkingen,” and few light operas have had their stories so legitimately and skilfully illustrated with music. The text is based upon the metrical romance of Victor von Scheffel’s “Trumpeter Von Säkkingen,” known and admired all over Germany, which tells the story of the young Werner and the fair Margaretha, their romantic wooing and final union. The time is [135] near the close of the Thirty Years’ War, and the hero is Werner Kirchoff, a handsome, dashing young student, who, with others of his comrades, is expelled from the University of Heidelberg because of their frequent carousals. They join a body of troopers, Werner in the capacity of a trumpeter, and go with them to Säkkingen. While there he has the good fortune to protect Margaretha, on a saint’s fête day, from the rudeness of some Hauenstein peasants who are ready for a revolt against the Baron von Schoenau, her father. Margaretha, who is in company with the Countess Wildenstein, a cousin of the Baron, who has separated from her husband, gratefully gives Werner a forget-me-not. The Countess inquires his name of his trooper comrade, Conradin, and is struck with his resemblance to her son who had been carried off by gypsies in his childhood. In the next scene the Baron has received a letter from Count Wildenstein, in which he states that his second wife has died, that he wishes to settle the misunderstanding with his first wife, the Countess, and proposes Damian, his son by the second marriage, as a husband for Margaretha,—a proposal which the Baron promptly accepts. When Margaretha enters and tells of her adventures with Werner, the Baron regrets that his old trumpeter, Rassmann, is not alive to summon assistance from the city in case of attack by the peasants. Margaretha tells him of Werner, and notwithstanding the Countess’ objections, he gives the position to him.


The second act opens with a love scene between Werner and Margaretha, which is discovered by the Countess, who at once informs the Baron. When Werner asks him for the hand of Margaretha, he not only refuses it, but orders him to leave the castle. Werner takes his farewell of Margaretha, and leaves for his old position with the troopers in the city. Meanwhile the Count of Wildenstein arrives with Damian, but he makes no impression upon Margaretha notwithstanding the Baron’s favor.

In the last act the dénouement comes quickly. The peasants attack the castle, and the Baron calls upon Damian to head his retainers and go out to meet the mob. He proves himself, however, an arrant coward, and in the midst of his irresolution Werner rides up at the head of his troopers, performs prodigies of valor, and saves the inmates of the castle. A birthmark upon his arm reveals him as the long-lost son of the Countess, and nothing now stands in the way of Margaretha’s and Werner’s felicity.

In the prelude and first act the most noticeable numbers are the students’ and troopers’ choruses, written in the best German style—the prelude indeed is almost entirely choral; the peasants’ choruses and lively dances on St. Fridolin’s Day; the characteristic growl of the Baron over his gout and the unreasonable peasants; and the charming lyric sung by Margaretha, “How Proud and Grand his Bearing.” The most conspicuous numbers in [137] the second act are a lyric sung by Werner, “On Shore I played me a Merry Tune”; the love scene between Margaretha and Werner, “Sun, has thy Light not grown in Splendor?” the dramatic quintette, “Must so soon the Sunshine vanish?” and Werner’s sentimental and beautiful farewell, “Oh, it is sad that in this Life below.” The principal numbers of the third act are Margaretha’s song, “My Love rode out to the Wide, Wide World”; the May song, “There comes a Youth of Sweet Renown”; the pantomime and dance composing a May idyll; the duet for Margaretha and Werner, “True Love, I give thee Greeting”; and the ringing mass chorus, “Faithful Love and Trumpet blowing,” which closes the opera.



The Merry Wives of Windsor.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Mosenthal. First produced in Vienna, April 1, 1847; in London, May 3, 1864; in New York, April 27, 1863.]


Sir John Falstaff.
Mr. Ford,
Mr. Page,
} gentlemen dwelling at Windsor.
Dr. Caius, the French physician.
Mistress Ford.
Mistress Page.
Anne Page, her daughter, in love with Fenton.
Host of the Garter Inn.

[Citizens, wives of Windsor, servants, fairies, elves, etc.]

The scene is laid at Windsor; time, the sixteenth century.

The story of the opera follows closely that of the Shakespearian comedy, though the action is principally concerned with Falstaff’s adventures with the merry wives, with the attachment between Fenton and Anne furnishing the romantic incident. Though the work of a German, the music is largely in the Italian style, and the dramatic finish is French. It is unnecessary [139] to indicate the plot in further detail than to say it includes the receipt of Sir John’s amatory epistles by Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page, his concealment among the foul linen in the hamper and subsequent sousing in the Thames, his sad experiences with Ford’s cudgels, and his painful encounter with the mock fairies, elves, and other sprites in Windsor Park.

The leading numbers in the opera are a duet for the two merry wives, opening the opera, in which they read Falstaff’s letters, “No, no, this really is too bad,” closing with an exquisitely humorous phrase as they pronounce the name of the writer in unison; a beautiful little aria, “Joking and Laughter,” in the Italian style, sung by Mrs. Ford; and the finale to the first act beginning with a mock serious aria in which Mrs. Ford bewails her husband’s jealousy, followed by a sextette and chorus, and closing with a highly dramatic aria in which Mrs. Ford changes from grief to rage and violently denounces Ford.

The second act opens with a drinking-song for Falstaff, “Whilst yet a Child on my Mother’s Breast,” which is full of rollicking, bacchanalian humor, as well as are the accessories of the song. Falstaff sings one verse, and his followers drain their huge mugs to the bottom. One of them falls senselessly drunk, and is immediately borne out upon the shoulders of his comrades with funereal honors, led off by Falstaff, all chanting a sort of mock dirge. A descriptive and spirited buffo [140] duet between Falstaff and Ford follows, in which the former relates his adventures in the hamper. The only remaining number of consequence in this act is the romanza, “Hark, the Lark in yonder Grove,” sung by Fenton. The last act is very short, and made up of a beautiful trio for Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Page, and Falstaff, “The Bell has pealed the Midnight Chime”; the romantic ballad, “Of Herne, the Hunter, a Legend old,” and the fairy dance and chorus, “About, about, ye Elves, about,” which close the opera.



The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein.

[Opera bouffe, in three acts; text by Meilhac and Halévy. First produced at the Variétés, Paris, April 12, 1867.]


Grand Duchess.
Wanda, a peasant girl.
Iza, maid of honor.
Olga, maid of honor.
Prince Paul, neglected suitor of the Duchess.
Gen. Boum, in command of the army.
Baron Puck, Court chamberlain.
Baron Grog, emissary.
Fritz, a recruit.
Nepomuc, aide de camp.

[Lords and court ladies, pages, soldiers, vivandières, country girls, etc.]

The scene is laid in the imaginary Duchy of Gerolstein; time, the year 1720.

“The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein,” though in some respects inferior musically to “Orpheus,” by the same composer, is altogether the most perfect type of the opera bouffe. For the drollness of its story, the originality of its characters as well as of its music and obstreperous gayety, dash, and geniality mixed with occasional seriousness and grace, this work when it first [142] appeared was unique, though Offenbach rose to his highest achievement when dealing with the gods and goddesses of Olympus in his “Orpheus,” which revealed his powers of musical burlesque at their best.

The first act opens with a grand review of the army of the duchy, commanded by the pompous General Boum, at which the Duchess is present. In its ranks there is a recruit, known by the name of Fritz, who has already aroused the General’s jealousy by his attentions to Wanda, a peasant girl. He continues still further to add to this jealousy when the Duchess, attracted by his good looks, singles him out for her regard and promotes him to the post of corporal. When she learns of his relations to Wanda, she raises him to the rank of lieutenant, evidently to separate him from Wanda by the new elevation. The review over, the Duchess studies the plan of a pending campaign against a neighboring enemy. She summons General Boum in the presence of Baron Puck, her court chamberlain, Prince Paul, a feeble and neglected suitor of the Duchess, and Lieutenant Fritz, who is now her special body-guard, and asks him for his plan of campaign, which he states, much to the disgust of Fritz, who declares it to be sheer nonsense. The Duchess then asks the latter for his plan, and is so much pleased with it that she appoints him general and raises him to the rank of baron, much to the discomfort and indignation of the others.


The second act opens with the return of Fritz. He has been victorious, and at the public reception given him he tells the story of his adventures. Subsequently at a tête-à-tête with the Duchess, she makes open love to him; but he is so occupied with thoughts of Wanda that he is insensible to all her advances, which puts her in a rage. Overhearing a conspiracy between Puck, Paul, and the deposed General Boum against his life, she joins with them, and the act closes with a wild, hilarious dance.

In the third act Baron Grog, emissary of Prince Paul’s father, appears upon the scene to expedite the marriage of the Prince to the Duchess. He joins the conspiracy against Fritz, and so ingratiates himself with the Duchess that she finally consents to marry the Prince. In the mean time she countermands the order for Fritz’s assassination, and gives him permission to marry Wanda. The conspirators, however, play a practical joke upon Fritz by a false message summoning him to the battle-field. He leaves at once on the wedding-night, but through the connivance of General Boum is waylaid and badly beaten. While the betrothal of the Duchess is being celebrated, Fritz returns in sad plight, with the sabre which the Duchess has given him in a battered condition. She adds to his misfortunes by depriving him of his command and bestowing it upon Baron Grog, but learning that he has a family, she reinstates General Boum. In the dénouement Fritz is restored to his Wanda and the Duchess marries Prince Paul.


The music is in keeping with the drollery of the situations, and abounds in vivacity and odd descriptiveness, defying all accepted laws and adapting itself to the grotesquerie and extravagance of the action. The principal numbers in the first act are the pompous “Pif, paf, pouf” song of General Boum; the Grand Duchess’ air, “Ah! I love the Military” (“Ah! que j’aime les militaires”); the regiment song for her and Fritz, “Oh! what a Famous Regiment” (“Ah! c’est un fameux régiment”); the couplets of Prince Paul, “To marry a Princess” (“Pour épouser une Princesse”); and the famous sabre song, “Lo, here the Sabre of my Sire” (“Voici, le sabre de mon père”). The best numbers of the second act are Fritz’s spirited rondo, “All in Good Order, Colors flying” (“En très bon ordre nous partîmes”), in which he tells the story of his victory; the romanza “Say to him” (“Dites lui”), a delightful little song, and so refined that it hardly seems to belong to the opera; and the conspirators’ trio, “Max was a Soldier of Fortune” (“Max était soldat de fortune”), which is irresistible in its broad humor and queer rhythms. The musical interest really reaches its climax in the second act. Outside of the chorus work in the third act, there is little of interest except the Duchess’ ballad, “There lived in Times now long gone by” (“Il était un de mes aieux”), and Fritz’ song to the Duchess, “Behold here, your Highness” (“Eh bien, Altesse, me voilà!”).


La Belle Hélène.

[Opera bouffe, in three acts; text by De Meilhac and Halévy. First produced at the Théâtre des Variétés, Paris, December 17, 1864.]


Helen, Queen of Sparta.
Paris, son of Priam.
Menelaus, King of Sparta.
Agamemnon, King of the Kings.
Calchas, augur.
Achilles, King of Phthiotis.
Ajax I., King of Salamis.
Ajax II., King of the Locrians.
Orestes, son of Agamemnon.
Bacchis, attendant of Helen.
Philocomes, servant of Calchas.
Euthycles, a blacksmith.

[Princes, princesses, courtiers, Helen’s attendants, slaves, etc.]

The scene is laid in Sparta; time mythical.

In “La Belle Hélène” Offenbach goes back to the mythical period, and presents the heroes of the time of Helen and Paris in modern burlesque. The first act opens at the temple of Jupiter in Sparta, where, among others who have placed their offerings at his shrine, is Helen. When alone with Calchas, the augur, they discuss some means of avoiding the decree of the oracle which has declared she is to leave Menelaus, her husband, [146] and fly with Paris, son of Priam, to Troy. Before a decision is reached, Paris, disguised as a shepherd, arrives, and soon he and Helen are lovers. They meet again in a grand tournament in which the two Ajaxes, Achilles, Agamemnon, and others announce themselves in the most comic fashion and guess at conundrums for a prize. Paris wins, and proclaims his name and lineage, to the delight of Helen, whose delight is still further enhanced when the oracle orders Menelaus to set off at once for Crete.

In the second act Helen struggles against the decrees of Venus. Paris has an interview with her, but she will not yield, and he retires. By the aid of Calchas he secures admission to the chamber of the slumbering Queen, when Menelaus suddenly returns and an altercation ensues, during which Paris defies all the Grecian heroes, and Helen philosophically informs Menelaus he should have announced his coming beforehand. Paris again retreats, and Helen is now in despair.

In the third act Helen and Menelaus have a family quarrel, and he charges her with being false. She denies it, and declares he has been dreaming. Calchas now appears, and announces that a new augur has been appointed and is on his way there. A golden galley is seen approaching, and the new augur is found to be Paris himself. He brings word that Venus is angry at what has been going on, but will relent if Helen will return with him to her shrine and sacrifice white heifers. [147] She is reluctant to go, but finally decides to obey the voice of destiny, and sails away with him, leaving them all behind in grief and Menelaus in rage.

The dialogue of “La Belle Hélène” is very witty, though coarse at times, and many of the situations are full of a humorous incongruity and drollness growing out of the attempt to modernize these mythological heroes. The music admirably fits the text, and though not so gay as that of “The Grand Duchess,” yet is fresh, original, and interesting throughout. The chief numbers of the work are Helen’s passionate song of mourning for Adonis, “Divine Love” (“Amours divins”); Paris’ fable, “On Mount Ida, three Goddesses” (“Au Mont Ida, trois déesses”), in which he tells the well-known apple story; the march and chorus, “Here are the Kings of Greece” (“Voici les rois de la Grèce”), in which, one after the other, they come forward and announce themselves in an irresistibly funny manner; Helen’s mock sentimental song, “We all are born with Solicitude” (“Nous naissons toutes soucieuses”); the droll goose march of the Kings; a fascinating chorus, “Let us wreathe Crowns of Roses” (“En courronnes tressons roses”); Helen’s song, “A Husband Wise” (“Un mari sage”), one of the most characteristic numbers in the opera; and in the last act Orestes’ song, “In spite of this Ardent Flame” (“Malgré cette ardente flamme”); the spirited trio, “When Greece has become [148] a Field of Carnage” (“Lorsque la Grèce est un camp de carnage”); and the final chorus, “Let now our Wrath” (“Que notre colère”), which preludes the Trojan war.


[Opera bouffe, in three acts; text by Cremieux. First produced at the Bouffes Parisiens, Paris, October 21, 1858.]


Pluto, disguised as Aristeus.
Jupiter, King of the Gods.
Orpheus, the lutist.
John Styx, the ferryman.
Mercury, the messenger.
Bacchus, God of wine.
Mars, God of war.
Eurydice, spouse of Orpheus.
Diana, Goddess of the hunt.
Public Opinion.
Juno, consort of Jupiter.
Venus, Goddess of love.
Cupid, her messenger.
Minerva, Goddess of wisdom.

The scene is laid near Thebes; time, mythical.

The best musical work of Offenbach undoubtedly is to be found in his “Orpheus aux Enfers,” and the text which his librettist furnished him is in keeping with the music. It was a bold as well as droll conception to invest the Olympian gods and goddesses with human attributes and make them symbols of worldly departments of action and [149] official life, to parade them in processions like the ordinary street pageant, to present them in banquets, to dress them in the most fantastically individual manner, and to make nineteenth-century caricatures of the whole Olympian coterie.

The first scene of the opera discloses Eurydice in the Theban meadows plucking flowers with which to decorate the cabin of Aristeus, the shepherd, who is really Pluto in disguise. Suddenly Orpheus appears, not with his tortoise-shell lyre, but playing the violin and serenading, as he supposes, a shepherdess with whom he is in love. His mistake reveals the fact that each of them is false to the other, and a violent quarrel of the most ludicrous description ensues, ending in their separation. He goes to his shepherdess, she to her shepherd. Shortly afterwards, Aristeus meets Eurydice in the fields and reveals his real self. By supernatural power he turns day into night and brings on a tempest, in the midst of which he bears her away to the infernal regions, but not before she has written upon Orpheus’ hut the fate that has overtaken her. When Orpheus returns he is overjoyed at his loss, but in the midst of his exultation, Public Opinion appears and commands him to go to Olympus and demand from Jupiter the restoration of his wife. Orpheus reluctantly obeys the order.

The second act opens in Olympus, where the gods and goddesses are enjoying a nap, from which they are awakened by the blasts of Diana’s horn. [150] Thereupon much slanderous gossip is circulated amongst them, the latest news discussed being Pluto’s abduction of Eurydice. Pluto himself shortly comes in, and is at once taxed by Jupiter with his unseemly behavior, whereupon Pluto retaliates by reference to Jupiter’s numerous amours with mortals. This arouses the jealousy of Juno. Venus, with Cupid’s assistance, starts a veritable riot, which is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of Orpheus and his guide, Public Opinion. He demands that his wife shall be restored to him, and Jupiter not only consents, but agrees to attend to the matter personally.

The third act finds Eurydice in Hades, carefully guarded by John Styx. Jupiter is faithful to his promise, and soon arrives there, but not in his proper person. He appears in the disguise of a fly, and allows Eurydice to catch him, after which he reveals himself. When Pluto comes in, he finds her transformed into a bacchante of the most convivial sort. Other deities make their appearance, and finally Orpheus comes sailing up the Styx, playing his violin, and demanding of Jupiter the fulfilment of his contract. Jupiter consents, but makes the condition that he shall return to his boat, Eurydice following him, and that he must not look back. Orpheus sets out, but just before he reaches the boat, the cunning Jupiter launches a thunderbolt after him, which causes him to turn and lose Eurydice, much to the disgust of Public Opinion, but greatly to the edification of Orpheus, [151] who is now at liberty to return to his shepherdess on the Theban plain.

The most striking numbers in this curious travesty are the opening aria of Eurydice, as she gathers the flowers, “Woman that dreams” (“La femme dont la cœur rêve”); the pastoral sung to her by Aristeus, “To see through the Vines” (“Voir voltiger sous les treilles”); the fascinating hunting-song of Diana, “When Diana comes down the Plain” (“Quand Diane descend dans la plaine”); the characteristic and taking song of John Styx, “When I was King of Bœotia” (“Quand j’étais roi de Beotie”), which in its way is as striking as the sabre song in “The Grand Duchess”; Eurydice’s delicate fly-song, “Beautiful Insect, with Golden Wings” (“Bel insecte, à l’aile dorée”); the drinking-song in the infernal regions, “Hail to the Wine” (“Vive le vin”); and Eurydice’s vivacious bacchanalian song which immediately follows it, “I have seen the God Bacchus” (“J’ai vu le dieu Bacchus”).



The Chimes of Normandy.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Clairville and Gabet. First produced at the Folies Dramatiques, Paris, April 19, 1877.]


Serpolette, the good-for-nothing.
Germaine, the lost Marchioness.
Henri, Marquis of Corneville.
Jean Grenicheux, a fisherman.
Gaspard, an old miser.
Baillie, magistrate.

[Peasants, sailors, servants, waiting-maids, etc.]

The scene is laid in Normandy; time of Louis the Fifteenth.

The first act of this charming opera, one of the most popular of its class, opens in an old Norman village during the progress of a fair. Henri, the Marquis of Villeroi, who has been an exile since childhood, has just returned. The first scene discloses a number of village gossips who are retailing scandals about Serpolette, the good-for-nothing, who arrives in time to vindicate herself and retaliate upon the gossips. Gaspard, [153] the miser, has arranged to give his niece Germaine in marriage to the sheriff, who is the chief dignitary in the village. Germaine, however, objects to the proposition, since if she marries at all she claims she must marry Jean Grenicheux, a young fisherman, in gratitude for saving her life. To escape the marriage she and Jean become the servants of the Marquis, and are joined by Serpolette, which is one of the privileges of fair-time.

The second act is occupied with the exposure of the ghosts in the castle of Villeroi. The Marquis is confident that there is nothing supernatural about the apparition which has been seen or the sounds which have been heard in the various apartments. He therefore introduces his servants into the castle, and after careful searching discovers that the ghost of Villeroi is old Gaspard, the miser, who, when he is found out, becomes crazy through fear of losing treasures which are concealed there.

In the last act the castle is restored to its old splendor, and the Marquis takes possession as master. He gives a fête and the villagers are invited, the crazy Gaspard being among them. Serpolette appears as a grand lady with Jean as her factotum, some papers found in the castle indicating she is the lost heiress. After a love scene between Henri and Germaine, however, Gaspard, who has recovered his reason, discloses that Germaine, and not Serpolette, is the rightful heiress and the true claimant to the title of marchioness. All the complications are now unravelled. Gaspard’s treasure is [154] restored to its rightful owner. Germaine comes to her rights, and Serpolette remains with her as her friend.

The music of the opera is delightful throughout, and has scarcely a dull moment. Its most conspicuous numbers are Serpolette’s rondo, “In my Mysterious History”; a delightful little fantaisie, “Go, Little Sailor”; the legend of the chimes, “Alas! we have lost Excellent Masters”; Henri’s grand aria, “I have thrice made the Tour of the World”; and his couplets, “Under the Armor from Top to Toe”; Serpolette’s sprightly aria, “Viscountess and Marchioness”; the chorus with the chimes, a most graceful and interesting number closing the second act; and in the last act Gaspard’s quaint old Norman song, “We were full Five Hundred Rogues”; Serpolette’s rondo, “The Apple’s a Fruit full of Vigor”; and Henri’s romance, “A Servant, what Matter to me?”




[Opera buffa, in three acts; text by Piave. First produced in Venice, in 1850.]


Annetta, the cobbler’s wife.
La Comare, the fairy.
Crispino, the cobbler.
Il Contino, the Count.
Dr. Fabrizio.
Dr. Mirobolante.
Don Asdrubal.

[Clerks, waiters, servants, etc.]

The scene is laid in Venice; time, the last century.

The first act of this charming little fairy opera opens with a unison chorus of apothecary’s apprentices, “Thump, thump” (“Batti, batti”). Crispino, a poor cobbler, over head and ears in debt, whose wife Annetta tries to help him out by ballad singing, is seated at his bench at work in front of his house. In the intervals of the chorus the Count, who figures in a side plot, sings a beautiful romanza, “Thou Beauteous as an Angel art” (“Bella siccome un angelo”). Then Crispino bewails his hard fortune in a quaint melody, “Once a Cobbler” (“Una volta [156] un ciabattino”), after which Annetta introduces herself with a canzonetta, “My Pretty Tales and Songs” (“Istorie belle e leggere”), leading up to a minor duet between them. In the sixth scene a buffo aria, “I am a Bit of a Philosopher” (“Io sono un po’ filosofo”) is sung by Dr. Fabrizio. At last Crispino gets into such desperate straits that he resolves to make way with himself. He is about to jump into a well when a fairy appears and dissuades him, at the same time giving him a purse of gold and offering to set him up in business as a doctor, telling him he must look about him whenever he has a patient, and if she is not present he will be successful. The act closes with a duet for Crispino and Annetta, “Since you have found a Fairy” (“Troffo so, basta per ova”).

The second act discloses Crispino in the midst of a nourishing business, and the delighted Annetta sings a joyous little melody, “I no longer am Annetta” (“Io non sono piu l’Annetta”). A workman who has met with an accident is brought to Crispino for treatment, and as the fairy is not present he is successful. The musical treatment of the healing scene is worked up with great skill. It begins with a baritone solo, leading up to a duet with soprano and chorus accompaniment. A sextette then takes up the theme, and in the close all on the stage give it with impressive effect. A broadly humorous but very melodious trio of the doctors follows, “Sirs, what means this Quarrel?” (“Ma Signori, perchè tantes questione?”). In [157] the next scene Annetta sings the pretty Fritola song, “Pietro, Darling, this Cake so Tempting” (“Piero mio, go qua una fritola”), in which she boasts the merits of a cake she has made for the Carnival. Meanwhile Crispino grows so puffed up with his wealth that when Annetta invites some old friends to the house he drives them out, and is about to strike Annetta when the fairy suddenly appears.

In the last act the fairy has taken Crispino to a cavern, where she shows him crystal vases in which more or less brilliant lights are burning. She tells him that each represents a human life. The one burning so brightly is Annetta’s, the one so dimly is his own. When he asks her to take some oil out of Annetta’s lamp and put it into his, she upbraids him, reveals herself as death, and tells him to make his last request, for he is about to die. In a doleful ballad, “Little I ask, Dearest Fairy” (“Poco cerco, O mia Comare”), he asks for only a half-hour more, so that he may see Annetta and the children. A sudden change of scene shows him in his own house, awaking from sleep in his chair. As he realizes that it has been only a nightmare, occasioned by a sudden fit of illness, he expresses his delight and Annetta expresses her joy in a brilliant waltz movement, “There’s no Joy that e’er hath given me” (“Non ha gioja in tal Momento”), which closes the opera.



The Barber of Seville.

[Opera buffa, in two acts; text by Sterbini. First produced at the Argentina Theatre, Rome, February 5, 1816.]


Rosina, ward of Dr. Bartolo.
Figaro, the barber.
Count Almaviva, lover of Rosina.
Dr. Bartolo.
Basilio, a music-master.

[Officers, soldiers, etc.]

The scene is laid in Seville; time, the eighteenth century.

The story and the music of “The Barber of Seville” are as fresh and delightful as when the opera was first produced eighty-six years ago. Its story is almost as familiar as household words, and no music has been more popular on the operatic stage than its gay, brilliant arias. Count Almaviva loves Rosina, the ward of Dr. Bartolo, who wishes to marry her himself, but the Count is unable to get an interview with her until it is arranged for by Figaro, the factotum of the place. In spite of Bartolo’s watchfulness, as well as that of Don Basilio, [159] her music-teacher, who is only too willing to serve Bartolo, she succeeds in writing to the Count and telling him that his love is returned. With Figaro’s help the Count gets into the house disguised as a drunken dragoon, but is promptly arrested. The next time he secures admission as a music-teacher upon the pretence that Don Basilio is sick, and has sent him to give Rosina her lesson. He further hoodwinks Bartolo by producing the letter Rosina had written to himself, and promises to persuade her that the letter has been given him by a mistress of the Count, which will break the connection between the two. He secures the coveted interview, and an elopement is planned. The unexpected appearance of Don Basilio, however, upsets the arrangements, and the disconcerted lover makes good his escape. In the mean time Bartolo, who has the letter, shows it to his ward and arouses her jealousy. She thereupon promises to marry her guardian. At the time set for the elopement, the Count and Figaro arrive. A reconciliation is speedily effected, and the Count and Rosina are married just as Bartolo makes his appearance with officers to arrest the Count. After mutual explanations, however, all ends happily.

The opera opens, after a short chorus, with the Count’s serenade, “Lo, smiling in the Orient Sky” (“Ecco ridente in cielo”), one of the most beautiful numbers in the opera. In the second scene Figaro sings the lively and well-known buffo aria, [160] “Make Room for the Factotum” (“Largo al factotum”). A light and lively duet between Figaro and the Count leads up to the chamber aria of Rosina, “The Voice I heard just now” (“Una voce poco fa”), which is not only very expressive but remarkably rich in ornamentation. In the next scene occurs the calumny aria, “Oh! Calumny is like the Sigh” (“La Calunnia è un venticello”). It is followed by a florid duet and a dialogue between Rosina and Bartolo, closing with the bass aria, “No longer conceal the Truth” (“Non piu tacete”). The finale is composed of three scenes full of glittering dialogue and melodious passages.

The second act opens with a soliloquy by Bartolo, interrupted by a duet with the Count. The music-lesson scene follows in which the artist personating Rosina is given an opportunity for interpolation. In the next scene occurs a dialogue quintette, which is followed by a long aria for Bertha, “There is always Noise” (“Sempre gridi”), which the Italians called the “aria de sorbetto,” as they used to eat ices while it was sung. In the eighth scene, after a long recitative, an instrumental prelude occurs, representing a stormy night, followed by recitative in which the Count reveals himself, leading up to a florid trio, and this in turn to the elegant terzetto, “Softly, softly, no Delay” (“Zitti, zitti, piano, piano”). A bravura and finale of light, graceful melody close the opera.



Billee Taylor.

[Nautical comic opera, in two acts; text by Stephens. First produced in London in 1880]


Felix Flapper, R. N., Captain of “H. M. S. Thunderbomb.”
Sir Mincing Lane, knight.
Billee Taylor.
Ben Barnacle.
Christopher Crab, tutor.
Phœbe Farleigh, a charity girl.
Arabella Lane, heiress.
Eliza Dabsey.
Jane Scraggs.

[Villagers, peasants, sailors, press gang, etc.]

The scene is laid in Southampton, England; time, the year 1805.

The story of “Billee Taylor” is based upon an old English marine ballad of the same name. The first act opens at the inn of the Royal George in Southampton, where the villagers have gathered to celebrate the wedding of Billee Taylor and Phœbe Farleigh, a charity girl. The heiress, Arabella Lane, is also in love with Billee, and has offered him her hand, which he has [162] rejected. Her father, Sir Mincing Lane, is going to give the villagers a feast upon the occasion of Billee’s wedding, and invites his friend, Captain Flapper, to attend. The captain accepts, falls in love with Phœbe at sight, and vows Billee shall not marry her. Crab, the tutor, is also in love with Phœbe. In Captain Flapper’s crew is Bill Barnacle, who went to sea “on account of Eliza,” who had been unfaithful to him, and he is ordered by the press gang to carry Billee away, which he does during the wedding festivities.

The second act opens at Portsmouth, two years supposedly having elapsed. All the charity girls, among them Phœbe, disguised as sailors, followed Billee to sea, who in the mean time has risen to a lieutenancy. Arabella forces her attentions upon him and he is inclined to yield. At this juncture Phœbe, still seeking her lover, turns up as a common sailor answering to the name of Richard Carr. Captain Flapper in her presence mentions that he is in love with her, also that Billee is about to marry Arabella. Sir Mincing Lane, now a commander of volunteers, endeavors to persuade some of the sailors to join him, and Phœbe offers herself as a recruit, but is claimed as a messmate by Barnacle, which leads to a quarrel. Crab then incites Phœbe to revenge herself upon her recreant lover, and she fires at him, but the shot hits Crab. She is arrested and is about to be executed, but is released when she declares herself a woman. In the end Billee is disrated, but marries Arabella. [163] Barnacle secures his Eliza. Phœbe marries the captain, and is made full lieutenant of the “Thunderbomb.”

“Billee Taylor” is essentially a ballad opera. The best of the ballads are “The Virtuous Gardener,” in which Billee describes the ethical pleasures of gardening; “The Two Rivers,” sung by Phœbe, Susan, and chorus; “The Self-made Knight,” by Sir Mincing Lane, which resembles Sir Joseph Porter’s song in the first act of “Pinafore” (“When I was a Lad I served a Term”); Phœbe’s sentimental song, “The Guileless Orphan”; Barnacle’s well-known song, “All on account of Eliza”; Crab’s humorous ditty, “The Poor Wicked Man”; Angelina’s sentimental “Ballad of the Billow”; and Captain Flapper’s disquisition on love in the interrogative song, “Do you know why the Rabbits are caught in the Snares?”



El Capitan.

[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Klein. First produced at the Tremont Theatre, Boston, April 13, 1896.]


Medigua, Viceroy of Peru.
Cazarro, deposed viceroy.
Pozzo, secretary of Medigua.
Verrada, in love with Isabel.
Scaramba, an insurgent.
Estrelda, Cazarro’s daughter.
Marghanza, Medigua’s wife.
Isabel, her daughter.

[Troops, insurgents, peasants, etc.]

The scene is laid in Peru; time, the eighteenth century.

At the opening of the story Cazarro, viceroy of Peru, has been deposed by the King of Spain, and Medigua has been appointed in his stead. Cazarro incites a revolution, and sends to Spain for El Capitan, a noted soldier, to come to his help. He sails on the same ship with Medigua, in the disguise of a seaman, but is killed in a quarrel on board. Medigua finds out who he was, and when he lands, discovering that his faction is in a hopeless minority, he proclaims [165] himself El Capitan and joins the rebels. To further his scheme he induces his secretary, Pozzo, to represent the Viceroy. Among the other characters are Scaramba, a revolutionist in love with Estrelda, daughter of Cazarro; the Princess Marghanza, wife of Medigua; her daughter Isabel; and Count Verrada, who is in love with her. Estrelda falls in love with the pseudo El Capitan, which arouses Scaramba’s jealousy. Pozzo is thrust into prison, much to the grief of the Princess and of Isabel, who believe him to be Medigua. After the arrival of the Spanish troops, however, Medigua declares himself. The rebellion is squelched, all are pardoned, and everything ends happily.

The principal numbers of the first act are a pretty drinking-song for the chorus; a solo for Medigua, “If you examine Human Kind,” followed by a dialogue and leading up to an aria for Estrelda, “When we hear the Call for Battle,” with chorus in march time; a second march, “In me you see El Capitan,” which heralds Medigua’s entrance; the chorus, “Lo, the Awful Man approaches”; and the solo and chorus, “Bah, bah,” closing the act. The second act opens with a march song, “Ditty of the Drill,” which is shortly followed by an effective scene in which a mournful accompaniment representing the grief of Marghanza and Isabel, and a festive accompaniment setting forth the exultation of Estrelda and her companions as they bind El Capitan with garlands [166] of roses, are interwoven. As the Princess discovers Medigua in El Capitan, a quarrel duet follows between her and Estrelda, leading up to a pompous military finale, as the Spanish troops appear. The leading numbers of the third act are a serenade and duet for Verrada and Isabel; a song by the tipsy Medigua, “The Typical Tune of Zanzibar,” which is the most popular number in the opera; and a final march with chorus.



The Merry War.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Zell and Genée. First produced in Vienna, November 25, 1881.]


Countess Violetta.
Col. Umberto.
Duke de Limburg.
Balthasar Groats, dealer in tulip bulbs.
Else, wife of Groats.

[Soldiers, citizens, etc.]

The scene is laid in Genoa; time, the eighteenth century.

The “merry war” is not a very serious one, as may be inferred from its title. It is a quarrel between two petty states, Genoa and Massa Carrara, growing out of the fact that a popular dancer has made simultaneous engagements at the theatres of each. Both claim her, and the question at issue is at which theatre the dancer shall appear. One harmless hand grenade is thrown from either side with monotonous regularity each day, and the “merry war” is without interesting incident until the pretty Countess Violetta appears in one of the camps. She is seeking to make her way in disguise into the city of the other camp, to take command of the citadel. [168] Umberto, the colonel commanding, is deceived by her, and allows her to pass through the lines. When informed of the deception he determines to take his revenge by marrying her. Understanding that she is to marry the Duke de Limburg by proxy, he impersonates the Duke and is married to Violetta without arousing her suspicions. He is assisted in his scheme by Balthasar Groats, a Dutch speculator in tulip bulbs, whom the soldiers have arrested, thinking him a spy, and who is naturally willing to do anything for the Colonel to get him out of his predicament. Complications arise, however, when Groats’ wife appears and becomes jealous, also because of Violetta’s antipathy towards her supposed husband and her affection for Umberto. All these matters are arranged satisfactorily, however, when there is an opportunity for explanation, and a treaty of peace is signed between the two states, when it is found that the cause of the “merry war” will not keep her engagement with either theatre.

The music of “The Merry War” is light and gay throughout. Like all the rest of the Strauss operas, it might be said that it is a collection of marches and waltzes, and a repetition of dance music which has done good service in ballrooms, strung upon the slight thread of a story. Its most taking numbers are Umberto’s couplets, “Till now no Drop of Blood”; Balthasar’s comical song, “General, ho!” and his tulip song, “From Holland to Florence in Peace we were going”; Violetta’s [169] arietta, “In vain I cannot fly”; the dainty duet for Violetta and Umberto, “Please do”; Else’s romantic song, “I wandered on”; the ensemble and Dutch song by Artemisia, “The much Admired One”; Umberto’s love song, “The Night begins to creep”; Violetta’s song, “I am yet Commander for To-day,” leading to a terzetto and spirited final chorus, “Of their Warlike Renown.”

The Queen’s Lace Handkerchief.

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Genée and Bohrmann-Riegen. First produced at Vienna, October 2, 1880.]


The King.
The Queen.
Donna Irene, the Queen’s confidante.
Marquis of Villareal.
Cervantes, poet.
Count Villaboisy Roderiguez, Prime Minister.
Don Sancho de Avellaneda, tutor to the King.
Marquis de la Mancha Villareal, Minister of War.
Duke of Feria, Minister of Finance.
Count San Gregorio, Minister of the Interior.
Count Ermos, Minister of the Navy.
Don Diego de Barados, Minister of Police.
Master of Ceremonies.
Antonio, innkeeper.

[Students, doctors, ladies and gentlemen of the court, toreadors, brigands, etc.]

The scene is laid in Portugal; time, the year 1570.

The romance of the story of “The Queen’s Lace Handkerchief” has helped to make this opera one [170] of the most popular of Strauss’ works. The action begins at a time when Portugal is ruled by a ministry whose premier is in league with Philip II. of Spain, and who, to keep possession of power, has fomented trouble between the young Queen and King, and encouraged the latter in all kinds of dissipations. At this time Cervantes, the poet, who has been banished from Spain, is a captain in the Royal Guards, and in love with Irene, a lady in waiting. These two are good friends of both the King and Queen, and are eager to depose the ministry. Cervantes is reader to the Queen, and the latter, having a sentimental attachment for him, writes upon her handkerchief, “A queen doth love thee, yet art thou no king,” and placing it in a volume of “Don Quixote,” hands it to him. The book is seized, and as “Don Quixote” is Minister of War and “Sancho Panza” Minister of Instruction, Cervantes is arrested for libel and treason. Irene and the King, however, save him by proving him insane, and the King and Queen ascend the throne. In desperation the premier hands the King the handkerchief with the inscription on it, which leads to the re-arrest of Cervantes and the banishment of the Queen to a convent. Cervantes escapes, however, and joins some brigands. They capture the Queen on her way to the convent, and in the disguise of the host and waiting-maid of an inn, they serve the King, who happens there on a hunting-trip. Everything is satisfactorily accounted for, and the inscription on the handkerchief is explained [171] as a message which the Queen sent to the King by Cervantes.

The music is light and brilliant. Much of it is in the waltz movement, and the choral work is a strong feature. Its best numbers are the Queen’s humorous romanza, “It was a wondrous Fair and Starry Night”; another humorous number, the King’s truffle song, “Such Dish by Man not oft is seen”; the epicurean duet for the King and premier, “These Oysters are great”; Cervantes’ recitative, “Once sat a Youth,” in the finale of the first act: a dainty little romanza for Cervantes, “Where the Wild Rose sweetly doth blow”; the trio and chorus, “Great Professors, Learned Doctors”; the fine duet for the King and Cervantes, “Brighter Glance on him shall repose”; Sancho’s vivacious couplet, “In the Night his Zither holding”; the Queen’s showy song, “Seventeen Years had just passed o’er me”; and the two closing choruses, “Now the King all hail,” in march time, and the Bull-fight, which is full of dash and spirit.

Queen Indigo.

[Opera comique, in three acts; text by Jaime and Wilder. First produced in Vienna, February 10, 1871.]


Montadada I., widow of King Indigo.
Fantasca, the late King’s favorite.
Janio, the late King’s jester.
Romadour, chief of the eunuchs.
Babazouck, fruit and vegetable vender.
Mysouf, general-in-chief.

[Inmates of the harem, eunuchs, cooks, courtiers, soldiers, sailors, etc.]

The scene is laid in Asiatic Turkey; time, the last century.


At the opening of the opera King Indigo has just died, and his widow, Montadada I., decides to sell the harem. Fantasca, a beautiful slave, who was the favorite of the King, is included among those to be sold, and Romadour, chief of the eunuchs, resolves to secure her. Fantasca is in love with Janio, the King’s jester, of her own country. Queen Montadada is also in love with him and has chosen him for her second husband, but he prefers Fantasca. The two contrive a cunning plot for the escape of the entire harem. Janio informs the Queen that one of her tribes has revolted, and as her troops are all sick he proposes that the women be armed and that he be placed in command. She accepts the proposal, and promises that the victor “shall choose the woman he loves, did she even wear a crown,” not doubting Janio will select her, but, much to her chagrin, he announces Fantasca as his choice.

The second act discloses the Amazon army with Janio and Fantasca at its head. The Queen also accompanies them, still bent upon securing Janio’s love. At the first alarm the troops fly in all directions, and the Queen, suspicious that something is wrong, scours the woods for Janio, who [173] makes his escape by changing clothes with Babazouck, a fruit-vender. The Queen meanwhile arrays herself in male attire, so that she may compete in physical attractions with Fantasca. She furthermore gets into a semi-drunken condition, but recognizes the cheat when Babazouck is brought before her. Immediately thereafter she falls into a drunken stupor. Romadour also comes in intoxicated, and mistaking her for Fantasca, sings to her, “O, my Queen, I love you,” in a deep bass voice. The act closes with the two sleeping side by side, and the women of the harem carrying off the royal treasures.

In the last act Janio, Fantasca, and the other slaves are preparing for flight, when the Queen and Romadour enter. The former announces she no longer loves Janio, but the man who had declared, “Oh, my Queen, I love you.” At her request Romadour repeats the remark, but this time in a high falsetto voice which she does not recognize. Subsequently he changes his mind, after hearing of Fantasca’s prowess in battle, and exclaims, “O, my Queen, I love you,” in the bass voice. The Queen promptly claims him for her husband and he acquiesces. She then orders Janio and Fantasca to be sold, but Romadour intercedes in their behalf, and she banishes them.

Like all the Strauss operas, “Queen Indigo” is full of charming waltz music, comprising, in addition to many novelties, several of his old-time [174] favorites. The most effective vocal numbers are the trio, “What Dark Forebodings” (“Quel sombre et noir présage”); Fantasca’s couplets, “A Model Soldier” (“Cavalier modèle”), and her song, “Woman is a Cunning Bird” (“La femme est un oiseau subtil”); the waltz song, “Oh! Maddening Flame” (“O flamme cuivrante”); the characteristic Tyrolienne, “Youpla! why, Fond Lover” (“Youplà, pourquoi, bel amoureux”); and the “Blue Danube” chorus of the sailors, in the last act.

The Bat.

(Die Fledermaus.)

[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Haffner and Genée. First produced in Vienna, July, 1874.]


Alfred, singing-master.
Frosch, court usher.
Frank, prison director.
Dr. Blind, attorney.
Dr. Falke, notary.
Ivan, Prince Chamberlain.
Ali Bey, an Egyptian.
Murray, an American.
Cancorney, a Marquis.
Rosalind, wife of Eisenstein.
Prince Orlofsky.
Adele, Rosalind’s maid.
Lord Middleton.

[Dancers, masqueraders, etc.]

The scene is laid in Germany; time, the last century.

Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus,” or “The Bat,” is founded upon Meilhac and Halévy’s “Le Revillon.” In music it is Viennese; in dramatic effect, it is French. The scene opens with Adele, [175] maid of the Baroness Rosalind, seeking permission to visit her sister Ida, a ballet-dancer, who is to be at a masked ball given by Prince Orlofsky, a Russian millionaire. She receives permission, and after she has gone, Dr. Falke, a notary, who has arranged the ball, calls at the house of the Baron Eisenstein, and induces him to go to it before going to jail, to which he has been sentenced for contempt of court. The purpose of the doctor is to seek revenge for his shabby treatment by the Baron some time before at a masquerade which they had attended,—Eisenstein dressed as a butterfly, and Falke as a bat. The doctor then notifies the Baroness that her husband will be at the ball. She thereupon decides that she will also be present. An amusing scene occurs when the Baron seeks to pass himself off as a French marquis, and pays his devotions to the ladies, but is quite astonished to find his wife there, flirting with an old lover. There are further complications caused by Falke, who manages to have Alfred, the singing-master, in the Baroness’ apartments when the sheriff comes to arrest the Baron, and arrests Alfred, supposing him to be Eisenstein. In the last act, however, all the complications are disentangled, and everything ends happily.

It would be impossible to name the conspicuous numbers in this animated and sprightly work without making a catalogue of them all. The opera is a grand potpourri of waltz and polka motives [176] and fresh, bright melodies. The composer does not linger long with the dialogue, but goes from one waltz melody to another in a most bewildering manner, interspersing them with romanzas, drinking-songs, czardas, an almost endless variety of dance rhythms and choruses of a brilliant sort. It is a charming mixture of Viennese gayety and French drollery, and, like his “Roman Carnival” and “Queen Indigo,” is the very essence of the dance.




[Musical comedy, in two acts; text by Hall. First produced in London, November 11, 1899.]


Cyrus W. Gilfain, proprietor of the island of Florodora.
Capt. Arthur Donegal, Lady Holyrood’s brother.
Frank Abercoed, manager for Mr. Gilfain.
Leandro, overseer.
Anthony Tweedlepunch, phrenologist.
Valleda, maid to Lady Holyrood.
Estelle Lamont, stenographer.
Angela Gilfain.
Lady Holyrood.

[Florodorean farmers, flower-girls, peasants, etc.]

The scene is laid in the island of Florodora and Wales; time, the present.

“Florodora,” the title of a musical comedy which has had extraordinary success both in England and the United States, is the name of an island and a perfume. The island has been stolen by Cyrus Gilfain, the manufacturer of the perfume, from its rightful owner, whose daughter Dolores works in his factory. He is anxious to marry the girl, so that he may retain possession of the island, [178] but she is in love with Abercoed, the chief clerk, who in reality is Lord Abercoed. The conspicuous comedy element of the work is supplied by Tweedlepunch, a detective, who arrives at the island in Gilfain’s absence, disguised as a phrenologist and palmist, in search of the real owner’s daughter. When Gilfain returns he is accompanied by Lady Holyrood, a London society woman, who is scheming to marry him. Lady Holyrood’s brother, meanwhile, is in love with Angela, Gilfain’s daughter. Gilfain, finding that Tweedlepunch is a phrenologist, bribes him to decide, after examination, that he and Dolores must wed, and that Abercoed, whom he has learned is a peer, must marry his daughter Angela. The scheme does not satisfy any one but Gilfain, and, least of all, Lady Holyrood, who bribes Tweedlepunch again to decide that she and Gilfain must marry. Abercoed refuses to marry Angela, is discharged by Gilfain, and goes back to England with the intention of returning later for Dolores.

The second act opens in the grounds of Abercoed Castle in Wales, which has been bought by Gilfain, who refuses to admit his former clerk. He manages to get in, however, in company with Tweedlepunch and Dolores, and Tweedlepunch, by a story of the ghost of an ancient Abercoed which has threatened dreadful things will happen to Gilfain, so terrifies him that he confesses his villainy, and all ends happily. Gilfain finally marries Lady Holyrood, Donegal and Angela and [179] Abercoed and Dolores are also married, and the castle is restored to the rightful owner.

The music of “Florodora” is light and catchy, but though original of its kind, the work would hardly have achieved its remarkable vogue had it not been for its brilliant stage setting, dances, and the extravagant comedy rôle of Tweedlepunch. The best numbers in the first act are the sextette, “The Credit due to me,” by the clerks and chorus; the song, “When I leave Town,” by Lady Holyrood; and Abercoed’s sentimental song, “In the Shade of the Sheltering Palm,” the only serious and musicianly number in the work. The principal numbers of the second act are Lady Holyrood’s topical song “Tact,” and “I’ve an Inkling”; Angela’s clever song, “The Fellow who might”; Donegal’s song, “I want to be a Military Man”; the grotesque song and dance by Leandro and Valleda, “We get up at 8 A. M.”; and the double sextette, “Tell me, Pretty Maiden,” which is cleverly constructed and has a fascinating rhythm.



Cox and Box.

[Comic operetta, in one act and seven tableaux; text by Burnand. First produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, 1867.]


James John Cox, a journeyman hatter.
John James Box, a journeyman printer.
Sergt. Bouncer, late of the Hampshire Yeomanry.

The scene is laid in London; time, the present.

“Cox and Box” is of interest because it is the germ from which sprang the long list of Sullivan’s charming comic operas. Burnand, the author of the libretto, has told the story of how they came to write this little operetta. They had been to a private performance of Offenbach’s “Les deux Aveugles,” and, Burnand wishing to present something of the same kind to a party of his own friends, the notion suddenly occurred to him of turning Morton’s well-known farce of “Box and Cox” into an opera. Sullivan took to the plan enthusiastically. Burnand reversed the title to “Cox and Box,” and turned Mrs. Bouncer into Sergeant Bouncer, so as to admit of a martial air. They had but three weeks before them, but at the end of that time the work [181] was finished, Sullivan setting the music with almost incredible rapidity. It made such a great hit that it was decided to give it publicly, and at the last moment the composer wrote an overture for it.

The story is the familiar old one which as “Box and Cox” was for so many years and still is such a favorite on the stage. It turns upon the funny experiences of Cox, the hatter, and Box, the printer, who are occupying the same room, the one by night and the other by day, unbeknown to each other, and for which Sergeant Bouncer gets double rent. At last they meet in the room which each one claims as his own. After a ludicrous dispute they gradually become reconciled to each other, but another dispute ensues when Cox finds that the widow Penelope Ann, whom he is about to marry, has been deserted by Box, the latter pretending to have committed suicide to get rid of her. Cox insists upon restoring Box to the arms of his intended, but Box declines his generous offer. Then they agree to decide by lot which shall have her, but each tries to cheat the other. The situation resolves itself satisfactorily when a letter comes to Cox from Penelope Ann, announcing that she has decided to marry Knox. They give three cheers for Knox, and Bouncer closes the scene with a joyous rataplan in which all three join.

The situations are extremely humorous throughout, and the action moves briskly. Though Sullivan [182] wrote the music in great haste, it is in perfect keeping with the fun of the farce and keeps up its interest to the end. The principal numbers are Bouncer’s rataplan song, “Yes, in those Merry Days,” and his duet with Cox, “Stay, Bouncer, stay”; Cox’s joyous song, “My Master is punctual always in Business,” with its dance at the end of each stanza; the characteristic serenade, “The Buttercup dwells in the Lowly Mead” (Cox) and “The Floweret shines on the Minaret Fair” (Box); Box’s solemn description of his pretended suicide, “Listen! I solemnly walked to the Cliff”; and the finale by the jolly triumvirate with the “rataplan.”

Trial by Jury.

[Operetta, in one act; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Royalty Theatre, London, March 25, 1875.]


Learned Judge.
Counsel for the Plaintiff.
Foreman of the Jury.
First Bridesmaid.

[Barristers, attorneys, journeymen, and bridesmaids.]

The scene is laid in a London Court of Justice; time, the nineteenth century.

The little operetta, “Trial by Jury,” was the first result of the successful collaboration of [183] Gilbert and Sullivan, though it gave little hint of the extraordinary excellence as well as popularity of the long list which followed it. “The words and music were written and all the rehearsals completed within three weeks, and all London went to see it,” says Sullivan’s biographer. It was produced March 25, 1875, and had quite a run, Frederick Sullivan, Sir Arthur’s brother, appearing in the rôle of the judge and contributing much to its success.

The story is a satire upon the English courts, the incident being a breach of promise case. Edwin is sued by Angelina. The usher impresses upon the jury its duty to divest itself of prejudice in one breath, and in the next seeks to prejudice it against the defendant by most violent denunciations of him. When Edwin enters he is at once requested by the jury to “dread our damages.” He tells them how he became “the lovesick boy” first of one and then of another. The jurymen in chorus, while admitting that they were fickle when young, declare that they are now respectable and have no sympathy with him. The judge enters, and after informing the audience how he came to the bench, announces he is ready to try the breach of promise case. The jury is sworn. Angelina enters, accompanied by her bridesmaids. The judge takes a great fancy to the first bridesmaid, and sends her a note, which she kisses rapturously and places in her bosom. Immediately thereafter the judge transfers his admiration to the [184] plaintiff, and directs the usher to take the note from the bridesmaid and give it to Angelina, which he does, while the jurymen taunt the judge with being a sly dog, and then express their love for her also. The plaintiff’s counsel makes the opening speech, and Angelina takes the witness-stand, but, feeling faint, falls sobbing on the foreman’s breast, who kisses her as a father. She revives, and then falls sobbing upon the judge’s breast, while the jurymen shake their fists at the defendant, who comes forward and offers to marry Angelina “to-day and marry the other to-morrow.” The judge thinks it a reasonable proposition, but the plaintiff’s counsel submits that “to marry two at once is Burglaree.” In this dilemma Angelina embraces Edwin rapturously, but he repels her furiously and throws her into the arms of her counsel. The jury thereupon becomes distracted, and asks for guidance, whereupon the judge decides he will marry Angelina himself, to which she gives enthusiastic consent.

The best numbers in the operetta are the defendant’s song, “When first my Old, Old Love I knew”; the juryman’s song, “Oh! I was like that when I was a Lad”; the judge’s song, “When I, Good Friends, was called to the Bar”; the pretty chorus of the bridesmaids, “Cover the Broken Flower”; the plaintiff’s song, “O’er the Season Vernal”; and the defendant’s song, “Oh! Gentlemen, listen, I pray.” The London “Times,” after the first performance, said: [185] “There is a genuine humor in the music, as for instance in the unison chorus of the jurymen, and the clever parody on one of the most renowned finales of modern Italian opera; and there is also melody, both catching and fluent, here and there, moreover, set off by little touches in the orchestral accompaniments which reveal the experienced hand.”

The Sorcerer.

[Comic opera, in two acts; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Opéra Comique, London, November 18, 1877.]


Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, an elderly baronet.
Alexis, his son, of the Grenadier Guards.
Dr. Daly, vicar of Ploverleigh.
John Wellington Wells, of Wells & Co., family sorcerers.
Lady Sangazure, a lady of ancient lineage.
Aline, her daughter, betrothed to Alexis.
Mrs. Partlet, a pew-opener.
Constance, her daughter.

[Chorus of peasantry.]

The scene is laid upon an English estate; time, the present.

The success of the two operettas, “Cox and Box” and “Trial by Jury,” led to the organization of a company under the management of Mr. D’Oyly Carte for the production of the Sullivan-Gilbert collaborations, and the first of its performances was “The Sorcerer.” Incidentally [186] it may be stated that this opera introduced Mr. George Grossmith to the stage, and its success led to a proposition from “Lewis Carroll” to Sullivan to set his “Alice in Wonderland” as an opera, though the scheme was never realized. The libretto is replete with humor, and the music is original and characteristic, and particularly noticeable for its admirable parodies of the Italian operas, and yet it is always scholarly.

The first act opens upon the grounds of Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre’s estate, where the villagers are gathered to celebrate the betrothal of his son Alexis, and Aline, daughter of Lady Sangazure, with whom, fifty years before, Sir Marmaduke had been in love. Mrs. Partlet, the pew-opener, enters with her daughter Constance, who is hopelessly in love with Dr. Daly, the vicar, for he cannot be made to understand, either by her demonstrations or by the mother’s hints, that he is the object of her devotion. Alexis and Aline are congratulated by all, and sign the marriage contract. When alone together, Alexis discourses upon his favorite theory that all artificial barriers should be broken down and that marriage should be contracted without regard to rank. To put his theory into practice he procures from the firm of J. W. Wells & Co., the old established family sorcerers of the place, a large quantity of their love potion, which has no effect upon married persons but will cause unmarried ones to couple without regard to rank or condition, mixes [187] it with the tea and serves it out to all who are in attendance at the betrothal banquet. Gradually all fall insensible, and the act closes.

The second act opens upon Sir Marmaduke’s grounds at midnight. The guests, one after the other, are waking. Alexis tells Aline she must take some of the potion so that he may be sure of her love, which she does after much protesting. As they regain their senses, each guest makes offer of marriage to the first one seen. Constance declares her love for the old notary. Sir Marmaduke enters with Mrs. Partlet, the venerable pew-opener, on his arm and announces his intention of marrying her. Wells appears on the grounds in a remorseful condition as he beholds the mischief he has caused, and Lady Sangazure proposes to him, and leaves in great anguish when he declares he is already engaged to “a maiden fair on a South Pacific Isle.” Aline beholds Dr. Daly and begins to fall violently in love with him and he with her. Alexis, in alarm at the trouble he is making, seeks out Wells and demands that he shall remove the spell. Wells explains that in order to do this, one or the other of them must offer his life to Ahrimanes. Alexis is not willing to give up Aline, and Wells is averse to losing his profitable business. They agree to leave the decision to the guests, and the latter agree that Wells shall make the sacrifice. He consents, and all go back to their old lovers as he sinks through a trap amid red fire.


The most conspicuous numbers in the first act are Dr. Daly’s ballad, “Time was when Love and I were well acquainted”; the duet between Sir Marmaduke and Lady Sangazure, “Welcome Joy, adieu to Sadness”; Alexis’ ballad, “Love feeds on many Kinds of Food I know”; Wells’ long and rollicking song, “Oh! my Name is John Wellington Wells”; and the incantation music, “Sprites of Earth and Air.” The second act opens with a charming little country dance. The principal numbers which follow it are Constance’s aria, “Dear Friends, take Pity on my Lot”; the ensemble for Aline, Alexis, Constance, and the Notary, “O, Joy! O, Joy!”; Alexis’ ballad, “Thou hast the Power thy Vaunted Love”; the quintette, “I rejoice that it’s decided”; Dr. Daly’s humorous song, “Oh! my Voice is sad and low”; and the final ensemble, “Now to the Banquet we press.”

H. M. S. Pinafore; or, The Lass that Loved a Sailor.

[Comic opera, in two acts; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Opéra Comique, London, May 28, 1878.]


The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., First Lord of the Admiralty.
Capt. Corcoran, commanding “H. M. S. Pinafore.”
Ralph Rackstraw, able seaman.
Dick Deadeye, able seaman.
Bill Bobstay, boatswain’s mate.
Bob Becket, carpenter’s man.
Tom Tucker, midshipmite.
Sergeant of Marines.
Josephine, the Captain’s daughter.
Hebe, Sir Joseph’s first cousin.
Little Buttercup, a bumboat woman.

[First Lord’s sisters, his cousins, his aunts, sailors, marines, etc.]

The scene is laid on the quarterdeck of “H. M. S. Pinafore”; time, the present.


Although “Pinafore,” when it was first produced in London, was received so coolly that it was decided to take it off the boards, yet eventually, with the exception of “The Beggar’s Opera,” it proved to be the most popular opera ever produced in England; while in the United States it was for years the rage, and is still a prime favorite. The first scene introduces the leading characters on the deck of “H. M. S. Pinafore” in the harbor of Portsmouth. Little Buttercup, a bumboat woman, “the rosiest, the roundest, and the reddest beauty in all Spithead,” comes on board and has an interview with Dick Deadeye, the villain of the story, and Ralph Rackstraw, “the smartest lad in all the fleet,” who is in love with Josephine, Captain Corcoran’s daughter. The Captain comes on deck in a melancholy mood because Josephine has shown herself indifferent to Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., who is to ask for her hand that afternoon. She confesses to her father that she loves a common sailor, but will carry her love to the [190] grave without letting him know of it. Sir Joseph comes on board with a long retinue of sisters, cousins, and aunts, who chant his praises. After attending to some minor details, he has a fruitless interview with the Captain and Josephine. She declares she cannot love him. Shortly afterwards she meets Ralph, who declares his love for her, but she haughtily rejects him. When he draws his pistol and declares he will shoot himself, she acknowledges her love, and they plan to steal ashore at night and be married. Dick Deadeye overhears the plot and threatens to thwart it.

The second act opens at night. Captain Corcoran is discovered sadly complaining to the moon, and wondering why everything is at “sixes and sevens.” Little Buttercup sympathizes with him, and is about to become affectionate, when he informs her he can only be her friend. She grows enraged, and warns him there is a change in store for him. Sir Joseph enters, and informs the Captain he is much disappointed at the way Josephine has acted. The Captain replies that she is probably dazzled by his rank, and that if he will reason with her and convince her that “love levels all ranks,” everything will be right. Sir Joseph does so, but only pleads his rival’s cause. She tells him she has hesitated, but now she hesitates no longer. Sir Joseph and the Captain are rejoicing over her apparent change of heart, when Dick Deadeye reveals the plot to elope that night. The Captain confronts them as they are stealthily [191] leaving the vessel, and insists upon knowing what Josephine is about to do. Ralph steps forward and declares his love, whereupon the Captain grows furious and lets slip an oath. He is overheard by Sir Joseph, who orders him to his cabin “with celerity.” He then inquires of Ralph what he has done to make the Captain profane. He replies it was his acknowledgment of love for Josephine, whereupon, in a towering rage, Sir Joseph orders his imprisonment in the ship’s dungeon. He then remonstrates with Josephine, whereupon Little Buttercup reveals her secret. Years before, when she was practising baby-farming, she nursed two babies, one of “low condition,” the other “a regular patrician,” and she “mixed those children up and not a creature knew it.” “The well-born babe was Ralph, your Captain was the other.” Sir Joseph orders the two before him, gives Ralph the command of “H. M. S. Pinafore,” and Corcoran Ralph’s place. As his marriage with Josephine is now impossible, he gives her to Ralph, and Captain Corcoran, now a common seaman, unites his fortunes with those of Little Buttercup.

It is one of the principal charms of this delightful work that it is entirely free from coarseness and vulgarity. The wit is always delicate, though the satire is keen. Words and music rarely go so well together as in this opera. As a prominent English critic said of “Trial by Jury,” “it seems, as in the great Wagnerian operas, as though poem and music had proceeded simultaneously from one [192] and the same brain.” The chorus plays a very important part in it, and in the most solemnly ludicrous manner repeats the assertions of the principals in the third person. All its numbers might be styled the leading ones, but those which have become most popular are the song, “I’m called Little Buttercup”; Josephine’s sentimental song, “Sorry her Lot who loves too well,” one of the few serious numbers in the opera; Sir Joseph Porter’s song, “I am the Monarch of the Sea,” with its irresistible choral refrain, “And so are his Sisters and his Cousins and his Aunts, his Sisters and his Cousins, whom he reckons by the Dozens,” leading up to the satirical song, “When I was a Lad, I served a Term”; the stirring trio, “A British Tar is a Soaring Soul”; Captain Corcoran’s sentimental ditty, “Fair Moon, to thee I sing”; Josephine’s scena, “The Hours creep on apace,” with its mock heroic recitative; Dick Deadeye’s delightful song, “The Merry Maiden and the Tar”; the pretty octette and chorus, “Farewell, my own”; Little Buttercup’s legend, “A many Years ago, when I was young and charming”; and the choral finale, “Then give three Cheers and one Cheer more.”


The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty.

[Comic opera, in two acts; text by Gilbert. First produced in England at the Opéra Comique, April 3, 1880.]


Maj.-Gen. Stanley.
Pirate King.
Samuel, his lieutenant.
Frederic, the pirate apprentice.
Sergeant of Police.
} Gen. Stanley’s daughters.
Ruth, a pirate maid of all work.

[Pirates, police, etc.]

The scene is laid on the coast of Cornwall; time, the present.

“The Pirates of Penzance” has a local interest from the fact that it was first produced in New York on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1879, under the immediate supervision of both Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Gilbert. When the composer left England he had only finished the second act, and that was without orchestration. After his arrival here he wrote the first act and scored the entire opera. By this performance the profits of the representations in this country were secured. The work was not published until after their return to England.

At the opening of the opera it is disclosed that Frederic, when a boy, in pursuance of his father’s [194] orders, was to have been apprenticed to a pilot until his twenty-first year, but by the mistake of his nurse-maid, Ruth, he was bound out to one of the pirates of Penzance, who were celebrated for their gentleness and never molested orphans because they were orphans themselves. In the first scene the pirates are making merry, as Frederic has reached his majority and is about to leave them and seek some other occupation. Upon the eve of departure Ruth requests him to marry her, and he consents, as he has never seen any other woman, but shortly afterwards he encounters the daughters of General Stanley, falls in love with Mabel, the youngest, and denounces Ruth as a deceiver. The pirates encounter the girls about the same time, and propose to marry them, but when the General arrives and announces that he is an orphan, they relent and allow the girls to go.

The second act opens in the General’s ancient baronial hall, and reveals him surrounded by his daughters, lamenting that he has deceived the pirates by calling himself an orphan. Frederic appears, and bids Mabel farewell, as he is about to lead an expedition for the extermination of the pirates. While he is alone, the Pirate King and Ruth visit him and show him the papers which bound him to them. It is stated in them that he is bound “until his twenty-first birthday,” but as his birthday is the 29th of February, he has had but five. Led by his strong sense of duty, he [195] decides that he will go back to his old associates. Then he tells them of the General’s orphan story, which so enrages them that they swear vengeance. They come by night to carry off the General, but are overpowered by the police and sent to prison, where they confess they are English noblemen. Upon promising to give up their piratical career, they are pardoned, and this releases Frederic.

The principal numbers in the first act are Ruth’s song, “When Frederic was a Little Lad”; the Pirate King’s song, “Oh! better far to live and die”; Frederic’s sentimental song, “Oh! is there not one Maiden Breast”; Mabel’s reply, “Poor Wandering One”; and the descriptive song of the General, “I am the very Pattern of a Modern Major-General,” which reminds one of Sir Joseph’s song, “When I was a Lad I served a Term,” in “Pinafore,” and Wells’ song, “Oh! my Name is John Wellington Wells,” in “The Sorcerer.” The second act opens with a chorus of the daughters and solo by Mabel, “Dear Father, why leave your Bed.” The remaining most popular numbers are the Tarantara of the Sergeant; the Pirate King’s humorous chant, “For some Ridiculous Reason”; Mabel’s ballad, “Oh, leave me not to pine,” and the Sergeant’s irresistible song, “When a Fellow’s not engaged in his Employment,” which has become familiar as a household word by frequent quotation.


Patience; or, Bunthorne’s Bride.

[Comic opera, in two acts; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Opéra Comique, London, April 23, 1881.]


Col. Calverley,
Major Murgatroyd,
Lieutenant the Duke of Dunstable,
} officers of Dragoon Guards.
Reginald Bunthorne, a fleshly poet.
Archibald Grosvenor, an idyllic poet.
Mr. Bunthorne’s Solicitor.
Lady Angela,
Lady Saphir,
Lady Ella,
Lady Jane,
} rapturous maidens.
Patience, a dairy-maid.

[Guards, æsthetic maidens.]

The scene is laid at Castle Bunthorne; time, the last century.

The opera of “Patience” is a pungent satire upon the fleshly school of poetry as represented by Oscar Wilde and his imitators, as well as upon the fad for æsthetic culture which raged so violently a quarter of a century ago. Bunthorne, in one of his soliloquies, aptly expresses the hollowness of the sham,—

“I am not fond of uttering platitudes

In stained-glass attitudes;

In short, my mediævalism’s affectation

Born of a morbid love of admiration.”

In these four lines Gilbert pricked the æsthetic bubble, and nothing did so much to end the fad of [197] lank, languorous maidens, and long haired, sunflowered male æsthetes, as Gilbert’s well-directed shafts of ridicule in this opera.

The story of the opera tells of the struggle for supremacy over female hearts between an æsthetic (Bunthorne) and an idyllic poet (Grosvenor). In the opening scene lovesick maidens in clinging gowns, playing mandolins, sing plaintively of their love for Bunthorne. Patience, a healthy milkmaid, comes upon the scene, and makes fun of them, and asks them why they sit and sob and sigh. She announces to them that the Dragoon Guards will soon arrive, but although they doted upon Dragoons the year before they spurn them now and go to the door of Bunthorne to carol to him. The Guards duly arrive, and are hardly settled down when Bunthorne passes by in the act of composing a poem, followed by the twenty lovesick maidens. After finishing his poem he reads it to them, and they go off together, without paying any attention to the Dragoons, who declare they have been insulted and leave in a rage. Bunthorne, when alone, confesses to himself he is a sham, and at the close of his confession Patience comes in. He at once makes love to her, but only frightens her. She then confers with Lady Angela, who explains love to her, and tells her it is her duty to love some one. Patience declares she will not go to bed until she has fallen in love with some one, when Grosvenor, the idyllic poet and “apostle of simplicity,” enters. He and Patience had been [198] playmates in early childhood, and she promptly falls in love with him, though he is indifferent. In the closing scene Bunthorne, twined with garlands, is led in by the maidens, and puts himself up as a prize in a lottery; but the drawing is interrupted by Patience, who snatches away the papers and offers herself as a bride to Bunthorne, who promptly accepts her. The maidens then make advances to the Dragoons, but when Grosvenor appears they all declare their love for him. Bunthorne recognizes him as a dangerous rival, and threatens “he shall meet a hideous doom.”

The opening of the second act reveals Jane, an antique charmer, sitting by a sheet of water mourning because the fickle maidens have deserted Bunthorne, and because he has taken up with “a puling milkmaid,” while she alone is faithful to him. In the next scene Grosvenor enters with the maidens, of whom he is tired. They soon leave him in low spirits, when Patience appears and tells him she loves him, but can never be his, for it is her duty to love Bunthorne. The latter next appears, followed by the antique Jane, who clings to him in spite of his efforts to get rid of her. He accuses Patience of loving Grosvenor, and goes off with Jane in a wildly jealous mood. In the next scene the Dragoons, to win favor with the maidens, transform themselves into a group of æsthetes. Bunthorne and Grosvenor finally meet, and Bunthorne taxes his rival with monopolizing the attentions of the young ladies. Grosvenor [199] replies that he cannot help it, but would be glad of any suggestion that would lead to his being less attractive. Bunthorne tells him he must change his conversation, cut his hair, and have a back parting, and wear a commonplace costume. Grosvenor at first protests, but yields when threatened with Bunthorne’s curse. In the finale, when it is discovered that Grosvenor has become a commonplace young man, the maidens decide that if “Archibald the All-Right” has discarded æstheticism, it is right for them to do so. Patience takes the same view of the case, and leaves Bunthorne for Grosvenor. The maidens find suitors among the Dragoons, and even the antique Jane takes up with the Duke, and Bunthorne is left alone with his lily, nobody’s bride.

The most popular musical numbers in the opera are the Colonel’s song, “If you want a Receipt for that Popular Mystery”; Bunthorne’s “wild, weird, fleshly” song, “What Time the Poet hath hymned,” also his song, “If you’re anxious for to shine”; the romantic duet of Patience and Grosvenor, “Prithee, Pretty Maiden”; the sextette, “I hear the Soft Note of the Echoing Voice”; Jane’s song, “Silvered is the Raven Hair”; Patience’s ballad, “Love is a Plaintive Song”; Grosvenor’s fable of the magnet and the churn; the rollicking duet of Bunthorne and Grosvenor, “When I go out of Door,” and the “prettily pattering, cheerily chattering” chorus in the finale of the last act.


Iolanthe; or, The Peer and the Peri.

[Comic opera, in two acts; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Savoy Theatre, London, November 25, 1882.]


Lord Chancellor.
Earl of Mountararat.
Earl Tollaller.
Private Willis, of the Grenadier Guards.
Strephon, an Arcadian shepherd.
Iolanthe, a fairy, Strephon’s mother.
Queen of the fairies.
} fairies.
Phyllis, an Arcadian shepherdess and ward in Chancery.

[Dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, barons, and fairies]

The scene is laid in Arcady and at Westminster; time, between 1700 and 1882.

The first act of “Iolanthe” opens in Arcady. Iolanthe, a fairy, having offended her Queen by marrying a mortal, has been banished for life; but in the opening scene, after twenty years of exile, she is pardoned. She tells the Queen of her marriage, and her son Strephon, half a fairy and half a shepherd, who is engaged to Phyllis, a shepherdess, and ward in Chancery. At this point Strephon enters, and informs his mother that the Lord Chancellor will not permit him to marry Phyllis, but he will do so in spite of him. He curses his fairyhood, but the Queen says she has [201] a borough at her disposal, and will return him to Parliament as a Liberal-Conservative. In the next scene Strephon meets Phyllis and pleads against delay in marriage, since the Lord Chancellor himself may marry her, and many of the lords are attentive to her. Meanwhile the lords meet to decide which one of them shall have Phyllis, the Lord Chancellor waiving his claim, as it might lay his decision open to misconstruction. Phyllis is summoned before them, but is deaf to all entreaties, and declares she is in love with Strephon, who has just entered. The peers march out in a dignified manner, while the Lord Chancellor separates Phyllis and Strephon and orders her away. He then refuses Strephon his suit, whereupon the latter invokes the aid of his fairy mother, who promises to lay the case before her Queen. In the finale the peers are seen leading Phyllis, who overhears something said by Strephon and Iolanthe which induces her to believe he is faithless, and she denounces him. He replies that Iolanthe is his mother, but cannot convince her. She charges him with deceit, and offers her hand to any one of the peers. He then appeals to the Queen, who threatens vengeance upon the peers and declares that Strephon shall go into Parliament. The peers beg her for mercy, and Phyllis implores Strephon to relent, but he casts her from him.

The second act opens at Westminster. Strephon is in Parliament and carrying things with a high hand. Phyllis is engaged to two of the lords [202] and cannot decide between them, nor can they settle the matter satisfactorily. Whereupon the Lord Chancellor decides to press his own suit for her hand. Strephon finally proves his birth to Phyllis and explains away all her fears. Iolanthe then acknowledges that the Lord Chancellor is her husband and pleads with him in Strephon’s behalf. When she makes this confession, she is condemned to death for breaking her fairy vow. Thereupon all the fairies confess that they have married peers. As it is impracticable to kill them all, the Queen hunts up a husband, and finds one in Private Willis, the sentry in the palace yard. All the husbands join the fairies, and thus matters are straightened out.

The music of “Iolanthe” is peculiarly refined and fanciful, and abounds in taking numbers. The best of these are Strephon’s song, “Good Morrow”; the delightful duet between Strephon and Phyllis, “None shall part us from each other,” one of the most felicitous of the composer’s lighter compositions; the Lord Chancellor’s song, “When I went to the Bar”; Strephon’s charming ballad, “In Babyhood upon her Lap I lay”; Private Willis’s song, “When all Night long a Chap remains”; the patter song of the Lord Chancellor, “When you’re lying awake with a Dismal Headache”; the duet of Strephon and Phyllis, “If we’re weak enough to tarry”; and Iolanthe’s pretty ballad, “He loves! if in the Bygone Years.”


Princess Ida; or, Castle Adamant.

[Comic opera, in three acts; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Savoy Theatre, London, January 5, 1884.]


King Hildebrand.
Hilarion, his son.
} Hilarion’s friends.
King Gama.
} Gama’s sons.
Princess Ida, Gama’s daughter.
Lady Blanche, Professor of Abstract Science.
Lady Psyche, Professor of Humanities.
Melissa, Lady Blanche’s daughter.
} girl graduates.

[Soldiers, courtiers, girl graduates, “daughters of the plough,” etc.]

The scene is laid at King Hildebrand’s palace and Castle Adamant; time, the present.

“Princess Ida” is the least effective of the Sullivan operas. Its libretto is also the least effective of the Gilbert stories set to the former’s music. At the time it was written the composer was depressed by a severe family affliction, and at the same time had met the misfortune of losing all his savings through the failure of those to whom he had intrusted them. It may have been also that [204] the labored and heavy style of the story had something to do with the dry and somewhat forced style of the music, as well as its lack of the brightness and fancy which are so apparent in “Pinafore” and “Patience.”

The first act opens at King Hildebrand’s palace, where the courtiers are watching for the arrival of King Gama and his daughter, the Princess Ida, who has been promised in marriage to Hilarion, Hildebrand’s son. When Gama finally comes, Ida is not with him, and he explains to the enraged Hildebrand that she is at Castle Adamant, one of his country houses, where she is president of a woman’s university. Gama and his three sons, Avac, Guron, and Scynthius, are seized and held as hostages for her appearance, and in the mean time Hilarion, and his two friends, Cyril and Florian, determine to go to Castle Adamant and see if they cannot make some impression upon the Princess.

The second act opens at Castle Adamant, and discloses the pupils of the university in discourse with Lady Psyche, the Professor of Humanities, and Lady Blanche, Professor of Abstract Science, who is ambitious to get control of the institution. Hilarion and his two friends scale the wall and get into the grounds, and finding some academic robes they disguise themselves as girls. They first meet the Princess and explain to her that they wish to enter the university, to which she gives her consent upon their subscription to the rules. They sign with enthusiasm, especially [205] when they discover that there is one which requires them to give the fulness of their love to the hundred maidens of the university. Shortly afterwards they encounter Lady Psyche, who recognizes Florian as her brother. They tell their secret to her. Melissa, the daughter of Lady Blanche, overhears them, and is in raptures at her first sight of men. She discloses to her mother what she has discovered, but urges her not to speak of it, for if Hilarion is successful in his suit she (the Lady Blanche) may succeed to the presidency. At the luncheon, however, the Princess discovers she is entertaining three men and flees from the spot. In crossing a bridge she falls into the river, but is rescued by Hilarion. Her anger is not appeased by his gallantry, and she orders the arrest of the three. As they are marched off, there is a tumult outside. Hildebrand, with an armed force and with his four hostages, has arrived, and gives the Princess until the morrow afternoon to release Hilarion and become his bride.

The last act opens with the preparations of the Princess and her pupils to defend themselves, but one after the other their courage deserts them. Gama proposes that his three sons shall be pitted against Hilarion and his two friends, and if the latter are defeated the Princess shall be free. In the contest Gama’s sons are defeated, whereupon the Princess at once resigns and accepts Hilarion. The Lady Psyche falls to Cyril, and the delighted [206] Melissa to Florian, and it is to be presumed the presidency of the Woman’s College falls to Lady Blanche.

As has already been intimated, the music as a whole is labored, but there are some numbers that are fully up to the Sullivan standard; among them Hilarion’s ballad, “Ida was a twelvemonth old”; Gama’s characteristic song, “If you give me your Attention,” and the trio of Gama’s sons, “For a Month to dwell,” in the first act: the Princess’s long aria, “At this my Call”; Lady Blanche’s song, “Come, Mighty Must”; Lady Psyche’s sarcastic evolution song, “A Lady Fair of Lineage High”; Cyril’s song, “Would you know the Kind of Maid”; and Hilarion’s song, “Whom thou hast chained must wear his Chain,” in the second act: and the Princess’s song, “I built upon a Rock”; Gama’s song, “Whene’er I spoke Sarcastic Joke”; the soldiers’ chorus, “When Anger spreads his Wing”; and the finale, “With Joy abiding,” in the third act.

The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu.

[Comic opera, in two acts; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Savoy Theatre, London, March 14, 1885.]


Mikado of Japan.
Nanki-Poo, his son, disguised as a minstrel, in love with Yum-Yum.
Ko-Ko, Lord High Executioner of Titipu.
Pooh-Bah, Lord High Everything Else.
Pish-Tush, a noble lord.
} three sisters, wards of Ko-Ko.
Katisha, an elderly lady, in love with Nanki-Poo.

[School girls, nobles, guards, and coolies.]

The scene is laid in Japan; time, the present.


That the “Princess Ida,” ineffective as it is in some respects, did not indicate that the resources of Gilbert and Sullivan were exhausted, is shown by the great success of both in “The Mikado,” which immediately followed it. This charming travesty of Japan, with the exception perhaps of “Pinafore,” has proved to be the most popular of the Sullivan operas, and has even made an impression in Germany. It has been an equal success for both the musician and the librettist, and still retains its freshness and vivacity after seventeen years of performance.

The story of “The Mikado” is so well known that it need not be given with much fulness of detail. Nanki-Poo, the Mikado’s son, is in love with Yum-Yum, the ward of the tailor Ko-Ko, who is also Lord High Executioner, and to whom she is betrothed, as Nanki-Poo is informed by Pooh-Bah, when he comes to Titipu in quest of her. Pooh-Bah, who accepted all the offices of the Ministers of State after their resignations when Ko-Ko was made Lord High Executioner, is also “the retailer of state secrets at a low figure,” and [208] furnishes much of the delightful comedy of the opera. Nanki-Poo nevertheless manages to secure an interview with Yum-Yum, confesses to her he is the Mikado’s son, and that he is in disguise to escape punishment for not marrying the elderly Katisha. Ko-Ko’s matrimonial arrangements are interfered with by a message from the Mikado, that unless some one is beheaded in Titipu within a month he will be degraded. Nanki-Poo consents to be beheaded if he is allowed to marry Yum-Yum and live with her for the month. This being satisfactory, the arrangements for the nuptials are made.

The second act opens with Yum-Yum’s preparations for her marriage. A tête-à-tête with Nanki-Poo is interrupted by Ko-Ko, who announces that by the law when a married man is beheaded his wife must be burned alive. This cools Yum-Yum’s passion, and to save her Nanki-Poo threatens to perform the Happy Despatch that day. As this would endanger Ko-Ko, he arranges to swear to a false statement of Nanki-Poo’s execution. Suddenly the Mikado arrives. Ko-Ko gives him the statement, but a great danger is imminent when the Mikado informs him he has killed the heir apparent and must suffer some horrible punishment. In the dénouement Nanki-Poo reappears, and Ko-Ko gets out of trouble by marrying the ancient Katisha, leaving Yum-Yum to Nanki-Poo.

The opera abounds in charming lyrics, though [209] with a single exception, a march chorus in the second act, “Miya sama, miya sama,” there is no local color to the music, as might have been expected in an opera entirely Japanese in its subject and dramatic treatment. Its lyrics are none the less delightful on that account. The most popular numbers in the first act are Ko-Ko’s song, with its choral response, “You may put ’em on the List and they never will be missed”; the fascinating trio for Yum-Yum, Peep-Bo, and Pitti-Sing, “Three Little Maids from School are we”; Nanki-Poo’s song, “A Wandering Minstrel”; and the trio for Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah, and Pish-Tush, “My Brain, it teems.” The leading numbers of the second act are Yum-Yum’s song, “The Sun, whose Rays”; the quartette, “Brightly dawns our Wedding-Day”; the Mikado’s song, “A more Humane Mikado never”; Ko-Ko’s romantic ballad, “On a Tree by a River a little Tomtit,” which is in the genuine old English manner, and the well-known duet for Nanki-Poo and Ko-Ko, “The Flowers that bloom in the Spring, tra la.”

Ruddygore; or, The Witch’s Curse.

[Comic opera, in two acts; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Savoy Theatre, London, January 22, 1887.]


Robin Oakapple, a young farmer.
Richard Dauntless, his foster brother and man-o’-war’s man.
Sir Despard Murgatroyd, the wicked Baronet.
Old Adam Goodheart, Robin’s faithful servant.
Rose Maybud, a village maiden.
Mad Margaret.
Dame Hannah, Rose’s aunt.
} professional bridesmaids.
Six Murgatroyd Ghosts.
Sir Roderic Murgatroyd, twenty-first Baronet.

[Officers, ancestors, and professional bridesmaids.]

The scene is laid in Cornwall; time, early in the last century.


Although “Ruddygore,” a satire upon the old English melodramas, has not been as successful as some of the other Sullivan operas, it is as entertaining as any in the series, while the story, with its grotesque dramatic features, is peculiarly Gilbertian in its humor. The first act opens in Cornwall. Sir Rupert Murgatroyd, the first of the baronets, employed his leisure in persecuting witches and committing other crimes. The chorus of “the legend,” sung by Hannah, an old spinster, prophesies that each Murgatroyd will die “with sinning cloyed.” To avoid this fate, the last inheritor of the title, Sir Ruthven, secludes himself under the name of Robin Oakapple, in the Cornish village of Rederring, and his younger brother, Despard, believing him to be dead, succeeds to the title. Robin, who is shy and modest, is in love with Rose, a foundling, who is very discreet. The love-making lags, and meanwhile Richard, his foster brother, a man-o’-war’s man, returns from sea, and so commiserates Robin that [211] he offers to plead his case with Rose. Instead of that he pleads his own case, and is accepted by her, much to the disappointment of Robin, who supports Richard’s claim, however. Robin’s younger brother, Sir Despard, next appears, and hears from Richard of the existence of the brother whom he had thought dead. He thereupon claims Robin as his elder brother, and Rose shows her preference for Sir Despard, who is also claimed by Mad Margaret, a village maiden, whom he had mistreated when he was under the influence of the Murgatroyd curse.

The second act opens in the picture gallery of Ruddygore Castle. Robin and Adam, his faithful servant, are in the gallery, the former as Sir Ruthven, and Adam as Gideon Crawle, a new name he has taken. The new Sir Ruthven is under the curse, and asks his servant to suggest some daily crime for him to commit. The strong scene of the act is the coming to life of the various baronets whose portraits hang upon the walls, and their announcement that Robin will die in fearful agony unless he abducts some lady, it matters not whom. In the dénouement it is revealed that a Ruddygore baron can only die through refusing to commit the daily crime, but that such a refusal is tantamount to suicide. Hence none of the ancestors ought to have died at all, and they come back to life greatly to the delight of the professional bridesmaids, and Rose and Robin are at last united.


The principal numbers in the first act are the weird legend, “Sir Rupert Murgatroyd, his Leisure and his Riches,” sung by Hannah; Richard’s breezy sea song, “I shipped, d’ ye see, in a Revenue Sloop”; the very tuneful chorus of the bridesmaids, “Hail the Bridegroom, hail the Bride”; Mad Margaret’s whimsical song, “Cheerily carols the Lark”; the melodious chorus of the bucks and blades, “When thoroughly tired of being admired”; Sir Despard’s song, with its alternating choral refrains, “Oh, why am I moody and sad”; the madrigal, “Where the Buds are blossoming,” written in the early English style, and supported by the chorus; and the charming gavotte leading to the finale, which contains some admirable duet and trio numbers. The leading numbers of the second act are the opening duet for Robin and Adam, “I once was as meek as a New-born Lamb,” with a most melodramatic “Ha ha,” followed by another charming duet for Richard and Rose, with choral refrain, “Happily coupled are we”; the weird song of Sir Roderic, “When the Night Wind howls in the Chimney Cowls,” which is finely artistic in construction; the patter trio for Robin, Despard, and Margaret, “My Eyes are fully open to my Awful Situation”; Hannah’s pretty ballad, “There grew a Little Flower”; and the brilliant finale, beginning with Robin’s number, “Having been a Wicked Baronet a Week.”


The Yeoman of the Guard; or, The Merry Man and his Maid.

[Comic opera, in two acts; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Savoy Theatre, October 3, 1888.]


Sir Richard Cholmondeley, lieutenant of the Tower.
Col. Fairfax, under sentence of death.
Sergt. Meryll, of the Yeomen of the Guard.
Leonard Meryll, his son.
Jack Point, a strolling jester.
Wilfred Shadbolt, head jailer of the Tower.
Elsie Maynard, a strolling singer.
Phœbe Meryll, Sergt. Meryll’s daughter.
Dame Carruthers, housekeeper to the Tower.
Kate, her niece.

[Yeomen of the guard, gentlemen, citizens, etc.]

The scene is laid at Tower Green, London; time, the sixteenth century.

Although “The Yeomen of the Guard” has not enjoyed the popularity of some others of Sullivan’s works, the composer himself believed it to be the best of his operas. The music is in some numbers a parody of the old English; the story is melodramatic. Colonel Fairfax has been sentenced to death for sorcery. As he has twice saved the life of Sergeant Meryll in battle, the latter and his daughter, Phœbe, are anxious to save him also. The chance comes when the brother of Phœbe, who has been appointed a [214] yeoman of the Guard, is induced to let Fairfax take his place in the ranks. The latter is brought in to the lieutenant of the Tower and declares his readiness to die, but asks, as he has been condemned for sorcery through the machinations of one of his kinsmen who will succeed to the estate in case he dies unmarried, that he will find him some one whom he can marry at once. Elsie Maynard, a strolling singer, happens along with Jack Point, a jester, and she agrees for a money consideration to be married blindfolded to Fairfax, provided she can leave immediately after the ceremony. She marries him, and then the question arises how to get the yeoman suit to Fairfax in his cell and let him escape, as the keys are in the possession of Wilfred, the head jailer, who is in love with Phœbe. The problem is solved by Phœbe, who steals the keys, releases Fairfax, and returns them before Wilfred discovers their absence. The executioner comes forward, and the first act closes as he is waiting for his victim.

The second act discloses the civilians and Dame Carruthers denouncing the warders for permitting their prisoner to escape. Point arranges with Wilfred that if he will discharge his arquebus and state that he has killed Fairfax he shall be a jester. When the shot is heard, Wilfred and Point notify the governor that Fairfax is dead. Dame Carruthers enters and informs Meryll that from what she has heard Elsie mutter [215] in her sleep she is sure Fairfax is the man she married. Fairfax, in order to test her, makes love to Elsie in Point’s interests, but ends by falling in love with her himself. In the dénouement, Leonard, son of Sergeant Meryll, arrives with a pardon which had been kept back by Fairfax’s kinsmen. Now that he is free, Fairfax claims Elsie, Phœbe consents to marry Wilfred, and the sergeant surrenders to Dame Carruthers.

The music is in humorous imitation of the antique, in which kind of work Sullivan is always happy. The choruses are interesting, especially the opening double one, “Tower Warders under Orders,” which is swinging and tuneful. The principal numbers in the first act are Dame Carruthers’ song with chorus, “When our Gallant Norman Foes”; Fairfax’s sentimental song, “Is Life a Boon”; the irresistibly funny chorus, both in music and words, “Here’s a Man of Jollity, jibe, joke, jollify; give us of your Quality, come, Fool, follify”; the extremely melodramatic duet for Elsie and Point, “I have a Song to sing”; Point’s recitative and song, “I’ve Jest and Joke”; Elsie’s pretty ballad, “’Tis done! I am a Bride”; Phœbe’s graceful song, “Were I thy Bride”; and the trio in the finale, “To thy Fraternal Care.” The leading numbers of the second act are Point’s rollicking song, “Oh! a Private Buffoon is a Light-hearted Loon”; Fairfax’s ballad, “Free from his Fetters Grim”; the quartette, “Strange Adventure! [216] Maiden wedded”; the trio, “If he’s made the Best Use of his Time,” and the quartette, “When a Wooer goes a-wooing,” which leads through a melodramatic ensemble to the finale,

“Heighdy! heighdy!

Misery me, lackadaydee!

He sipped no sup and he craved no crumb,

As he sighed for the love of a ladyee.”

The Gondoliers; or, The King of Barataria.

[Comic opera, in two acts; text by Gilbert. First produced at the Savoy Theatre, London, December 7, 1889.]


Duke of Plaza-Toro, a grandee of Spain.
Luiz, his attendant.
Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor.
Duchess of Plaza-Toro.
Casilda, her daughter.

[Gondoliers, contadine, men-at-arms, heralds, and pages.]

The scene is laid in Venice; time, the year 1750.

“The Gondoliers” will always bring a feeling of regret to the admirers of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, as it was their last joint production. It was during its run at the London theatre that their partnership was dissolved after the extraordinary collaboration of twenty-three years. Both were at their best in their Swan Song. “The Gondoliers” is not so much melodrama or pleasant satire as it is genuine comedy. Among all the [217] Gilbert books which he furnished the composer, none is more delightful or more full of his rollicking humor than this. The story opens in Venice. The contadine are weaving garlands for the two favorite gondoliers, Marco and Giuseppe, who, as they have no preference, make their choice blindfolded, and secure Tessa and Gianetta for their brides. As all gayly dance off, a gondola arrives with the Spanish Duke of Plaza-Toro, the Duchess, their daughter Casilda, and Luiz, their attendant. While waiting for an audience with the Grand Inquisitor, the Duke tells Casilda the object of their visit. When she was an infant she was married by proxy to the infant son of the King of Barataria. When the latter abandoned the creed of his fathers and became a Methodist, the Inquisitor had the young husband stolen and taken to Venice. Now that the King is dead, they have come to find the husband, and proclaim Casilda queen. During the audience the Inquisitor announces that the husband is a gondolier, and that the person who brought him up had “such a terrible taste for tippling” that he was never certain which child had been intrusted to him, his own or the other. The nurse, however, who is Luiz’s mother, would know, and he would induce her to tell in the torture chamber. Shortly afterwards the Inquisitor meets the newly wedded gondoliers, Marco and Giuseppe, and decides that one or the other of them is the new King, but as he cannot tell which, he arranges that both of them shall rule until the nurse can be [218] found and made to settle the matter. Thereupon they bid their wives good-by, and sail away for Barataria.

The second act discloses the two Kings upon the thrones. While they are cleaning the crown and sceptre, and their friends, the gondoliers, are playing cards, contadine arrive with Tessa and Gianetta. The delighted Kings give them a grand banquet and ball, but the dance is interrupted by the Inquisitor, who informs them that the ducal party will shortly arrive, and that Casilda will claim one of them for her husband. When Tessa and Gianetta realize that neither of them can be Queen, they begin to weep, but are somewhat comforted when the Inquisitor assures them they will not be kept long in suspense as the foster-mother is in the torture chamber. In the dénouement she confesses that the late King intrusted the Prince to her, and when traitors came to steal him she substituted her own son and kept the Prince in hiding, and that Luiz is the real Prince. Thereupon Luiz ascends the throne with Casilda as his queen, and Marco and Guiseppe sail joyfully back to Venice with Tessa and Gianetta.

The music is of Sullivan’s best. He has reproduced in the score the old Italian forms, employs the legitimate modern ballad and song styles, and introduces also the “patter” songs and the “chant” songs which are so common in his other operas. Besides this, he has given strong local color with fandangoes, boleros, cachucas, and [219] other dance rhythms. The best numbers are the ensemble for Marco and Giuseppe, “We’re called Gondolieri”; the pompous song of the Duke, “In Enterprise of Martial Kind”; the serious duet for Casilda and Luiz, “There was a Time”; the Inquisitor’s song, “I stab the Prince”; Tessa’s beautiful song, “When a Merry Maiden marries”; the frolicsome quartette, “Then one of us will be a Queen”; the song of Marco with chorus, “For every one who feels inclined”; the characteristic song of Giuseppe, “Rising early in the Morning”; the gay and fascinating ensemble, “We will dance a Cachuca,” with the brilliant dance music that follows it; the song of the Inquisitor, “There lived a King”; the ensemble, “In a Contemplative Fashion,” a quiet movement with alternating comments by chorus, reaching a crescendo and then returning to the original movement, one of the most effective numbers in the opera; the Duchess’ song, “On the Day when I was Wedded”; and the quintette in the finale, “I am a Courtier Grave and Serious.”




[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Zell and Genée. First produced in Vienna, January 5, 1876.]


Count Timofey Gavrilovich Kantschakoff, Russian General.
Princess Lydia Imanovna, his niece.
Izzet Pasha, governor of Rustchuk fortress.
Capt. Vasil Staravieff.
Lieut. Ossipp Safonoff.
Steipann, a sergeant.
Vladimir Samoiloff, lieutenant of cavalry.
Julian, special war correspondent.
Hassan Bey, leader of Bashi-Bazouks.
Mustapha, guardian of the harem.
Vuika, a Bulgarian.
Hanna, his wife.

[Soldiers, Bashi-Bazouks, Cossacks, slaves, moujiks, etc.]

The scene is laid at Rustchuk and near Odessa; time, the last century.

Franz Von Suppé has been styled the German Offenbach, though the styles of the two composers differ widely. His operas are more purely comic operas, or operettas, than burlesques. He made his first success with an operetta, “Das Mädchen vom Lande” (“The [221] Country Girl”), produced in Vienna in 1847, and his next work, a musical comedy called “Paragraph 3,” made him known all over Germany. His entire list of light operas, musical farces, and vaudevilles includes over one hundred and sixty titles, but of these only two or three are well known in this country. “Fatinitza” is the best known, and is universally popular.

The story is an interesting one. Vladimir Samoiloff, a young lieutenant in the Russian army, while masquerading in girl’s costume under the name of Fatinitza, encounters a Russian general, Count Timofey Kantschakoff, who falls desperately in love with him. He manages to escape from him, and subsequently meets the General’s niece, the Princess Lydia, whom he knows only as Lydia, and the two fall in love. Hearing of the attachment, the General transfers the young officer to the Russian outposts. The first act opens in camp at Rustchuk. Julian, a war correspondent, has just been brought in as a spy, but is recognized by Vladimir as an old friend. They plan private theatricals, in which Vladimir takes a female part. The General unexpectedly appears at the play, and recognizes Vladimir as his Fatinitza. When the opportunity presents itself, he resumes his love-making, but it is interrupted by the arrival of Lydia, whose noble rank Vladimir learns for the first time. Any danger of recognition, however, is averted by the correspondent, who tells Lydia that Fatinitza is Vladimir’s sister. The doting old [222] General commends Fatinitza to the Princess, and goes off to inspect his troops. In his absence some Bashi-Bazouks surprise the camp and capture Lydia, Vladimir, and Julian, leaving the latter behind to arrange a ransom.

The second act opens in the harem of Izzet Pasha, governor of the Turkish fortress. Vladimir, in his female attire, and Lydia are brought in as captives, and the Pasha announces to his four wives that Lydia will be the fifth. Julian then arrives with the Russian sergeant, Steipann, to arrange for the release of his friends. The Pasha offers to give up Fatinitza, but declares he will retain Lydia. Steipann returns to the General with the Pasha’s terms, carrying also a secret message from Julian, who has discovered how the Russians may capture the Turks. Julian remains with the Pasha, who gives him many entertainments, among them a shadow pantomime, during which the General and his soldiers rush in and rescue their friends.

The third act opens in the General’s summer palace at Odessa. He has promised his niece to an old and crippled friend of his, but Julian once more straightens out matters by convincing the General that the real Fatinitza has died of grief because she was separated from him. Thereupon he consents to his niece’s union with Fatinitza’s brother, Vladimir.

The principal numbers of the first act are Vladimir’s romance, in the sentimental vein, “Lost [223] is the Dream that bound me”; the reporter’s (Julian) jolly descriptive song, “With my Notebook in my Hand”; the pompously martial entrance song of General Kantschakoff, “Thunder! Lightning! who goes there?” which forcibly recalls General Boum’s “Pif, paf, pouf” song in Offenbach’s “Grand Duchess”; Lydia’s sleighing-song, “When the Snow a Veil is flinging”; and the quartette in the next scene, “Not a Look shall tell,” in the mock Italian style. The second act opens with the characteristic toilet chorus in the harem, “Washing, dressing, brushing, combing.” The remaining most striking numbers are Izzet’s song and dance, “I pine but for Progress”; the pretty duet for Vladimir and Lydia, “New Doubts, New Fears”; the effective sextette, “’Tis well; then learn that this young Russian”; the brilliant kismet duet for Izzet and Julian, “We are simply what Fortune pleases”; the sextette in the finale, “Silver Tinklings, ringing brightly,” known as the Bell Sextette; and the characteristic music to the Karagois, or Turkish shadow pantomime, which forms a second finale. The leading numbers of the last act are Lydia’s bell song, “Chime, ye Bells,” accompanied by the ringing of bells on the stage, and distant shots; the trio for Lydia, Vladimir, and Julian, “Again, Love, we meet,” which is one of the most effective bits in the opera; and the brilliant closing chorus, “Joy, Joy, Joy, to the Bride.”



[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Zell and Genée. First produced at the Carl Theatre, Vienna, February 1, 1879.]


Boccaccio, novelist and poet.
Leonetto, his friend and student.
Pietro, Prince of Palermo.
Lutteringhi, a cooper.
Lambertuccio, a grocer.
Scalza, a barber.
Fratelli, a bookseller.
Checco, a beggar.
Fresco, the cooper’s apprentice.
Fiametta, Lambertuccio’s adopted daughter.
Beatrice, Scalza’s daughter.
Isabella, Lutteringhi’s wife.
Peronella, Lambertuccio’s sister.

[Beggars, students, citizens, coopers, courtiers, etc.]

The scene is laid in Florence; time, near the close of the fourteenth century.

Suppé is fond of introducing real characters among the personages of his operas, and in this one, which has become such a favorite, sharing equally in popularity with “Fatinitza,” we find Boccaccio of the “Decameron,” and the Fiametta whom he has immortalized in it (the Princess Maria of Naples, with whom he fell violently in love) masquerading as the adopted daughter of Lambertuccio, the grocer. In the opera he is rewarded [225] with her hand in the finale. In reality, Maria, the Fiametta of the “Decameron,” was already the wife of another when Boccaccio was enamoured of her. She died long before her lover, but her memory was cherished by him, as in the case of Beatrice and Dante, and to her we owe undoubtedly the collection of tales in the “Decameron” which furnished such abundant material to subsequent poets, story-tellers, and dramatists.

The story of the opera is a simple one. Pietro, the Prince of Palermo, is to be married to Fiametta in accordance with the wishes of his father, and goes to Florence for that purpose. The Duke, her father, for reasons of his own, has had her reared as the adopted daughter of Lambertuccio, a grocer, who was not aware of her royal birth and intends that she shall marry Pietro, to whom she was betrothed in infancy. On his way to Florence Pietro falls in with a madcap lot of students, whose leader is Boccaccio, and he joins them in many of their pranks. Boccaccio himself has incurred the anger of the Florentine men for having ridiculed them in his stories, and he too is in love with Fiametta. Pietro among his other adventures has made love to a married woman whom the students induced him to believe was the niece instead of the wife of Lutteringhi, the cooper. He has the misfortune before presenting himself to the Duke and Fiametta to be mistaken for Boccaccio and to receive a sound beating. In the dénouement, when he is about [226] to be united to Fiametta for reasons of state, Boccaccio, knowing that he is loved by her, arranges a play in which the misdeeds of Pietro are set forth in such strong light that she refuses the latter and gives her hand to the poet.

The most popular numbers in the opera are the serenade to Beatrice, “Lovely Charmer, hear these Sounds”; Boccaccio’s song with chorus, “I see a Gay Young Fellow standing nigh”; the charming duet for Fiametta and Peronetta, “Listen to the Bells’ Sweet Chime”; Fiametta’s romanza, “If I have but Affection”; the duet for Boccaccio and Fiametta, “A Poor Blind Man implores your Aid”; Leonetto’s song, opening the second act, “The Girl of my Heart’s a Treasure”; the cooper’s rollicking song, “My Wife has a Scolding Tongue”; the coquette song by Isabella, “Young Maidens must beware”; the “cretin” song by Boccaccio, “When they ask me for the News”; the graceful waltz song by Fiametta, “Blissful Tidings, reassuring”; the rollicking drinking-song of Pietro, “See the Goblet flash and sparkle”; the duet for Boccaccio and Fiametta, “Mia bella fiorentina,” in the Italian style; and the sextette, “Ye Foolish Men,” which leads up to the finale of the last act.


The Beautiful Galatea.

[Opéra comique, in two acts; text by Zell and Genée. First produced in Vienna, 1865.]


Galatea, the statue.
Ganymede, Greek boy.
Pygmalion, sculptor.
Midas, art patron.

[Chorus of Grecians.]

The scene is laid in Greece; time, mythological.

The opera of “Die Schöne Galatea” (“The Beautiful Galatea”), though of slight construction, is one of Suppé’s most melodious works, while the story is a clever setting of the familiar mythological romance in a somewhat modern frame, in which respect it resembles the stories of Helen of Troy and Orpheus and Eurydice, which Offenbach so cleverly travestied. The first act opens with a graceful chorus of Grecians on their way to worship at the temple of Venus, at dawn (“Aurora is awaking in Heaven above”). Ganymede, Pygmalion’s servant, declines to go with them, preferring to sleep, and bids them good-by with a lullaby (“With Violets, with Roses, let the Temple be decked”). His master, Pygmalion, who has finished a statue of Galatea, his ideal, also goes to the temple, and Ganymede decides to take a nap. His slumbers are interrupted, however, by Midas, a professional [228] art patron, who has heard of the statue and informs Ganymede that he is ready to buy it, but first wishes to see it. The servant declares it is impossible, as his master is in love with it. Midas makes a further appeal to him in a long descriptive arietta (“My Dear Father Gordias”) in which he boasts of his abilities, his patronage, and his conquests. He finally bribes Ganymede to show it to him, and as he stands gazing at it and praising its loveliness, Pygmalion, who has suddenly returned, enters and upbraids them. After a spirited trio, “Boiling Rage I feel within me,” Ganymede takes to his heels and Midas is driven out. When Pygmalion is alone with the statue, a sudden impulse moves him to destroy it because it has been polluted by Midas’s glances, but his hand is stayed as he hears the chorus of the returning worshippers, and he makes an impassioned appeal to Venus (“Venus, oh, see, I fly to thee”) to give life to the marble. Venus answers his prayer. The statue comes to life, and Galatea falls in love with Pygmalion, the first man she has seen, which gives an opportunity for a charming number, the Awakening Duet (“I feel so warm, so sweet”), and for a solo closing the act (“Lightly sways and gently sweeps”).

The second act opens with the couplets of Ganymede (“We Grecians”), at the close of which he espies Galatea gathering flowers. As soon as the fickle Galatea sees Ganymede, she falls in love with him because he is younger and handsomer [229] than Pygmalion. As they are discoursing admiringly, Midas appears and recognizes Galatea, and proceeds to woo her with offers of jewels. A pretty trio follows, “See the Trinkets I have brought you.” She accepts his trinkets and his money, but declines to accept him. As they are negotiating, Pygmalion returns. Ganymede once more takes to his heels, and Galatea conceals Midas by putting him on the pedestal behind the screen where she had stood. She then hides her jewels, and tells Pygmalion she is hungry. Ganymede is summoned and arranges the table, and they sit down, the servant with them at Galatea’s request. She sings a brilliant drinking-song (“Bright in Glass the Foaming Fluid pass”), in which Pygmalion and Ganymede join. During the banquet Midas is discovered behind the screen, and Pygmalion also learns of Galatea’s fickle conduct later, when he surprises her and Ganymede in a pretty love scene (“Ah, I’m drawn to Thee”). By this time Pygmalion is so enraged that he prays Venus to let her become a statue again. The goddess graciously consents, and the sculptor promptly gets rid of Galatea by selling her to Midas.




[Opéra comique, in three acts; text by Barbier and Carré. First produced at the Opéra Comique, Paris, November 17, 1866.]


Wilhelm Meister, a student.
Laertes, an actor.
Frederic, an admirer of Filina.
Lotario, Mignon’s father in disguise of a harper.
Filina, an actress.

[Actors, gypsies, etc.]

The scene is laid in Germany and Italy; time, the last century.

The story of “Mignon,” Thomas’s universally popular opera, is based upon Goethe’s “Wilhelm Meister.” Mignon, the heroine, who is of noble birth, was stolen in her childhood by gypsies. Her mother died shortly afterwards, and her father, disguised as Lotario, the harper, has long and vainly sought for her. At the opening of the opera, a strolling band of actors, among them Filina and Laertes, arrive at a German inn on their way to the castle of a neighboring prince, where they are to perform. At the same time a gypsy band appears and arranges to give the guests an entertainment. Mignon, who is with the band, is ordered to dance, but being tired, she [231] refuses. The leader of the band rushes at her, but Lotario, the old harper, intercedes in her behalf, whereupon he is singled out for assault, but is saved by the wandering student, Wilhelm Meister. To spare her any further persecution, he engages her as his page, and they follow on in the suite of Filina, to whom he is devoted. Touched by his kindness to her, Mignon falls in love with him; but he, ignorant of her passion, becomes more and more a victim to the actress’s fascinations. When they arrive at the castle, all enter except Mignon, who is left outside. Maddened by jealousy, she is about to drown herself, but is restrained by the notes of Lotario’s harp. She rushes to him for counsel, and invokes vengeance upon all in the castle. After the entertainment the guests come out, and Filina sends Mignon in for some flowers she has left. Suddenly flames appear in the window. Lotario has fired the castle. Wilhelm rushes in and brings out the insensible Mignon in his arms. In the dénouement Wilhelm discovers her attachment to him, and frees himself from Filina’s fascinations. A casket containing a girdle Mignon had worn in childhood, a prayer which she repeats, and the picture of her mother convince Lotario that she is his daughter, and Wilhelm and Mignon are united.

The leading numbers of the first act are the quintette immediately following the rescue of Mignon by Wilhelm; the romanza, “Non conosci il bel suol” (“Know’st thou the Land”), a song [232] full of tender beauty and rare expression; the duet which immediately follows it, “Leggiadre rondinelli” (“Oh, Swallows Blithe”), known as the Swallow Duet, and of almost equal beauty with the romanza: and the graceful aria, “Grazia al gentil signore” (“You’ll come with us”), in which Filina invites Wilhelm to join them. The best numbers in the second act are the trio, “Ohimè quell’ acre riso” (“Alas! her Bitter Laugh”); Filina’s gay, coquettish aria, “Gai complimenti” (“Brilliant Compliments”); Mignon’s exquisite and characteristic song, “Conosco un zingarello” (“A Gypsy Lad I well do know”), which the composer himself calls the “Styrienne”; a bewitching rondo-gavotte, “Ci sono” (“I’m here at last”), sung by the love-lorn Frederic; Wilhelm’s pathetic farewell to Mignon, “Addio, Mignon! fa core” (“Farewell, Mignon, take Heart”); the beautiful duet for Mignon and Lotario, “Sofferto hai tu” (“Hast thou e’er suffered”); and the polacca in the fourth scene, which is a perfect feu de joie of sparkling music, closing with an extremely brilliant cadenza. The last act is more dramatic than musical, though it contains a few delightful numbers. Among them are the chorus barcarole in the first scene, “Orsù, scioglian le vele” (“Quick, the Sails unfurl”); a song by Wilhelm, “Ah, non credea” (“Ah, little Thought”), and the love duet, “Ah, son felice” (“Ah, I am happy”), in which is heard again the cadenza of Filina’s polacca.




[Romantic opera, in three acts; text by Fitzball. First produced at Drury Lane Theatre, London, November 15, 1845.]


Charles the Second, King of Spain.
Don Jose de Santarem, his minister.
Don Cæsar de Bazan.
Marquis de Montefiori.
Maritana, a gitana.
Marchioness de Montefiori.

[Nobles, alquazils, soldiers, gypsies, populace, etc.]

The scene is laid in Madrid; time of Charles the Second.

The story of “Maritana” is founded upon the well-known play of “Don Cæsar de Bazan.” At the opening of the first act a band of gypsies, Maritana among them, are singing to the people. The young King Charles listening to her is fascinated by her beauty. Don José, for reasons of his own, extols her charms and arouses her hopes for a brilliant future. At this point Don Cæsar de Bazan, a reckless, rollicking cavalier, once a friend of Don José, makes his appearance. He has parted with the last of his money to gamblers, and while he is relating his misfortunes to Don [234] José, Lazarillo, a forlorn lad who has just tried to make away with himself, accosts Don Cæsar and tells him a piteous tale. The Don befriends, and thereby becomes involved in a duel. This leads to his arrest for duelling in Holy Week, which is forbidden on pain of death. While Don Cæsar sets off for the prison, Don José promises Maritana speedy marriage and presentation at court.

The second act opens in the prison. Don José enters, and professes great sympathy for Don Cæsar. When asked if he has any last request, he begs to die like a soldier. Don José agrees that he shall not die an ignominious death if he will marry. He consents, and is also treated to a banquet, during which Lazarillo delivers a paper to Don José containing the royal pardon of Don Cæsar, but Don José conceals it. Maritana, her features disguised by a veil, is married to the Don, but at the expiration of an hour he is led out to meet his fate. The soldiers fire at him, but he escapes, as Lazarillo has managed to abstract the bullets from their guns. He feigns death, and when the opportunity presents itself hurries to a ball at the Montefiori palace, and arrives just as the Marquis, who has had his instructions from Don José, is introducing Maritana as his niece. Don Cæsar demands his bride, but Don José arranges with the Marquis to present him with the Marchioness closely veiled. The scheme does not work, as Don Cæsar hears Maritana’s voice and claims her, but she is quickly spirited away.


The last act finds Maritana in a royal apartment. Don José carries out his plot by introducing the King to her as her husband. At this juncture Don Cæsar rushes in. The King in a rage demands to know his errand. He replies that he is seeking the Countess de Bazan, and with equal rage demands to know who he (the King) is. When the King in confusion answers that he is Don Cæsar, the latter promptly replies, “Then I am the King of Spain.” Before further explanations can be made, the King is summoned by the Queen. Don Cæsar and Maritana consult together, and he decides to appeal to the Queen. While waiting for her in the palace garden, he overhears Don José telling her that the King is to meet his mistress that night. Don Cæsar denounces him as a traitor, and slays him. The King, when he hears of Don Cæsar’s loyalty, consigns Maritana to him, and appoints him Governor of Valencia.

The opera is full of bright, melodious music. The principal numbers in the first act are Maritana’s song, “It was a Knight of Princely Mien”; the romanza which she sings for Don José, “’Tis the Harp in the Air”; the duet between Don José and Maritana, “Of Fairy Wand had I the Power”; Don Cæsar’s rollicking drinking-song, “All the World over”; and the delightful chorus, “Pretty Gitana, tell us what the Fates decree.” The first scene of the second act is a mine of charming songs, including Lazarillo’s, “Alas! those [236] Chimes”; the trio, “Turn on, Old Time, thine Hourglass”; Don Cæsar’s stirring martial air, “Yes, let me like a Soldier fall”; the sentimental ballad, “In Happy Moments, Day by Day”; and the quartette and chorus closing the scene, “Health to the Lady, the Lovely Bride.” The next scene contains a pretty chorus in waltz time, “Ah! what Pleasure,” followed by an aria sung by the King, “The Mariner in his Bark,” and the act closes with a very dramatic ensemble, “What Mystery must now control.” The leading numbers of the last act are Maritana’s song, “Scenes that are Brightest,” one of the most admired of all English songs; the love duet between Don Cæsar and Maritana, “This Heart with Bliss O’erflowing”; and Don Cæsar’s song, “There is a Flower that bloometh,” which is in the sentimental ballad style.


[Romantic opera, in three acts; text by Fitzball. First produced at Covent Garden Theatre, London, February 23, 1860.]


Count Rudolph, a young nobleman.
Wilhelm, his friend.
Rhineberg, the river King.
Baron Truenfels.
Zelleck, a gnome.
Lurline, nymph of the Lurlei-Berg.
Ghiva, the Baron’s daughter.
Liba, a spirit of the Rhine.

[Vassals, conspirators, pages, water spirits.]

The scene is laid on the banks and in the waters of the Rhine; time, the present.


The story of “Lurline” closely follows the old legend of the “Lorelei.” Count Rudolph, having dissipated his fortune, proposes marriage with Ghiva, daughter of a neighboring baron, to recoup himself. The Baron, however, turns out to be as poor as the Count, and nothing comes of the proposition. Meanwhile Lurline, the Rhine nymph, has seen the Count sailing on the river and fallen in love with him. At the last banquet he and his companions give in the old castle, she appears, weaves spells about him, places a magic ring on his finger, and then disappears. When he comes to his reason, he finds himself enamoured of her, follows the notes of her harp on the Rhine, and is engulfed in the whirlpool to which Lurline allures her victims.

The second act opens in Lurline’s cavern under the Rhine, and Rudolph is there by virtue of his magic ring. He hears his friends singing and mourning his loss as they sail on the river, and is so touched by it that he implores permission to return to them for a short time. Lurline consents to his absence for three days, and agrees to wait for him on the summit of the Lurlei-Berg at moonrise on the third evening. She also prevails upon her father, the Rhine [238] King, to give him treasures, with which he embarks in a fairy skiff, leaving Lurline dejected.

In the last act Rudolph discloses to the Baron and his daughter, as well as to his companions, the secret of his wealth. The Baron once more encourages his suit, and the crafty Ghiva steals the magic ring and throws it into the Rhine. In the mean time Lurline waits nightly on the Lurlei-Berg for the return of her lover, and there a gnome brings to her the ring, token of his infidelity. Distracted between grief and anger, she determines to reproach him with his perfidy at a banquet in the castle; she suddenly appears, and demands her ring from him. A scene of bitter reproaches ensues, ending with her denunciation of his companions’ treachery. Growing envious of the Count’s wealth, they had conspired to destroy him and then plunder the castle. Ghiva and her father, overhearing the plot, reveal it to the Count and urge him to escape by flight. Rudolph, however, preferring death near Lurline, confronts the assassins. Love returns to Lurline once more. She strikes her harp and invokes the Rhine, which rises and engulfs the conspirators. When the waves subside, the Rhine King appears and gives the hand of his daughter to the Count.

The principal numbers of the first act are Rhineberg’s invocation aria, “Idle Spirit, wildly dreaming”; Lurline’s beautiful romanzas with harp accompaniment, “Flow on, flow on, O Silver [239] Rhine,” and “When the Night Winds sweep the Wave”; the melodious chorus, “Sail, sail, sail on the Midnight Gale”; the drinking-song, “Drain the Cup of Pleasure”; the quaint tenor song, “Our Bark in Moonlight beaming”; and the vigorous chorus of the gnomes in the finale, “Vengeance, Vengeance.” The second act opens with the gnomes’ song, “Behold Wedges of Gold.” The remaining conspicuous numbers are the Count’s song, “Sweet Form that on my Dreamy Gaze”; Lurline’s brilliant drinking-song with chorus, “Take this Cup of Sparkling Wine”; Ghiva’s ballad, for contralto, “Troubadour Enchanting”; the breezy hunting-chorus, “Away to the Chase, come away”; Rhineberg’s sentimental song, “The Nectar Cup may yield Delight”; and the ensemble in the finale, which is in the genuine Italian style. The third act is specially noticeable for the ballad sung by Rudolph, “My Home, my Heart’s first Home”; Lurline’s song on the Lurlei-Berg, “Sweet Spirit, hear my Prayer,” which has been a great favorite on the concert stage; the unaccompanied quartette, “Though the World with Transport bless me”; the grand duet, “Lurline, my Naiad Queen,” and the incantation music and closing chorus, “Flow on, thou Lovely Rhine.”


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