Grand romantic Opera by C. M. VON WEBER.
Text by HELMINA VON CHEZY.
This opera has not had the success of Oberon or Freischuetz, a fact to
be attributed to the weakness of its libretto, and not to its music,
which is so grand and noble, that it cannot but fill the hearer with
admiration and pleasure.
The overture is one of the finest pieces ever written, and the choruses
and solos are equally worthy of admiration.
The plot is as follows:
Adolar, Count of Nevers and Rethel, is betrothed to Euryanthe of Savoy,
and the wedding is to take place, when one day, in the King's presence
Lysiart, Count of Forest and Beaujolais, suggests that all women are
accessible to seduction. He provokes Adolar so much, that he succeeds
in making him stake his lands and everything he possesses on his
bride's fidelity. Lysiart on the other hand promises to bring a token
of Euryanthe's favor.
In the following scene we find Euryanthe in the company of Eglantine de
Puiset. This lady is a prisoner, who has taken refuge in the castle of
Nevers, and has ingratiated herself so much with Euryanthe, that the
latter tenderly befriends the false woman. Asking Euryanthe, why she
always chooses for her recreation the dreary spot of the park, where
Adolar's sister Emma lies buried, she is told by her in confidence,
that she prays for Emma, who poisoned herself after her lover's death
in battle. Her soul could find no rest, until the ring, which
contained the venom should be wet with the tears of a faithful and
innocent maid, shed in her extreme need. No sooner has Euryanthe
betrayed her bridegroom's secret that she repents doing so, foreboding
ill to come. Lysiart enters to escort her to the marriage festival,
but he vainly tries to ensnare her innocence, when Eglantine comes to
his rescue. She loves Adolar, and her passion not being returned, she
has sworn vengeance. Stealing the fatal ring from the sepulchre, she
gives it to Lysiart as a token of Euryanthe's faithlessness, and
Lysiart, after having brought Euryanthe to Adolar, shows the ring in
presence of the whole court, pretending to have received it from
Euryanthe. The poor maiden denies it, but as Lysiart reveals the
mystery of the grave, she cannot deny that she has broken her promise
of never telling the secret.
Adolar full of despair surrenders everything to his rival, leading
Euryanthe, whom he believes to be false, into the wilderness to kill
her. A serpent is about to sting him, when his bride throws herself
between. He kills the reptile, but after her sacrifice he is unable to
raise his arm against her and so leaves her to her fate.
She is found by the King and his hunters, and to them she relates the
whole story of her error of confiding in the false Eglantine. The King
promises to inform Adolar and takes her back with him. Meanwhile
Adolar returning once more to his grounds, is seen by his people. One
of them, Bertha, tells him that Euryanthe is innocent, and that
Eglantine, who is about to marry Lysiart and to reign as supreme
mistress over the country, has been the culprit.
Eglantine, appearing in bridal attire, led by Lysiart, suddenly becomes
a prey to fearful remorse, she sees Emma's ghost, and in her anxiety
reveals the whole plot. Her bridegroom stabs her in his fury, but is
at once seized by order of the King who just then comes upon the scene.
Adolar, believing Euryanthe dead, demands a meeting with Lysiart. But
the King declares, that the murderer must incur the penalty of the
laws. He renders up to Adolar his possessions and his bride, who the
more easily pardons her repentant bridegroom, that she has saved his
sister's soul by the innocent tears of her misfortune.
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