In one Act by EUGENE D'ALBERT. Libretto by HANS VON WOLZOGEN.
D'Albert's new attempt at an opera secured an even greater success than
his "Departure", which is still constantly given at the Dresden Opera.
"Flauto Solo" had a brilliant first night performance in Dresden in
August 1906, both because of the unusually charming music, which is a
masterly imitation of the compositions in vogue during the Roccocco
period, and also for its remarkably clever libretto. The latter
required no little ingenuity, since it is a medley of no less than
The fact, that Flauto Solo contains a plot, which is founded on
history, renders it doubly attractive. Anyone acquainted with German
history at the time of Frederic the Great will not fail to recognize
him and his testy father under the assumed names of the young prince
and the reigning head of the house.
The opera is at the same time an amusing parody of the two great
schools of music of the age, that is, of German and Italian musical art.
Fuest Eberhard, the reigning prince and his son, Prince Ferdinand are
perpetually disagreeing, not only because of their radically opposite
dispositions, but because the parent is a champion of German music,
while his son is absolutely devoted to everything Italian.
The two prime favourites at court are two musicians, a German named
Pepusch, and an Italian, Maestro Emanuele, who take turns at conducting
the court orchestra. Naturally there is constant rivalry between these
two, particularly since Pepusch composed the so-called "Schweine Canon"
(hog-canon), for the gratification of Prince Eberhard. Taken literally
this song of the Hogs is a quartette, which skilfully reproduces the
various forms of grunting characteristic of these animals. To reward
Pepusch for his composition, Eberhard wishes him to become his wayward
son's tutor instead of Maestro Emanuele. The latter encourages the
young prince in his fondness for all things foreign and his violent
dislike of everything German.
At the beginning of the opera, Prince Eberhard laments over his son's
fondness for the flute to Pepusch, till an orderly abruptly summons him
to take command of the troops.--
Before going he shouts to Pepusch, that if Prince Ferdinand fails to
appreciate the "hog-canon", he had at least better make the "cannon"
his instrument instead of the flute.
Left to himself Pepusch goes into the concert pavilion, and picks up
his music.--Peppina, a famous primadonna, makes her appearance without
perceiving the German conductor. Soon she begins to sing and is quite
terrified, when Pepusch joins in. A lengthy conversation ensues and
Peppina is not long in expressing her contempt for the song of the
hogs.--When Pepusch confesses himself to be the composer thereof, she
lapses into the Tyrolese dialect of her childhood. Both she and
Pepusch declare their allegiance to the German and Italian schools of
music, but nevertheless they are highly pleased with each other.
Suddenly the sounds of a flute are heard, which cause Pepusch to run
away and Maestro Emanuele to run forward, warning Peppina, that the
young Prince is close at hand. The Italian is filled with jealousy,
when he hears of the primadonna's meeting with Pepusch and begins to
make violent love to her.--
She makes fun of him and finally Prince Ferdinand puts an end to the
scene. He plays several quick runs on his flute, and addresses himself
chiefly in the French tongue, for which he has a weakness, to his
Peppina has concealed herself behind some trees. Prince Ferdinand
relates how he has received orders from his father to inspect the
regiment, but that he made Pepusch take his place. A few minutes later
Pepusch turns up and admits, that he has not carried out Prince
The young Prince then confides to Pepusch, that he has made
arrangements for a grand fete which is to take place that same evening,
to which he has invited a large and select company. All this Pepusch
knows already from Peppina. But when the Prince invites him to take
part with a performance of his "hog-canon", he is beside himself,
knowing well that Emanuele insinuated this idea to the Prince, simply
to expose him to ridicule. The Prince however insists, and when he
goes away, Peppina comes out of her hiding place and shares Pepusch's
Vainly Pepusch tries to find some new musical motive, to enhance his
quartette's effect, when suddenly Peppina begins to sing.
Involuntarily he grunts an accompaniment. All at once he starts and
exclaims "Ah, now I have it". After embracing Peppina he hurries away.
The primadonna gets up too, but runs right into old Prince Eberhard,
who calls out "What! A woman in my royal domains! Who is it?!"
Peppina, unintimidated replies: "I am a Tyrolese singer and who are
you?" When the prince tells her who he is she retorts: "Nonsense,
Prince Eberhard is away at the manoeuvres." When she has charmed
the old prince sufficiently by her marvellous trills and scales she
tells him, that although she has all Italy and France at her feet she
cares most of all for the good opinion of Prince Ferdinand, young
though he is.
Prince Eberhard is half pleased, half angry, and complains, that there
is never praise for any one save his son. Drawing forth a note, he
shows her, that he is informed of the evening festival, which is to
take place in his absence. Hearing this, Peppina informs him of the
plot, which has been meditated against poor Pepusch, and intimates,
that the whole thing is owned to the false Italian Maestro, who wants
to make the German composer a laughing stock for the foreign guests,
who are expected not only to hear the famous flute playing of Prince
Ferdinand, but especially herself, the famous Primadonna. She is to be
engaged for the Vienna opera by a Viennese count, coming expressly on
her account. Hearing all this, Prince Eberhard first flies into a
passion, but soon he calms himself and tells Peppina to be without fear
for Pepusch's future, as he, Eberhard, will not fail to be present at
When Pepusch appears, he finds the two executing a droll dance
together. Peppina seizes the prince's hand and tells him that she and
Pepusch are in love with one another. All three vow, that they will
give the audience a surprise at the fete, Pepusch saying his will be
the "Flauto Solo".
Preparations for the festival are carried on with the aid of all kinds
of decorations during which Pepusch is busily employed finishing his
new composition.--Prince Ferdinand arrives followed by his suite,
receiving his guests gracefully. After having presented Pepusch he
commands him to conduct his chef d'oeuvre. Pepusch, taking out a score
of music, announces, that a young pig was born during the night,
necessitating a Solo flute. He hands the Prince the melody, intimating
that the great Maestro Emanuele should play it. Much to Emanuele's
disgust, Prince Ferdinand takes Pepusch's part in the quarrel, which
the Italian attempts to bring about.
Suddenly the old Prince arrives and orders his son to perform Pepusch's
new melody on the flute. Prince Ferdinand unwillingly obeys, and plays
the solo part so splendidly, that the audience breaks out into endless
Prince Ferdinand cordially begs Pepusch's pardon for his injustice and
calls his new composition a real master piece. Pepusch is however
honest enough to admit, that the melody, which he first heard Peppina
sing, was originally Emanuele's idea, upon which the guests cheer both
Prince Eberhard, on the other hand, praises his son's skill on the
flute most highly and admits, that Prince Ferdinand will as a ruler in
all probability become as great a virtuoso, as he has proved himself a
Pepusch and Emanuele call for Peppina, the great Italian
primadonna.--She appears on the steps wrapped in a long cloak,
but when she throws it off, she shows herself in her native Tyrolese
costume; she sings in dialect, and goes through all her charming native
songs and "Jodls", to the delight of all her hearers. Prince Eberhard
promises to grant any wish of Peppina's, while Prince Ferdinand does
the same with Pepusch.--
Finally Prince Ferdinand joins Peppina's and Pepusch's hands, while the
old Prince announces that the two shall henceforth play "Flauti due" by
being married, and appointed musicians of his court for the rest of
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