A German Legend in three parts by EUGEN LINDNER.
After Fitger's poem by GUSTAV KASTROPP and the composer.
The young composer has hitherto been little heard of by the public,
though he has a good name in the musical world, as he had already
written an opera called "Ramiro", which was put on the stage in Leipsic
and excited considerable controversy among his admirers and his
opponents. Lindner then left Leipsic for Weimar, where he studied
zealously and composed the above-mentioned opera which was at once
accepted on the small but celebrated stage of this town and has now
appeared on the greater one of Dresden. This opera is half romantic
half lyric, neither does it lack the humorous elements. It abounds in
melody, a great rarity in our times, and the romance (Lied) is its best
Though the music is not precisely overpowering, it is very sweet and
pleasing; one sees that a great talent has been at work, if not a
The libretto is very nice on the whole, in some parts even charmingly
poetical and melodious.
The scene is laid in an Earldom on the Rhine.
The master-thief Wallfried, a young nobleman, who ten years before had
been put into a convent as younger son, has fled from it, and has since
then been the companion of roving minstrels and Bohemians. Having
heard of his elder brother's death, he comes home to claim his rights.
There he sees Waldmuthe, the only daughter of Count Berengar, the
Seigneur of the Earldom. As her features are as sweet as her voice,
and as the father guards his treasures better than his daughter,
Wallfried falls in love with her, and after artfully robbing her of her
necklace, he even steals a kiss from her rosy lips. At first she
reproaches him, but at last willingly leaves her ornament in his hands,
which he keeps as a token of seeing her again.
At a fair, where Wallfried for the last time makes merry with his
companions and sings to them the song of the pretty Aennchen,--by the
bye a pearl of elegance and delicacy,--he sees Count Berengar and his
daughter, and at once reclaims his own name and castle as Heir von
Sterneck from the Seigneur.--But Waldmuthe's companion, Hertha sees her
mistress's chain on Wallfried's neck and as our hero will not tell how
he came by it, he is considered a thief. His friend Marquard now
pleads for him, intimating that he took the chain only to show his
adroitness as a master-thief. Count Berengar hearing this, orders him
to give three proofs of his skill. First he is to rob the Count of his
dearest treasure, which is guarded by his soldiers and which then will
be his own, secondly he is to steal the Count himself from his palace,
and finally he must rob the Count of his own personality. Should he
fail in one of these efforts, he is to be hanged.
These tests seem to be very difficult, but Wallfried promises to
fulfill his task on the very same day.
In the second act Wallfried arrives with two friends at the Count's
castle. All three are in pilgrim's garb and bring a beautiful
wassail-horn to the Count in token of friendship from the Sire of
Rodenstein. The sentry and the Count consider these pious guests
harmless, and the Count, being a great amateur of good wine, drinks and
sings with them and soon gets drunk. The roundelays are full of wit
and humor and particularly Wallfried's song, with the charming
imitation of the spinning-wheel in the orchestra, is of great
effect.--At last one of the pilgrims intimates, that though the wine be
good, they have drunk a far better at the clergyman's in the village.
This seems incredible to the Count and he is willing to put it to the
test. He goes with his guests out of his castle and so the second of
his orders, to steal his own person, is already accomplished.
Wallfried however stays behind to rob the Count of his most valuable
treasure, which he deems to be the young Countess herself. While the
soldiers carefully guard the jewels and diamonds in the tower,
Waldmuthe steps on her balcony and confides her love to the
moon.--Wallfried, hearing her confession, easily persuades her to
follow him, as she hopes thereby to save his life and so the first
condition is likewise fulfilled.
In the third act the Bohemians (Wallfried's companions) have carried
the Count into the forest, and having robbed him of his clothes, dress
him in the clergyman's cassock. The Count, awaking from his
inebriety, is quite confused. His misery after the debauch is most
funnily and expressively depicted in the orchestration. His confusion
increases, when the Bohemians, dressed as peasants, greet him as
"Seigneur Pastor", and when even Benno, the warden of Sterneck calls
him by this name,--for everybody is in the plot,--he storms and rages,
but grows the more troubled. At last Wallfried makes his appearance in
the mask of Count Berengar, speaking of his presumed daughter and of
her love. Then the mists of the wine gather thicker around the Count's
tortured brain, he repeats Wallfried's words and when alone says aloud
"There goes Count Berengar, now I believe myself to be the
pastor."--Thus too the third order is fulfilled; he is robbed of
Waldmuthe, stealing up to him, roguishly laughing repeats the tests and
now the Count at once becomes sober.--Of course he is in wrath at first
and most unwilling to give his only child to one, who has passed part
of his life with Bohemians. But Waldmuthe reminds him of his own
youth, how audaciously he had won his wife, her mother, and how he had
promised her to care for their daughter's happiness. The tender father
cannot resist her touching and insinuating appeal, but resolves to try
Wallfried's sincerity. When the latter reminds him, that he has only
executed the Count's own orders, though in a somewhat different sense,
Berengar willingly grants him the tide and domains of Sterneck, but
refuses his daughter, telling him to choose instead his finest
jewels. Wallfried haughtily turns from him to join his old comrades,
and refuses name and heritage, which would be worthless to him without
his bride. But the maiden is as noble as her lover; she rushes up to
him, ready to brave her father's scorn as well as the world's dangers.
Then the Count, persuaded of the young fellow's noble heart, folds him
in his embrace and readily gives his benediction to the union.
In three acts by AUBER.
Text by SCRIBE.
This charming little work is one of the best semi-comic operas ever
composed, from the time of its first representation in Paris until now
it has never lacked success.
The libretto is founded on a true anecdote, and is admirably suited to
The scene is laid in Paris in the year 1788.
The first act represents the merry wedding of Roger, a mason, with
Henrietta, sister of Baptiste, a locksmith. A jealous old hag,
Mistress Bertrand, who would fain have married the nice young man, is
wondering, whence the poor mason has the money for his wedding, when
suddenly a young nobleman, Leon de Merinville, appears, greeting Roger
warmly. He relates to the astonished hearers, that Roger saved his
life, but would not take any reward, nor tell his name. Roger
explains that the nobleman put so much money into his pocket, that it
enabled him to marry his charming Henrietta, but Merinville is
determined to do more for him. Meanwhile Roger tries to withdraw from
the ball with his young wife; but Henrietta is called back by her
relations according to custom.--Roger, being left alone, is accosted by
two unknown men, who, veiling his eyes, force him to follow them to a
spot unknown to him, in order to do some mason-work for them. It is to
the house of Abdallah, the Turkish ambassador, that he is led. The
latter has heard that his mistress Irma, a young Greek maiden, is about
to take flight with a French officer, who is no other than de
The lovers are warned by a slave, named Rica, but it is too late;
Abdallah's people overtake and bind them. They are brought into a
cavern, the entrance to which Roger is ordered to mure up. There,
before him, he finds his friend and brother-in-law, Baptiste, who was
likewise caught and is now forced to help him.
Recognizing in the officer his benefactor, Roger revives hope in him by
singing a song, which Leon heard him sing at the time he saved his life.
Meanwhile Henrietta has passed a dreadful night, not being able to
account for her husband's absence. In the morning Mistress Bertrand
succeeds in exciting the young wife's sorrow and jealousy to a shocking
degree, so that when Roger at last appears, she receives him with
a volley of reproaches and questions.
Roger, unhappy about Merinville's fate and ignorant of where he has
been in the night, scarcely listens to his wife's complaints, until
Henrietta remarks that she well knows where he has been, Mistress
Bertrand having recognized the carriage of the Turkish ambassador, in
which he was wheeled away.
This brings light into Roger's brain and without more ado he rushes to
the police, with whose help the poor prisoners are delivered. Roger
returns with him to his wife's house, where things are cleared up in
the most satisfactory manner.
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