The Templar And The Jewess
In three acts by HENRY MARSCHNER.
Text by W. A. WOHLBRUeCK.
The subject of this opera is the well-known romance of Ivanhoe by Sir
Walter Scott. The poet understood pretty well how to make an effective
picture with his somewhat too extensive and imposing material.
Its chief defect lies in the conclusion, which is lacking in poetic
justice and cannot be considered satisfactory, for the heroine Rebecca
who loves her knightly succourer Ivanhoe, is only pitied by him, and so
the difficulty of the situation is not solved to our liking. Apart
from this defect, the opera is most interesting and we are won by
its beautiful music, which may be called essentially chivalrous and
therefore particularly adapted to the romantic text.
In the opening scene we are introduced to the Knight-Templar, Brian de
Bois Guilbert, who has fallen in love with the beautiful Jewess
Rebecca, and has succeeded in capturing and detaining her in his
castle. At the same time Sir Cedric of Rotherwood, a Saxon knight,
(father of Ivanhoe, whom he has disinherited), has been taken captive
with his ward, the Lady Rowena, by their enemies, the Normans.--Rebecca
refuses to hear the Templar's protestations of love, and threatens to
precipitate herself from the parapet, if he dares to touch her. Her
wild energy conquers; and when he leaves her, Ivanhoe, the wounded
knight to whom Rebecca is assigned as nurse, tells her that friends
have come to deliver them all.
The outlaws, commanded by Richard Coeur de Lion, under the guise of the
Black Knight, assault the castle, burn it and deliver the captives.
Poor Rebecca alone falls into the hands of the Templar, who does not
cease to press his love-suit. Brian's deed soon becomes known, and his
brother-Templars, believing Brian to be innocent, but seduced by a
sorceress, condemn Rebecca to the stake. She makes use of her right to
ask for a champion, and is allowed till sunset to find one. Brian
himself tries all he can to save her, but she rejects his aid, for she
loves Ivanhoe, though she is well aware that at this noble knight
loves his beautiful cousin Rowena.
The day has nearly passed, the funeral pile awaits its victim, and no
champion appears. The trumpets sound for the last time, when Ivanhoe
presents himself in the lists to fight Brian, whom the Templars have
appointed as his adversary. Ivanhoe is victorious; Brian falls
lifeless, even before the enemy's sword touches him. All recognize the
judgment of God and Rebecca is given back to her desolate father. At
the last moment King Richard, who has long been absent on a crusade to
Jerusalem, appears on the scene. He announces that henceforth he alone
will govern the land and punish all injustice. Ivanhoe and Rowena are
united by consent of Sir Cedric, who is now wholly reconciled to his
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