The Three Pintos
In three acts by C. M. v. WEBER.
After WEBER'S manuscripts and designs, and TH. HELL'S textbook. The
musical part completed by GUSTAV MAHLER, the dramatic part by CARL VON
Thanks to the incessant endeavours of Weber's grandson and of Gustav
Mahler, the gifted disciple of Weber, a real treasure in German music
has been disinterred from the fragments of the past, thus long after
its composer's death. It is a striking illustration of the
universality of Weber's genius that aught like this should prove to
have been written by him, for his manuscript is a fragment of a
comic opera of the best kind. Although only seven parts were completed
by the composer himself, Mahler took the remaining ten mostly from
Weber's other manuscripts. He completed them himself so adroitly, that
the best musicians cannot distinguish Weber from Mahler. We owe a debt
of gratitude to both composer and poet, who have performed this act of
piety towards the great deceased and at the same time have preserved us
real musical pearls. The text is well done, though not important
enough for three acts; two would have been quite sufficient.
The first scene takes us into a little village in Spain, where a
student, Don Gaston Piratos bids farewell to his fellows. He is a gay
and gallant youth, whose money dwindles to a paltry sum before mine
host's long account. But this cunning host has a charming daughter
Ines, and light-hearted Gaston flirts with the damsel, his servant
Ambrosio valiantly assisting him.
The Kater-romance sung by Ines is as gracefull as it is droll and
Don Pinto de Fonseca now arrives on horseback. He is so corpulent,
that he is scarcely able to dismount, and he excites the curiosity and
amusement of all. Having called for food and drink, he tells Gaston,
that he comes to marry a rich and noble lady, Donna Clarissa de
Pacheco. Fonseca's father has once rendered a great service to Don
Pantaleone Roiz de Pacheco, and in reward he destined his only child
Clarissa for Fonseca's son. This promising young knight has a
letter of recommendation from his father. He is in perplexity as to
his behaviour towards such a young lady and Gaston offers to instruct
him therein. Ambrosio acts as bride, Gaston shows how she is to be
courted and Don Pinto gawkishly imitates his teacher's gestures. This
scene is most irresistibly comic. When wine and food are brought by
Ines and her servants, Don Pinto so entirely absorbs himself in
satisfying his hunger and thirst, that at last the wine gets the better
of him. He falls asleep and Gaston, thinking it an injury to a noble
lady to be wooed by such a clown, takes away old Fonseca's letter and
departs with Ambrosio. Don Pinto is carried into the house on a
In the second act Don Pantaleone's servants are assembled in the
ancestral hall, where their master announces to them the approaching
arrival of Don Pinto, his daughter's future bridegroom. Donna
Clarissa, who already loves Don Gomez Freiros, a knight of wealth,
noble birth and bearing is in despair, as is also her lover, but Laura,
her pretty maid promises to find ways and means to avert the dreaded
In the third act Laura and the servants are decorating the hall with
flowers. The majordomo sends them away, proclaiming Don Pinto's
arrival. All go except Laura, who hides behind a bosquet. Gaston,
entering with Ambrosio sees all those preparations with wonder.
Ambrosio detects Laura and according to his wont begins to court her.
Gaston warns the damsel, and she entering into the joke mockingly
quits them. Gay Ambrosio is consoling himself in a charming song of
which the burden is girls' fickleness, when Don Gomez enters and
touches Gaston's kind heart by the description of his love for
Clarissa. Gaston tenders him Fonseca's letter, counselling Gomez to
play the part of Don Pinto, for Don Pantaleone has never seen either of
them. Gomez accepts the letter gratefully from the supposed Don Pinto
and presents it to Don Pantaleone, who has entered with his daughter
and his whole suite. Of course the father, struck by the knight's
noble bearing, gives his consent to the union with his daughter and
adds his benediction. But their joy is disturbed by the entrance of
the real Don Pinto, who at once begins wooing in the manner he has
practised with Don Gaston.
The ridiculous fellow is thought mad and is about to be turned out,
when catching sight of Gaston, he loudly accuses him of treachery.
Gaston however draws his sword and menaces Don Pinto, upon which the
poor swain cries for mercy and is thereafter removed from the hall
amidst the laughter of the whole chorus.
Imagine the assistant's astonishment, when Gaston declares, that they
have turned out the true Don Pinto. Gomez believing himself betrayed
challenges Gaston, and the father rages against the two pretenders.
But Clarissa pleads and Gaston quietly shows to Don Pantaleone the
contrast between the two suitors, while Gomez is obliged to
acknowledge gratefully that he owes his lovely bride solely to Don
Gaston's joke. So the lovers are united.
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