Genoveva





In four acts by ROBERT SCHUMANN.



Text after HEBBEL and TIECK.





The music of this opera is surpassingly delightful. Though Schumann's

genius was not that of a dramatist of a very high order, this opera

deserves to be known and esteemed universally. Nowhere can melodies be

found finer or more poetical and touching than in this noble musical

composition, the libretto of which may also be called interesting,

though it is faulty in its want of action.



It is the old legend of Genoveva somewhat altered. Siegfried, Count of

the Palatinate, is ordered by the Emperor Charles Martell to join him

in the war with the infidels, who broke out of Spain under Abdurrhaman.

The noble Count recommends his wife Genoveva and all he possesses, to

the protection of his friend Golo, who is however secretly in love with

his master's wife. After Siegfried has said farewell she falls into a

swoon, which Golo takes advantage of to kiss her, thereby still further

exciting his flaming passion. Genoveva finally awakes and goes away to

mourn in silence for her husband.







Golo being alone, an old hag Margaretha, whom he takes for his nurse,

comes to console him.



She is in reality his mother and has great schemes for her son's future

happiness. She insinuates to him that Genoveva, being alone, needs

consolation and will easily be led on to accept more tender attentions,

and she promises him her assistance. The second act show Genoveva's

room. She longs sadly for her husband and sees with pain and disgust

the insolent behavior of the servants, whose wild songs penetrate into

her silent chamber.



Golo enters to bring her the news of a great victory over Abdurrhaman,

news, which fill her heart with joy.



She bids Golo sing and sweetly accompanies his song, which so fires his

passion that he falls upon his knees and frightens her by glowing

words. Vainly she bids him leave her; he only grows more excited, till

she repulses him with the word "bastard". Now his love turns into

hatred, and when Drago, the faithful steward comes to announce that the

servants begin to be more and more insolent, daring even to insult the

good name of the Countess, Golo asserts that they speak the truth about

her. He persuades the incredulous Drago to hide himself in Genoveva's

room, the latter having retired for the night's rest.



Margaretha, listening at the door, hears everything. She tells Golo

that Count Siegfried lies wounded at Strassbourg; she has intercepted

his letter to the Countess and prepares to leave for that town,

in order to nurse the Count and kill him slowly by some deadly poison.

Then Golo calls quickly for the servants, who all assemble to penetrate

into their mistress' room. She repulses them full of wounded pride,

but at last she yields, and herself taking the candle to light the room

proceeds to search, when Drago is found behind the curtains and at once

silenced by Golo, who runs his dagger through his heart. Genoveva is

led into the prison of the castle.



The third act takes place at Strassbourg, where Siegfried is being

nursed by Margaretha. His strength defies her perfidy, and he is full

of impatience to return to his loving wife, when Golo enters bringing

him the news of her faithlessness.



Siegfried in despair bids Golo kill her with his own sword. He decides

to fly into the wilderness, but before fulfilling his design, he goes

once more to Margaretha, who has promised to show him all that passed

at home during his absence. He sees Genoveva in a magic looking-glass,

exchanging kindly words with Drago, but there is no appearance of guilt

in their intercourse. The third image shows Genoveva sleeping on her

couch, and Drago approaching her. With an imprecation Siegfried starts

up, bidding Golo avenge him, but at the same instant the glass flies in

pieces with a terrible crash, and Drago's ghost stands before

Margaretha, commanding her to tell Siegfried the truth.







In the fourth act Genoveva is being led into the wilderness by two

ruffians, who have orders to murder her. Before this is done, Golo

approaches her once more, showing her Siegfried's ring and sword, with

which he has been bidden kill her. He tries hard to win her, but she

turns from him with scorn and loathing, preferring death to dishonor.

At length relinquishing his attempts, he beckons to the murderers to do

their work and hands them Count Siegfried's weapon. Genoveva in her

extreme need seizes the cross of the Saviour, praying fervently, and

detains the ruffians till at the last moment Siegfried appears, led by

the repentant Margaretha. There ensues a touching scene of

forgiveness, while Golo rushes away to meet his fate by falling over a

precipice.





Friend Fritz Guglielmo Tell facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Feedback