Manru





In three acts by J. PADEREWSKI.



Text by ALFRED NOSSIG.





Dresden claims the honour of having first represented the celebrated

Polish pianist's opera.



The performance took place on May 29th 1901, and a closely packed house

showed its approbation in the most enthusiastic manner.



Those who will look out for reminiscences in every new piece of music

find of course that Paderewski is an imitator of Wagner, but though

Manru would probably not have been written without the composer's

intimate knowledge of the Ring of Nibelungen, the melodies and rythm

are entirely his own. The music is true gypsy music with very much

movement and highly phantastic colouring, reminding us sometimes of

Liszt and Bizet.



The best parts of the opera are the choruses of the village maidens in

the first act, the charming cradle song, the violin solo and the

love-duet in the second and the splendid gipsy music in the last act.



Nossig's libretto is very inferior to the music; its rhymes are often

absolutely trivial. The scene is laid in the Hungarian Tatra mountain

district.







Manru a wandering gipsy has fallen in love with a peasant girl Ulana

and has married her against her mother's wishes.



In the first act mother Hedwig laments her daughter's loss. While the

village lasses are dancing and frolicking Ulana returns to her mother

to ask her forgiveness; she is encouraged by a hunchback Urok, who is

devoted to her, and who persuades the mother to forgive her child, on

condition that she shall leave her husband. As Ulana refuses, though

she is in dire need of bread, Hedwig sternly shuts her door upon her

daughter. Ulana turns to Urok, who does his best to persuade her to

leave her husband.



Urok is a philosopher; he warns the poor woman, that gipsy blood is

never faithful, and that the time will come, when Manru will leave wife

and child.



Ulana is frightened and finally obtains from Urok a love potion, by

which she hopes to secure her husband's constancy.



When she tries to turn back into the mountains she is surrounded by the

returning villagers, who tease and torment her and the hunchback, until

Manru comes to their rescue. But his arrival only awakes the

villagers' wrath, they fall upon him and are about to kill him, when

mother Hedwig comes out and warns them not to touch the outlaws on whom

her curse has fallen.



The second act takes place in Manru's hiding place in the mountains.

The gipsy is tired of the idyll. He longs for freedom and

quarrels with his wife, whose sweetness bores him. She patiently rocks

her child's cradle and sings him to rest. Suddenly Manru hears the

tones of a gipsy fiddle in the distance; he follows the sound and soon

returns with an old gipsy who does his best to lure him back to his

tribe. But once more love and duty prevail; and when Ulana sweetly

presents him the love-philtre he drains it at one draught, and

immediately feeling the fire of the strong and potent drug, he becomes

cheerful and receives his wife, who has adorned herself with a wreath

of flowers with open arms.



In the third act Manru rushes out of the small, close hut. His

intoxication is gone; he gasps for air and freedom. Wearily he

stretches himself on the ground and falls asleep. The full moon,

shining on him, throws him into a trance, during which he rises to

follow the gipsy tribe whose songs he hears. In this state he is found

by Asa, the gipsy queen, who loves him and at once claims him as her

own.



But the tribe refuses to receive the apostate, and their chief Oros

pronounces a terrible anathema against him. However Asa prevails with

her tribe to pardon Manru.



Oros in anger flings down his staff of office and departs, and Manru is

elected chief in his place.



Once more he hesitates, but Asa's beauty triumphs; he follows her and

his own people.



At this moment Ulana appears. Seeing that her husband has

forsaken her, she implores Urok, who has been present during the whole

scene to bring Manru back to her.--Alas, it is in vain. When Ulana

sees Manru climbing the mountain path arm in arm with Asa, she drowns

herself in the lake.



But Manru does not enjoy his treachery; Oros, hidden behind the rocks

is on the watch for him and tearing Asa from him, he precipitates his

rival from the rocks into the lake.





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