Oberon





In three acts by WEBER.



English text by PLANCHE translated by TH. HELL.





Oberon is Weber's last work. In the year 1824 he had the honor of

being commissioned to compose this opera for the Covent-garden theatre.

He began at once to study English, but, his health giving way, he

progressed slowly. Notwithstanding his illness however, he worked on

and finished the opera in the year 1826. He had the happiness of

seeing it crowned with success, when he travelled to London in February

of that year, but he could not witness its triumphs in Germany, for he

died in the following July.



The text is most fantastic without any strict order of succession

either in the matter of time or locality. It is taken from Wieland's

fairy-tale of the same name.



In the first act we find Oberon, the Elfin-king in deep melancholy,

which no gaiety of his subjects, however charming, avails to remove.

He has quarrelled with his wife Titania, and both have vowed never to

be reconciled, until they find a pair of lovers, faithful to each other

in all kinds of adversity. Both long for the reunion, but the constant

lovers are not to be found.



Oberon's most devoted servant is little Puck, who has vainly roved over

the world to find what his master needs. He has however heard of a

valiant knight in Burgundy, Hueon, who has killed Carloman, the son of

Charlemagne in a duel, having been insulted by him. Charlemagne, not

willing to take his life for a deed of defence, orders him to go to

Bagdad, to slay the favorite, sitting to the left of the Calif, and to

wed the Calif's daughter Rezia. Puck resolves to make this pair suit

his ends. He tells Oberon the above-mentioned story, and by means of

his lily-sceptre shows Hueon and Rezia to him. At the same-time these

two behold each other in a vision, so that when they awake both are

deeply in love.







Oberon wakes Hueon and his faithful shield-bearer Scherasmin, and

promises his help in every time of need. He presents Hueon with a magic

horn, which will summon him at any time; Scherasmin receives a cup,

which fills with wine of itself. Then he immediately transports them

to Bagdad.



There, we find Rezia with her Arabian maid Fatima. The Calif's

daughter is to wed Babekan, a Persian Prince, but she has hated him

ever since she saw Hueon in her vision. Fatima has discovered the

arrival of Hueon. It is high time, for in the beginning of the second

act we see the Calif with Babekan, who wants to celebrate the nuptials

at once. Rezia enters, but at the same time Hueon advances, recognizing

in Rezia the fair one of his dream. He fights, and stabs Babekan. The

Turks attack him, but Scherasmin blows his magic horn and compels them

to dance and laugh, until the fugitives have escaped.



In the forest they are overtaken, but Hueon and Scherasmin, who has come

after his master with Fatima, put the pursuers to flight.



Oberon now appears to the lovers, and makes them promise upon oath that

they will remain faithful to each other under every temptation. He

immediately after transports them to the port of Ascalon, from which

they are to sail homeward. Oberon now puts their constancy to the

proof. Puck conjures up the nymphs and the spirits of the air, who

raise an awful tempest. Hueon's ship sinks; the lovers are shipwrecked.

While Hueon seeks for help, Rezia is captured by the pirates, and

Hueon, returning to save her, is wounded and left senseless on the

beach. Oberon now causes him to fall into a magic sleep, which is to

last seven days.



In the third act we find Scherasmin and his bride, Fatima in Tunis

dressed as poor gardeners.



A corsair has saved the shipwrecked and sold them as slaves to the Emir

of Tunis. Though poor and in captivity they do not lose courage and

are happy that they are permitted to bear their hard lot together.



Meanwhile the seven days of Hueon's sleep have passed. Awaking, he

finds himself to his astonishment in Tunis, in the Emir's garden, with

his servant beside him, who is not less astonished at finding his

master.



Fatima, coming back, relates that she has discovered Rezia in the

Emir's harem. Hueon, who finds a nosegay with a message, which bids him

come to the myrtle-bower during the night, believes that it comes from

Rezia and is full of joy at the idea of meeting his bride. Great is

his terror, when the lady puts aside her veil, and he sees Roschana,

the Emir's wife. She has fallen in love with the noble knight, whom

she saw in the garden, but all her desires are in vain; he loathes her

and is about to escape, when the Emir enters, captures and sentences

him to be consumed by fire. Roschana is to be drowned. Rezia, hearing

of her lover's fate, implores the Emir to pardon him. But she has

already offended him by her unwillingness to listen to his

protestations of love, and when he hears that Hueon is her husband, he

condemns them to be burnt together. Their trials however are nearing

their end. Scherasmin has regained his long-lost horn, by means of

which he casts a spell on everybody, until, blowing it with all his

might, he calls Oberon to their aid. The Elfin-King appears

accompanied by Queen Titania, who is now happily reconciled to him and

thanking the lovers for their constancy, he brings them safely back to

Paris, where Charlemagne holds his court. The Emperor's wrath is now

gone and he warmly welcomes Sir Hueon with his lovely bride, promising

them honor and glory for their future days.





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