Preciosa





In four acts by ALEXANDER WOLFF.



Musical accompaniment by CHARLES MARIA VON WEBER.





Though Preciosa is not an opera, we may feel justified in admitting it

into our collection, as the music, which Weber wrote to it has alone

given celebrity to Wolff's drama, which would otherwise have long been

forgotten.



This musical composition is justly called one of the German nation's

jewels, and it shows all the best qualities of Weber's rich music. It

was written after the Freischuetz and done in the incredibly short space

of nine days, and owed its success principally to the really national

coloring of melody, which has made some of its songs so popular.



The libretto is well done, the subject both attracting and interesting

to the hearer. The scene is laid in Spain. The first act introduces

us to Madrid and takes us into the house of a noble Spaniard, named Don

Francesco de Carcano. His son, Don Alonzo has fallen violently in love

with a Bohemian girl, called Preciosa, whose beauty, virtue and charms

are on everybody's lips. The father, wishing to know her, calls her

before him and she comes with her people, enchanting the old nobleman

as well as his son by her noble bearing and her exquisite songs.



The second act represents a forest with the gipsies' camp. Alonzo, who

has told his father that he followed the army, but has in reality been

seeking Preciosa, at length finds her out and tries to win her. But

though she, returns his love, she is yet unwilling to follow him, and

he resolves to link his fate with that of the Bohemians, in order to

prove to Preciosa that his love is real and true. Dressed as a common

hunter he follows his new friend, and the gipsies, who are all governed

by Preciosa's will swear, never to betray him.



The third act introduces us into the castle of Don Azevedo in Valencia,

a friend of Don Francesco's. The former is about to celebrate his

silver-wedding. Eugenio, his son, hearing that Preciosa is in the

neighborhood, resolves to win her for his father's festival having

heard of the latter's delight at seeing the gipsy-girl in his friend's

house at Madrid. Eugenio rouses the jealousy of Alonzo, who begins a

quarrel which ends by Alonzo's being sent to prison.



The chief of the Bohemians and old mother Viarda who see too late, that

they have come into dangerous grounds, break up their camp, but

Preciosa, anxious about her lover, takes flight.



She is caught by the chief, but, seizing Alonzo's gun, which was left

lying under a tree and threatening to fire if he does not obey her, she

forces him to follow her into the castle.







The last act takes place in Azevedo's castle, where his wife, Donna

Clara, touched by Preciosa's loveliness, is willing to assist her in

liberating her lover. Meanwhile mother Viarda comes with the other

gipsies to betray Alonzo's secret, asking one thousand scudi and her

chief's liberty. At this moment the youth's father, Don Francesco,

comes to offer his congratulations at the silver-wedding of his friend.

He finds his son, whom he pardons, Preciosa having for his sake agreed

to renounce her bridegroom. While bidding her hosts a sad farewell,

Preciosa is so overcome by her feelings, that Donna Clara entreats her

husband to buy the girl, whom she believes to be a stolen child. Don

Fernando explains to the Bohemians, that he has the right to liberate

Preciosa, who has been taken in his grounds, if they should be unable

to prove her gipsy-descent. Old Viarda, finding that her schemes have

fallen through, shows by a mark on Preciosa's shoulder, that the girl

is Donna Clara's own daughter, who was robbed many years ago and was

believed by her desolate parents to be drowned. In consideration of

Preciosa's entreaties the gipsies are pardoned and only ordered to

leave the country for ever. Preciosa is of course united to her

faithful lover Alonzo.





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