Wedding's Morning





HOCHZEITSMORGEN



In one act by KARL VON KASKEL.



Text by FRANZ KOPPEL-ELLFELD.





This opera, which was represented for the first time at the Royal Opera

in Dresden on April 29th, 1893, is the first attempt of its young

composer, and as such shows considerable talent, even genius.



Indeed it sins rather in too much than in too little invention; it

would seem that Kaskel's brain, overflowing with musical ideas, wanted

to put them all into this one first child of his muse. This promises

well for the future, but it explains, why it lacks the great attraction

of Cavalleria with which it has some relation, without imitating it in

the least. The hearer's attention is tired by too much and divided by

lack of unity. Nevertheless the composer has understood how to make

the most of a somewhat weak libretto, and the manner in which the

musical interest increases from scene to scene is admirable in a

beginner.







The scene is laid in an Italian Frontier Fortress near Mentone at the

foot of Col di Tenda. It may be added here, that the national

colouring is particularly well hit.



Giovanna, the daughter of Regina Negri an inn-keeper is betrothed to

Pietro Montalto, Captain of the Bersaglieri; and the wedding is fixed

for the following morning. Before her betrothal Giovanna has carried

on a flirtation with Paolo Tosta, a wild fellow, who unfortunately took

the girl's play seriously, and seeing the friend of his childhood

estranged from him, has turned smuggler and head of a band of

Anarchists. Giovanna is afraid of him, and trembles for her

bridegroom, whom she loves truly.



However, when she sees Paolo taken captive and sentenced to death by

her own lover, she implores the latter to deal mercifully with the

miscreant. She has neglected to tell him of her early friendship for

the captive, and so Pietro, who does not understand her softness for

the ruffian refuses, his soldierly honour being at stake. But at last

love conquers and Giovanna extracts a promise from him, to let the

prisoner escape during the night.



Left alone, Pietro's keen sense of duty reawakes and he leaves the

place without freeing the captive.



However Toto, a dealer in tobacco, Paolo's friend and helpmate in

smuggling arrives and releases him. Instead of escaping Paolo seeks

Giovanna, and when she turns from him with loathing, he swears, either

to possess her, or to destroy her bridegroom.







On the following morning Pietro hears from Bastiano, the Bersaglieri

Sergeant, that the keys of the prison have been stolen, and the

prisoner has escaped. Pietro rejoices, that this happened without his

own intervention and turns full of happiness to his bride, who stands

ready for the wedding. The wedding-procession is slowly moving towards

church, when it is suddenly arrested by Paolo, who throws himself

between the lovers. "Mine she was, before she knew you," he cries out,

"to me she swore eternal faith, which she has now falsely broken."

Giovanna, struck dumb by terror, is unable to defend herself.--Pietro

orders his men to recapture the ruffian, but quick as thought Paolo has

deprived the soldier nearest to him of his sabre and with the words

"Thou shalt die first," has thrust it towards Pietro. Alas, it is

Giovanna's breast, he pierces; she has shielded her lover with her own

body.--With a sweet smile she turns to Pietro, who implores her to

speak. "Pardon me," she sighs faintly, "he was long a stranger to my

heart; thee alone I loved, to thee I was faithful unto death." With

those loving words she sinks back expiring.





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