Joseph In Egypt

In three acts by ETIENNE HENRY MEHUL.


This opera, which has almost disappeared from the French stage, is

still esteemed in Germany and always will be so, because, though clad

in the simplest garb, and almost without any external outfit, its music

is grand, noble and classic; it equals the operas of Gluck, whose

influence may be traced, but it is free
from all imitation. Here we

have true music, and the deep strain of patriarchal piety so touching

in the Biblical recital finds grand expression.

Joseph, the son of Jacob, who was sold by his brothers, has by his

wisdom saved Egypt from threatening famine; he resides as governor in

Memphis under the name of Cleophas. But though much honored by the

King and all the people, he never ceases to long for his old father,

whose favorite child he was.

Driven from Palestine by this same famine, Jacob's sons are sent to

Egypt to ask for food and hospitality. They are tormented by pangs of

conscience, which Simeon is hardly able to conceal, when they are

received by the governor, who at once recognized them. Seeing their

sorrow and repentance, he pities them, and promises to receive them all

hospitably. He does not reveal himself but goes to meet his youngest

brother Benjamin and his blind father, whose mourning for his lost son

has not been diminished by the long years. Joseph induces his father

and brother to partake in the honors, which the people render to him.

The whole family is received in the governor's palace, where Simeon

consumed by grief and conscience-stricken at last confesses to his

father the selling of Joseph. Full of horror Jacob curses and disowns

his ten sons. But Joseph intervenes. Making himself known, he grants

full pardon and entreats his father to do the same.

The old man yields, and together they praise God's providence and