Le Domino Noir

In three acts by AUBER.

Text by SCRIBE.

This is one of the most charming comic operas, which were ever written

by this master. Graceful archness and elegance of style are its

characteristics, and these lose nothing from the presence of a gay and

easy temper which makes itself felt throughout. The same may be said

of the libretto.

The plot is well wo
ked out and entertaining. The scene is laid in

Madrid in our century.

The Queen of Spain gives a masqued ball, at which our heroine Angela is

present, accompanied by her companion Brigitta. There she is seen by

Horatio di Massarena, a young nobleman, who had met her a year before

at one of these balls and fell in love with, without knowing her.

This time he detains her, but is again unable to discover her real

name, and confessing his love for her, he receives the answer, that she

can be no more than a friend to him. Massarena detains her so long

that the clock strikes the midnight-hour as Angela prepares to seek her

companion. Massarena confesses to having removed Brigitta under some

pretext, and Angela in despair cries out, that she is lost. She is in

reality member of a convent, and destined to be Lady-Abbess, though she

has not yet taken the vows. She is very highly connected, and has

secretly helped Massarena to advance in his career as a

diplomatist.--Great is her anxiety to return in her convent after

midnight, but she declines all escort, and walking alone through the

streets, she comes by chance into the house of Count Juliano, a

gentleman of somewhat uncertain character, and Massarena's friend.

Juliano is just giving a supper to his gay friends and Angela bribes

his housekeeper Claudia, to keep her for the night. She appears before

the guests disguised as an Arragonian waiting-maid, and charms them

all, and particularly Massarena with her grace and coquetry. But as

the young gentlemen begin to be insolent, she disappears, feeling

herself in danger of being recognized. Massarena, discovering in her

the charming black domino, is very unhappy to see her in such

company.--Meanwhile Angela succeeds in getting the keys of the convent

from Gil-Perez, the porter, who had also left his post, seduced by his

love of gormandizing and had come to pay court to Claudia. Angela

troubles his conscience and frightens him with her black mask, and

flies. When she has gone, the house-keeper confesses that her

pretended Arragonian was a stranger, by all appearance a noble lady,

who sought refuge in Juliano's house.

In the third act Angela reaches the convent, but not without having had

some more adventures. Through Brigitta's cleverness her absence has

not been discovered. At length the day has come when she is to be made

Lady-Abbess and she is arrayed in the attire suited to her future high

office, when Massarena is announced to her.--He comes to ask to be

relieved from a marriage with Ursula, Lord Elfort's daughter, who is

destined for him, and who is also an inmate of the convent, but whom he

cannot love. Notwithstanding her disguise he recognizes his beloved

domino, who, happily for both is released by the Queen from her high

mission and permitted to choose a husband.--Of course it is no other,

than the happy Massarena; while Ursula is consoled by being made

Lady-Abbess, a position which well suits her ambitious temper.