The Departure

In one Act.

Libretto by A. VON STEIGENTESCH (end of 18th century).


With Music by EUGENE D'ALBERT.

By this opera the young composer, whose previous dramatic efforts were

to a certain extent unsuccessful, has proved that his forte lies in

comic opera.

The Departure was given in Dresden in O
tober 1900, and was a complete


The whole opera teems with bright and merry melodies, wrought-in with

consumate art, and the text, though somewhat frivolous is artistically

adapted to the music.

The principal motive is the love-motive, its strains which run through

the whole opera are not only charming but original. The orchestration

is in the style at present in vogue, which subordinates the voices more

or less to the music.

The following is a short synopsis of the libretto.

The husband Gilfen rather neglects his pretty wife Louise, while his

friend Trott pays court to her.

In the first scene we find Gilfen undecided, whether to set out on a

journey, or not.

Trott desiring his absence offers to do everything in his power to

hasten his friend's departure, of course all for friendship's sake.

Gilfen puts him to the test by pretending to need all sorts of things.

He begs Trott to fetch a parcel lying at the custom-house, and weighing

forty pounds; a letter from the post-office, a rose-tree for Louise,

and a travelling-map, which was only to be had at a stationer's shop at

a considerable distance.

Before leaving the house Trott finds an opportunity to tell Louise that

he does all this for her sake only. Gilfen, finding him with his wife,

sends him on his errands and then leaves Louise to herself. She is

filled with sadness by her husband's indifference and sings a pretty

song about a youth, who makes love to a maiden, and a man, who neglects

his wife. Gilfen returns, attracted by the song, and guessing that his

wife still loves him as before he decides to stay at home.

Louise leaves him and Trott returns out of breath and laden with

parcels. The husband thanks him, but explains that there is still a

letter to be written, for which an important document is needed, and is

to be found in a chest on the next floor. Trott is hastening away,

when Gilfen implies, that he must have the chest itself. Seeing the

carriage, waiting outside Trott rushes away, determined to do his

utmost for friendship's sake. Then Gilfen appears before his wife in

travelling costume.--In the interview, which ensues, Louise shows him

clearly, that her heart is still his, but that she longs for more

tenderness and love. They are interrupted by Trott's entrance,

dragging in the heavy chest. Gilfen declares that he has now

everything he wants, and takes an affectionate farewell of his wife and

his friend.

Left alone, the latter loses no time in making love to Louise, but all

he gains is a friendly handshake. Mistaking her coolness for timidity,

he becomes bolder. At this moment Gilfen re-enters, telling them, that

his carriage has broken down. Trott hastens out, to see to its repair

and leaves husband and wife alone.

Now Gilfen owns that the carriage is intact and that he only come back,

because he felt, that he had left the best thing behind him. "What is

it, that would keep you at home?" asks Louise. "A wife, who would

plead with a smile: do not go," he answers.--

A pretty duet follows, in which they indulge in sweet reminiscences of

the past, and at last discover, that they still love each other as

fondly as ever. Embracing her husband Louise whispers smilingly: "Do

not go!"

When Trott returns Gilfen astonishes him by telling him that he has

decided to stay at home. Trott perceives at last that it is his turn

to go. While he still lingers, he receives a note from Louise, showing

him unmistakeably, that he is not wanted in their house. He retires

crestfallen, while Louise and Gilfen gaily wave their hands to the

departing friend.