The Devil's Part


In three acts by AUBER.

Text by SCRIBE.

This composition might rather be called a Vaudeville with musical

accompaniment, than an opera. The music is not above mediocrity,

though we find many pleasing and even exquisite melodies in it. That

it has held its present place on the stage for the past forty years is

due p
incipally to its excellent libretto, which is full of comical and

ingenious situations. The principal role is given to Carlo Broschi.

He is no other than the famous singer Farinelli, who as a matter

of fact did heal a Spanish King from madness, though it was not

Ferdinand IV, but his predecessor Philip V, the husband of Elizabeth of

Ferrara. Notwithstanding these anachronisms the libretto ranks with

the best.

Carlo Broschi has placed his only sister Casilda in a convent near

Madrid, to save her from the persecutions of the clergy, who have been

trying for reasons of their own to give the beautiful maiden to the

King. Casilda confesses to her brother that she is in love with an

unknown cavalier, who entertains a like passion for her, but Carlo, a

poor minstrel, considers that his sister, a milliner, does not stand

high enough in the social scale to permit a lawful union with a


Carlo meets the King accidentally. He has fallen into deep melancholy,

and Carlo succeeds in cheering him by singing an old romance, which he

learnt from his mother. Both King and Queen are full of gratitude, and

Carlo soon finds himself at court and loaded with honors. In his new

position he meets with Raphael d'Estuniga, Casilda's lover.

In despair at having lost his lady-love he is about to appeal to the

Devil for help, when Carlo appears, presenting himself as Satan. He

promises his help on condition that Raphael shall give him one half of

all his winnings. This is a condition easily accepted, and Raphael is

made a Court Official through Carlo's influence.

Meanwhile the clergy vainly try to ensnare the King again; Carlo is

like his better self; he disperses his Sire's melancholy by

singing to him and rekindles his interest in government.

Raphael, feeling quite secure in his league with the Devil, begins to

play; he is fortunate, but Carlo never fails to claim the share, which

is willingly surrendered to him.

All at once Casilda appears on the scene to put herself under the

protection of her brother, the priests having found out her refuge.

She recognizes the King, and tells her brother that it was he, to whom

she was taken against her will. The King believes her to be a ghost

and his reason threatens to give way, but Carlo assures him that the

girl is living. The Queen, who knows nothing of her husband's secret,

here interrupts the conversation and bids Carlo follow her.

Meanwhile Raphael and Casilda have an interview, but the King comes

suddenly upon them and at once orders Raphael to be put to death, the

latter having failed in the reverence due to his Sovereign. Raphael

however trusting in the Devil's help does not let his spirits sink and

Carlo actually saves him by telling the King, that Casilda is Raphael's


But the Grand-Inquisitor succeeds in discovering this untruth, and in

exciting the King's anger against his favorite. Carlo, much

embarrassed, obtains an interview with the King, and confessing the

whole truth assures him, that the Queen knows as yet nothing and

implores him to give his thoughts and his affections once more to her

and to his country. The King, touched to generosity, gives his

benediction to the lovers, together with a new title for Raphael, who

is henceforth to be called Count of Puycerda. Now at last Raphael

learns that the so-called Devil is his bride's brother, who tells him

that this time his share lies in making two lovers happy, a share which

gives him both pleasure and content.