Opera Scotland

Jacobin The Jacobin; Jakobín

Music
Antonín Dvořák (born Nelahozeves, 8 September 1841; died Prague, 1 May 1904)

Text
Marie Červinková-Riegrová.

Source
Original.

Premieres
First performance: Prague (National Theatre), 12 February 1889 (revised 15 June 1898).
First UK performance: London (St George’s Hall), 22 July 1947 (concert).
First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Festival Theatre), 14 August 1995.
Scottish Opera première: As above.

Background
Dvořák composed operas throughout his career in a variety of styles, from gentle comedy to historical pageant. Given that his orchestral and chamber music was extremely popular in Britain and elsewhere, it may seem surprising that so few of his operas have been performed here. Having completed his serious historical drama Dimitri, which was related in plot to Musorgsky's Boris Godunov, he turned to something lighter. The Jacobin is a delightful comedy that even Dvořák thought might be too Czech in character to export easily. It has only been staged by two of the major British opera companies, Welsh National in 1980 and Scottish Opera in 1995, with the Buxton Festival following in 2014.

Characters
Bohuš of Harasov, son of Count Vilém (baritone)
Julie, his wife (soprano)
Benda, teacher, choirmaster and composer (tenor)
Terinka, his daughter (soprano)
Jiří, a young gamekeeper (tenor)
Filip, the Burgrave, a police official (baritone)
Count Vilém of Harasov, a retired general (bass)
Adolf of Harasov, the Count’s nephew (bass-baritone)
Lotinka, the Count’s housekeeper (mezzo-soprano)

Plot Summary
Bohuš, having quarrelled with his father over his liberal opinions, has spent several years living elsewhere, particularly in France. His cousin Adolf has succeeded in destroying his reputation by falsely accusing him of sympathising with the revolutionary movement in France, the Jacobins. He arrives home in secret, accompanied by his French wife, to discover that he has just been disinherited in favour of Adolf. The main plot shows the old Count being at last made aware of the duplicity of Adolf and Filip, so that he accepts his son’s marriage to a foreigner and restores Bohuš to his rightful position. There is a delightful sub-plot concerning the musician Benda. His daughter wishes to marry Jiří, but is herself coveted by Filip, who is corrupt and happy to use his power against both Benda and Bohuš. Benda brings the opera to a happy conclusion by directing the choirboys in one of his own compositions which featured in comic rehearsal scenes earlier in the opera.

The Cast

Adolf
 of Harasov, the Count's nephew
Benda
 teacher, choirmaster and composer
Bohuš
 of Harasov, son of Count Vilém
Count Vilém
 of Harasov, a retired general
Filip
 the Burgrave (a police official)
Jiří
 a young villager
Julie
 wife of Bohuš
Lotinka
 the Count's housekeeper
Terinka
 Benda's daughter

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