Opera Scotland

Euryanthe

Music

Carl Maria von Weber (born Eutin, 18 November 1786; died London, 5 June 1826)

Text

Helmina von Chezy

Source

Anonymous French romance (13th century).

 

Premières

First performance: Vienna (Kärntnertortheater), 25 October 1823.

First UK performance: London (Covent Garden), 29 June 1833.

First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (King’s Theatre), 3 September 1958.

Scottish Opera première: N/A.

 

Background

Weber abandoned Die drei Pintos, which had the makings of an excellent comic opera, when the opportunity came to compose Euryanthe for Vienna. The loss may seem all the sadder given that the Viennese work turned out to be such a broken-backed piece, in spite of the immediate recognition of the music’s quality. The libretto has always been subjected to ridicule, and various attempts have been made to repair the damage, including one that was brought to Edinburgh in 1958. Impatience with the text becomes all the greater as Weber’s great music becomes more familiar. For the music is superb, containing several passages of great power, as well as many that are beautiful. It must have influenced later composers, including Wagner. It is well worth the occasional revival, even if only in concert form.

 

Main Characters

King Ludwig VI (bass)

Adolar, Count of Nevers (tenor)

Lysiart, Count of Forêt (baritone)

Euryanthe of Savoy (soprano)

Eglantine of Puiset (soprano)

 

Plot Summary

Adolar’s sister, Emma, has killed herself following the death of her lover Udo in the civil war raging between Louis and some of his nobles. Her ghost will have some influence on events. Adolar, during his own absence at war, has married Euryanthe, and sent her back to his castle to await his return. Another guest at the castle is his old friend Eglantine, who loves him and is driven to jealous hatred of the couple following this marriage. As the opera commences, Adolar is at court, singing his wife’s praises. Lysiart challenges him to a bet that Euryanthe will prove unfaithful. Eglantine has learned from Euryanthe of a vision she and Adolar had of Emma’s ghost, involving the poisoned ring she had used to kill herself. At night, Eglantine goes to the burial vault and removes the ring from the tomb, but is discovered by Lysiart, who has just arrived to take up the challenge. They now conspire together, and she gives Lysiart Emma’s ring, which Lysiart is thus able to brandish at court as supposed evidence of Euryanthe’s faithlessness. He thereby wins the bet and takes possession of Adolar’s lands. The now impoverished knight drags his wife off to the wilderness with the intention of killing her. When Adolar is attacked by a serpent (Emma’s spirit), Euryanthe saves him, so he decides not to kill her, but simply leaves her to die. She is found by the king and court, who believe her explanation of Eglantine’s perfidy. They now go to Lysiart’s newly acquired castle where he is about to marry Eglantine. But, with the assistance of Emma’s spirit, she is now consumed by guilt, and when the king announces that Euryanthe is dead, she says her motivation was entirely her love for Adolar. Lysiart kills her, and is arrested, so Adolar’s property is duly restored. Euryanthe (restored to health) and Adolar are reconciled.

The Cast

Adolar
 Count of Nevers
Bertha
 
Eglantine
 of Puiset
Euryanthe
 of Savoy
Louis VI
 
Lysiart
 Count of Foret
Rudolf
 Adolar's page

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2017

Site by SiteBuddha