Opera Scotland

Maid of Orleans The Maid of Orleans; Orleanskaya Dyeva

Music

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (born Kamsko-Votkinsk, 7 May 1840; St Petersburg, 6 November 1893.

Text

The composer, after the translation of Schiller by Vasily Zhukovsky

Source

Drama Die Jungfrau von Orleans 1801 by Friedrich vo Schiller (1759-1805)

 

Premieres

First Performance: St Petersburg (Mariinsky Theatre), 25 February 1881.

First Performance in UK: London (Collegiate Theatre), 22 February 1978.

First Performance in Scotland: Glasgow (Exhibition and Conference Centre), 10 August 1990.

Scottish Opera premiere: N/A.

 

Background

Eugene Onegin was composed with student performers in mind. The Maid of Orleans was very different, a grand opera in the French style, based on the play by Schiller, and largely composed during a trip to Italy and France. The initial performance was not of the required level of grandeur, and the piece was well received it only had a handful of further performances in the composers lifetime. When the Bolshoi brought it to Glasgow it was really only known from recordings. Its British premiere was a student production which, again, could not reflect the required level of grandeur. That was not a problem in Glasgow, though it must be said that the work is very patchy in quality.

 

Main Characters

Joan of Arc (soprano)

Thibaut, Joan's father (tenor)

King Charles VII of France (tenor)

Agnès Sorel, his mistress (soprano)

Dunois, a supporter of the king (baritone)

Lionel, a Burgundian knight (baritone)

 

Plot Summary

Thibaut hopes his daughter will marry Raymond, who can defend her in these difficult times. He thinks that Joan's visions are the work of the devil. Joan is drawn to leave her pleasant home life and do what she can to save France from the English. King Charles is depressed by the succession of military defeats, and the display ofminstrels and court entertainers doesn't help. His only interest is his mistress, Agnès Sorel. Dunois tries to raise his spirits, without success. However Joan arrives, having already achieved one spectacular victory. Charles appoints her to lead his armies, and she sets off with the Archbishop's blessing. On the battlefield, Lionel, a Burgundian knight, fighting on the English side, is beaten by her in single combat, and falls in love with Joan. He rejoins the French side to be with her. At the Coronation of Charles in Rheims Cathedral. At this point, Joan's father denounces her, believing her to be an agent of the devil. She is unable to respond due to her feelings of guilt because of her love for Lionel. She is then repudiated by the people, and herself breaks with Lionel, seeing him as the cause of her troubles. .Later, she meets again with Lionel and they are reconciled, but they are found by a band of English soldiers. Lionel is killed and Joan taken prisoner. In the final scene the preparations for her execution take place, but her angel voices give consolation as she is tied to the stake.

The Cast

Agnès Sorel
 the King's mistress
Angel voice
 
Archbishop
 
Bertrand
 an old peasant
Charles VII
 King of France
Dunois
 an officer of the King
Jeanne
 Joan of Arc
Lionel
 a Burgundian knight
Lore
 
Raymond
 a villager
Soldier
 
Thibaut
 Joan's father

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