Opera Scotland

Stella Maris Star of the Sea

Music

Alfred Kaiser (born 1872; died 1917)

Text

Henry Revers (in French),  German translation (for the premiere) by the composer.

 

Premieres

First Performance: Düsseldorf, 25 November 1910.

First Performance in UK: Liverpool (Royal Court Theatre), 15 April 1919.

First Performance in Scotland: Glasgow (Theatre Royal), 19 February 1920.

 

Background

New or unfamiliar Germanic works were not generally launched in Britain during the First World War. Kaiser's only opera, premiered successfully in Düsseldorf in 1910, had little time to catch on, with performances at Graz, Lucerne and Berlin, before the outbreak of hostilities, However when peace returned it was taken up remarkably quickly by the Carl Rosa company. The Breton setting may have helped. However the composer's name must have been a serious handicap at a time when the German emperor was still a hate figure. The fact that Kaiser was, himself, Belgian, must have made his situation problematic. Like many people in Britain, he took drastic action to minimise the difficulty, and Kaiser's name was effectively Frenchified throughout the war, appearing as De Keyser, or in the Glasgow programme simply as Keyser. His death in 1917 means he never had the opportunity to revert to the original form of his name.

After the Liverpool opening, the Carl Rosa production entered the company's repertoire, though only for two seasons. It appeared twice in London, at the King's, Hammersmith on 21 May, then at the Lyceum on 20 August. The Glasgow appearance took place the following February.

 

Main characters

Yanik (tenor).

Silvain (baritone)

Jean Pierre (baritone)

Fergou (bass)

Marga (soprano)

 

Plot Summary

The opera is in three acts, and set in a fishing village near Finisterre, on the western coast of Brittany.

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The Cast

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