Opera Scotland

Kaspar Hauser - Child of Europe

Music

Rory Boyle (born Ayr)

Text

Dilys Rose

 

Premieres

First performance: Glasgow (New Athenaeum Theatre), 20 March 2010.

Scottish Opera premiere: N/A.

 

Background

Rory Boyle studied at the RSAMD under Frank Spedding, then with Lennox Berkeley in London. He now teaches at the RSAMD. His extensive list of compositions covers most forms of music including solo piano, orchestral and opera. He has completed four operas for children. The composition of Kaspar Hauser was  supported by a Creative Scotland Award. Dilys Rose is an established poet and novelist who has taught Creative Writing at Edinburgh University. She previously collaborated with Rory Boyle on The Fires of Bride.

 

Main Characters

Kaspar Hauser (baritone)

Man in Black (bass)

Georg Weickmann (tenor)

G Friedrich Daumer (tenor)

Daumer's sister (mezzo-soprano)

Marga, a Mesmerist (mezzo-soprano)

Philip, Earl of Stanhope (bass)

Meyer (tenor)

 

Plot Summary

The child known as Kaspar Hauser has always been an object of mystery and the source of extensive speculation. He is recorded as having been found on Whit Monday, 26 May 1828 at 4pm, standing in a square in Nuremburg. He seemed to be sensitive to sunlight and not entirely comfortable in his clothing. In his hands was a letter addressed to the captain of the local cavalry. His age was estimated to be 15 or 16, and he simply repeated his name and the request "I want to be a horseman like my father".

His speech was limited and strange, suggesting an upbringing isolated from normal contact. He responded well to the attempts of helpers to civilise him - he learned to read and write quickly. At first he was considered as something of an innocent, and as his celebrity spread, books were written about him. During the ensuing four years, however, he was always the object of controversy, and two attempts were made on his life, the second one being successful.

Dilys Rose's libretto attempts to grapple with these views. It is not only a mystery regarding his birth and death, but also a story involving child neglect and exploitation.

The Cast

Anselm Von Feuerbach
 a retired lawyer
Barwoman One
 
Barwoman Two
 
Captain's Servant
 
Daumer's Mother
 
Daumer's Sister
 
Else
 
G Friedrich Daumer
 a scholar
Georg Weickmann
 
Gisela
 the electric girl
Gretchen
 the girl who lives with pigs
Hanneline
 
Innkeeper
 
Jacob Beck
 
Kaspar Hauser
 
Madelaine
 
Man in Black
 
Marga
 the Mesmerist
Marijke
 
Meyer
 
Philip
 Earl of Stanhope
Showman
 
Ulla
 the Somnambulist
Wildman Boris
 

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