Opera Scotland

Vision of Thérèse The Vision of Thérèse; Drömmen am Thérèse; Dreaming of Thérèse

Music

Lars Johan Werle (born Gävle, 23 June 1926)

Text

Lars Runsten

Source

Short story 'Pour une nuit d'amour' by Émile Zola

 

Premieres

First Performance: Stockholm (Rotunda), 1964.

First Performance in UK: Edinburgh (Gateway Theatre), 2 September 1974.

 

Background

Werle's first opera was a chamber piece commissioned for the opening of the Rotunda, a new auditorium at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm. The layout was experimental, with the singers performing on a circular stage surrounded by the audience. The musicians, a band 26-strong, were then placed in a circle outside (behind) the audience.

 

Main characters

Thérèse, a young aristocratic lady

Françoise, her naid

Colombel, her fosterbrother

Julien, apost-office clerk (barityone)

Street-sweeper (mezzo-soprano)

Stranger

Blind Violin Player

 

Plot summary

Julien is a lonely and introverted post-office clerk, who has a hobby of playing the flute. He is attracted to Thérèse, a wealthy neighbour, who is aware of his interest, but ignores him. Her young fosterbrother Colombel lives with her, and during a bout of sado-masochistic activity she accidentally kills him. Julien is called in and instructed to dispose of the corpse, with his reward being a night with this woman of his dreams. He dlly takes the body away and throws it in the river, but, unable to face the prospect of claiming hic reward, he drowns himself.

The Cast

Blind Violin Player
 
Colombel
 Thérèse's fosterbrother
First Factory Girl
 
First Officer
 
Françoise
 Thérèse's maid
Julien
 a post-office clerk
Second Factory Girl
 
Second Officer
 
Stranger
 
Street-sweeper
 
Thérèse
 an aristocratic lady
Third Officer
 

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