by Heinrich Marschner
Opera you can Sink Your Teeth Into!
Amid a witches’ Sabbath of all sorts of evil spirits (#1), the Vampire Master grants Lord Ruthven one more year among men if he is able, in the next twenty-four hours, to drink the blood of three virgins, thus also killing them. Ruthven exults in the wonder and pleasure of his bloodthirsty life, then finishes the seduction of Janthe Berkley. Her father and his men are searching for her, but only find her dead body. Berley wounds Ruthven mortally. But Edgar Aubry, happening upon Ruthven, is forced through previous indebtedness, to help Aubry into the revivifying moonlight and to swear not to tell anyone what Ruthven really is until the clock strikes one on the next night. Ruthven comes back to life.
Malwina Davenaut’s eighteenth birthday dawns, and she is glad to think her beloved Aubry is coming back from London just to help her celebrate. He arrives and they pledge their love to each other. Her father arrives and is very pleased with himself because he has arranged for Malwina to marry the rich Earl of Marsden. Edgar and Malwina are less than pleased. The finale of the first act begins with Davenaut’s majordomo, George Dibdin, announcing the birthday festivities. Davenaut introduces the Earl of Marsden, who looks exactly like Ruthven but tells Aubry that Ruthven is his brother. Aubry sees through this and is about to reveal Ruthven as a vampire, when Ruthven reminds him of his oath. The wedding is fixed for that same evening and, while everyone except Malwina and Aubry is happy about this, at least the loving couple have faith that somehow things will work out.
Act II begins with the wedding festivities for George and his intended, Emmy Perth. Drinking and dancing are indulged in. But George hasn’t arrived, and Emmy isn’t happy about this. Her interest perks up, though, when the bad news about Janthe arrives, and she recounts a story she heard her father tell about a vampire. This particular number mentions the “pale man” and, in so doing, looks forward to “The Flying Dutchman” by Richard Wagner, in which the heroine Senta refers to the Dutchman in the same terms. Ruthven arrives, having heard about the wedding, and plans for Emmy to be the second of his victims, Malwina of course being the final one. Offering to pay for the wedding and bestowing a magnificent ring upon the bride, Ruthven begins the seduction of Emmy, to the disgust of George. Aubry arrives wanting somehow to stop Ruthven, and they have a fruitless confrontation. Aubry is in even deeper despair now, but still can’t give up his hope, faith, and determination. The scene returns to Ruthven and Emmy, now sans George. Ruthven’s hypnotic powers overcome Emmy. A very famous drinking quartet ensues as we are led back to Emmy’s wedding festivities. This number was encored at all the early performances of “Der Vampyr”. James Gadshill, Richard Scrop, Robert Green, and Toms Blunt sing, in essense, a sort of “The Four Seasons” of drinking. But Suse Blunt is not happy with her good-for-nothing drinking husband or his three cronies. The whole contretemps is interrupted by a shot, whereupon George appears announcing that Emmy has been murdered by a vampire and that he has shot the Earl of Marsden. The people are not happy.
The scene shifts, one last time, to the Davenaut estate where Malwina and Aubry aren’t happy either, but they reassure each other that by faith everything will turn out well.
Everything turns out well.
Details? The wedding begins, Aubry pleads for a delay of only a day (when his oath will no longer bind him) but is kicked off the premises. Ruthven insists the ceremony be carried on without delay because his time is running out. Aubry forces his way back in and, at the peril of the loss of his own soul, is just about to reveal who and what Ruthven (still in his disguise as the Earl of Marsden) really is, when the clock strikes one. Aubry makes his revelation, though not under any peril since the clock struck. Ruthven is dragged off, a la Don Giovanni, to perdition. Davenaut repents of his money-grubbing ways and allows Aubry and Malwina to pledge their troth to each other. And the people (the chorus, of course) are happy.
|Friday||May 26||7:30pm||Buy Tickets|
|Saturday||May 27||7:30pm||Buy Tickets|
|Sunday||May 28||3:00pm||Buy Tickets|
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|Sunday||June 4||3:00pm||Buy Tickets|
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