19 Nov 2006


Der Vampyr, romantic opera in two acts in the version by Hans Pfitzner (1924).

Music composed by Heinrich August Marschner (1795-1861). Libretto by Wilhelm August Wohlbrück after the play Der Vampir oder die Totenbraut by Heinrich Ludwig Ritter.

First Performance: 29 March 1828, Theater der Stadt Leipzig, Leipzig

Principal Characters:
Lord Ruthven, the vampire Baritone
Sir John Berkley Bass
Janthe, his daughter Soprano
Sir Humphrey Davenaut Bass
Malwina, his daughter Soprano
Edgar Aubry, employee of Davenaut's Tenor
The Vampire Master Spoken role
John Perth, Lord Ruthven's steward Spoken role
Emmy, his daughter and Dibdin's fiancee Soprano
George Dibdin, servant of Davenaut's Tenor
Berkley's manservant Bass
James Gadshil Tenor
Richard Scrop Tenor
Robert Green Bass
Toms Blunt Bass
Suse Blunt, Toms's wife Mezzo-Soprano

Setting: Sir Humphrey Davenaut's Estate in Scotland, 18th century


The vampire Lord Ruthven appeals to his Vampire Master to grant him another year of life on earth before being condemned to hell. The Vampire Master agrees provided Ruthven can bring three more victims to him before midnight. Almost instantly, Janthe, daughter of Lord Berkley, falls into Ruthven's clutches and is despatched in the vampires' cave. Her father's rescue party comes belatedly onto the scene and Ruthven is accused of her murder. He is stabbed and left for dead. Aubry, a member of the house of Davenant, comes upon Ruthven's near-lifeless body, however, and helps him recover in the moonlight. Horrified at realising that Ruthven is a vampire, Aubry is nevertheless sworn to secrecy because Ruthven had once saved his life. At a wedding party among the local peasantry shortly afterwards, Ruthven sets his sights on the bride, Emma, lures her away and murders her. Finally, Malwina Davenant prepares to marry Ruthven himself according to her father's wishes (she would prefer Aubry), but Aubry reveals the vampire's true nature and Ruthven is straightaway dragged down to hell by a demonic crew. Davenant awards Malwina's hand to Aubry.

[Synopsis Source: Boosey & Hawkes]

Click here for the complete libretto (original 4-act version)