17 May 2007
HANDEL: Jephtha (HWV 70)
Jephtha, oratorio in three parts (HWV 70).
Andromaca: Dramma per musica in three acts.
Ermione: Azione tragica in two acts.
Ippolito ed Aricia: Tragedia in five acts.
Idomeneo: Opera seria in three acts.
Paride ed Elena: Dramma per musica in five acts.
Orphée: Opera in four acts.
Music composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck (arranged by Hector Berlioz, 1859). Libretto by Ranieri de' Calzabigi
Alceste, ou Le triomphe d’Alcide: Tragédie en musique in a prologue and five acts.
Alceste: Tragédie opéra in three acts.
Medea: Melodramma tragico in three acts.
Oedipe à Colone: Tragédie lyrique in three acts.
Elektra: Tragedy in one act.
Fedra: Dramma per musica in two acts.
Les Troyens: Grand opéra in five acts.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Music drama in three acts.
Ariadne auf Naxos, Oper with a prologue and one act. Music composed by Richard Strauss. Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
Der Schauspieldirektor [The Impresario], Singspiel in one act, K486.
Divertimento teatrale in one act.
Andrea Chénier, an opera in four acts.
La figlia del reggimento [La Fille du régiment (‘The Daughter of the Regiment’)], Opéra comique in two acts.
L’elisir d’amore, Melodramma giocoso in two acts.
Jephtha, oratorio in three parts (HWV 70).
Music composed by G. F. Handel. Libretto by Thomas Morell, after Chapter 11 of The Book of Judges and G. Buchanan's Jephthas sive votum (translation: Jeptha or the Vow) (1554).
First performance: 26 February 1752, Covent Garden Theatre, London
|Jephtha, Judge Of Israel and leader of the army||Tenor|
|Storgè, wife of Jephtha||Mezzo-Soprano|
|Iphis, Jephtha's daughter, betrothed to Hamor||Soprano|
|Hamor, a warrior, betrothed to Iphis||Countertenor|
|Zebul, Jephtha's half-brother, a warrior||Bass|
Setting: Ancient Israel
The Israelites, who for their idolatry had been oppressed by the Ammonites for eighteen years, become repentant, and invite Jephtha, a son of Gilead, to be their Captain in the war with their enemies. He accepts the trust, and (after a valedictory interview with his wife), in the ardour of his desire for victory, offers up to God a vow that if he should return home a conqueror, whatsoever cometh forth of his house to meet him, shall be dedicated to the Lord; --which is followed by a general invocation of the mercy and blessing of the Almighty. His wife, in his absence, being troubled with forebodings of some pending evil, her daughter attempts to dispel her gloomy apprehensions. In the following scene, Jephtha, having failed in his attempts to secure peace by a treaty, arouses the army of Israel for the battle.
News being brought to Iphis of her father's victory, she resolves to go out to meet him on his return. Zebul celebrates the happiness resulting from the triumph that had been gained, and is joined by Jephtha, who commends the valour of his chiefs, but piously ascribes the glory of the event to God, --whose Omniscience and omnipotence are celebrated by a chorus of the people. Jephtha is then met by his daughter and a train of virgins, who welcome his return with music and dancing. Struck with horror and despair at the sight, he makes known his vow; --his friends expostulate with him; --his daughter resigns her fate to his will--he is torn with anguish and remorse, but resolves on the fulfillment of his vow and the scene is closed by a chorus of the Israelites expressive of the mysterious workings of God's providence, and the uncertainty of human enjoyment.
Jephtha prepares to offer up his daughter, who, in humble resignation to what is thought to be the will awe Heaven pathetically bids adieu to all worldly joys and prepares for the sacrifice. The Priests, in fear and awe, appeal to the Almighty for guidance upon which an Angel appears and, forbidding the rites to proceed, declares that Iphis shall be devoted to a life of celibacy and the service of God. Jephtha and his friends successively acknowledge with gratitude the interposition of Providence in sparing the life of Iphis;--she and Hamor, to whom she was betrothed, piously submit themselves to the Divine will;--and her parents and friends, in conclusion, rejoice at the happy termination of their troubles, and the peace which had been secured to their country.