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The Abduction of Rebecca (1846) by Eugène Delacroix (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
27 Aug 2007

MARSCHNER: Der Templer und die Jüdin

Der Templer und die Jüdin, Grosse romantische Oper in three acts.

Heinrich August Marschner: Der Templer und die Jüdin

Wilfred of Ivanhoe: Jon Pickering
Rebecca: Wakoh Shimada
Brian de Bois-Guilbert: Richard Malone
Cedric: Eelco von Jordis
Rowena: Lynn Martindale
Lucas: Jan-Hendrik Rootering
Wamba: Richard Panzner
Friar Tuck: Horst Emmanuel
Maurice: Lassi Partanen
Black Knight: Nikolaus Bergmann
Locksley: Ulrich Reuweiler
Anton Marik (cond.)
Live performance: 28 June 1981, Bühnen der Stadt Bielefeld

 

Music composed by Heinrich August Marschner. Libretto by Wilhelm August Wohlbrück, based on Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

First Performance: 22 December 1829, Stadttheater, Leipzig.

Principal Characters:
Maurice de Bracy, Norman knight Tenor
Brian de Bois–Guilbert, Norman knight Baritone
Rowena of Hargottstandstede, ward of Cedric of Rotherwood Soprano
Cedric of Rotherwood, Saxon knight Bass
Wamba, a fool in Cedric’s service Tenor
Friar Tuck, the Hermit of Copmanhurst Bass
The Black Knight (King Richard I ‘the Lionheart’) Bass
Rebecca, daughter of Isaac of York Soprano
Wilfred of Ivanhoe, son of Cedric Tenor
Locksley, captain of a band of outlaws Baritone
Lucas de Beaumanoir, Grand Master of the Knights Templars Bass

Synopsis:

Act I

Scene 1: A wild, romantic glen in the forest De Bracy and his Norman knights emerge from cover to ambush Bois-Guilbert’s party of Templars, but shortly after the fight starts Bois-Guilbert calls a halt to it. Each leader confesses that he intends to win a particular woman. Bois-Guilbert names the lovely Jewess Rebecca and De Bracy, relieved that Bois-Guilbert has no interest in Cedric’s ward, agrees to help the Templar capture her. As they leave, Cedric and Rowena enter with Saxon knights. Cedric curses the tournament at Ashby from which he has just come because his disinherited son Ivanhoe was the victor there; Rowena, who is in love with Ivanhoe, chides him for his harshness. Cedric hates the idea of Ivanhoe marrying Rowena, but Wamba urges him in the lied ‘’S wird besser geh’n’, nevertheless, to leave the lovers alone. Oswald rushes in to report that Isaac, Rebecca and Ivanhoe have been captured; the Saxons march off to avenge the wrong, singing their battle song ‘Wer Kraft und Muth in freier Brust’.

Scene 2: Inside Friar Tuck’s hut in the forest Tuck serves wine to a mysterious guest, known as the Black Knight, while singing the drinking song, ‘Der barfüssler Mönch seine Zelle verliess, Ora pro nobis!’. A band of outlaws wanders in to listen. Their leader, Locksley, recognizes the Black Knight and asks if he will help rescue an unidentified Englishman and his niece. The Black Knight readily agrees.

Scene 3: An apartment in a castle turret Locked inside the turret, Rebecca prays. Bois-Guilbert enters and claims her as his property because he won her in battle, but she wrenches herself free when Saxon soldiers attack the castle. Bois-Guilbert rushes off to join the fight and Rebecca escapes to the bedside of the wounded Ivanhoe, who convinces her that she must flee. As she leaves, the Black Knight dashes in to help Ivanhoe escape.

Scene 4: A courtyard inside the castle Frenziedly seeking an escape route, Rebecca stumbles into Bois-Guilbert, who is staggering from wounds. When she refuses to elope with him, he carries her off. The fight reaches the stage and the Saxons win.

Act II

Scene 1. A forest clearing The morning after the battle, Tuck, the Black Knight and a band of outlaws praise the great outdoors in a rousing Germanic hunting chorus calculated to relieve some of the tension built up in the previous act. Having discovered their merrymaking, Ivanhoe enters with the Black Knight, who reveals himself to be King Richard the Lionheart, back from the Crusades.

Scene 2. The hall of justice at Templestowe The Templars enter, Beaumanoir presiding, followed by Bois-Guilbert, the victim of Rebecca’s supposed powers of witchcraft. Ordered to stand trial by ordeal, Rebecca must name a champion to face a representative of the Templars. When Bois-Guilbert offers to fight on her behalf, the knights pick him as their representative. He sinks to the ground in despair.

Act III

Scene 1. Richard’s throne room The king listens as Ivanhoe extends his praise for Richard to all of England in the stirring patriotic Romanze ‘Wer ist der Ritter hochgeehrt’ (a piece that became so popular that audiences would join in at the anthem-like refrain, ‘Du stolzes England, freue dich’, as they do in Iolanthe). Wamba provides a facetious commentary on their seriousness in his equally famous lied ‘Es ist doch gar köstlich, ein König zu sein’.

Scene 2. A dungeon in Templestowe In a fervent prayer (preghiera) with ethereal harp-like accompaniment, ‘Herr, aus tiefen Jammersnöthen’, Rebecca begs for deliverance from an unjust fate. Bois-Guilbert knocks on the door and offers to undergo the scourging of a dishonoured knight if she will only love him, but she refuses as guards take her away.

Scene 3. The tournament grounds The Templars march in to join Rebecca, who stands in chains. Bois-Guilbert begs her to escape with him, but she prefers the stake. Ivanhoe appears unexpectedly as her champion, and the duel begins. Initially, Bois-Guilbert seems to be winning, but as he is about to deal Ivanhoe a crushing blow, he drops dead. The king enters and asserts his authority over the land as the Templars bear off Bois-Guilbert’s body.

[Synopsis Source: A. Dean Palmer]

Click here for the complete libretto.

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