L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe

L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe

L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe (English: "The Hoopoe and the Triumph of Filial Love") is an opera by Hans Werner Henze with a German libretto by the composer, inspired by Arab and Persian legends. This is Henze's 15th, and self-stated final, opera, and the first where he has written his own libretto. [ [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/fridayreview/story/0,12102,1018551,00.html Andrew Clements, "Excellent adventure". "The Guardian", 15 August 2003.] ] The opera was first performed at the Salzburg Festival on 12 August 2003 in a co-production with the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Teatro Real, Madrid.


*Badi’at el-Hosn wal Dschamal, a Jewish girl (soprano)
*The demon (tenor)
*The old man (Al Radshi, known as the ‘Eccentric Widower’) Grand Vizier of Manda, the Island of the Black Baboons (baritone)
*Malik, the ancient Sultan of Pati (mezzo-soprano)
*Dijab, the old tyrant of Kipungani (bass)
*Al Kasim (‘the Sharer’), Al Radshi’s youngest son (baritone)
*Adschib (‘the Wayward’), another son, a good-for-nothing (countertenor)
*Gharib (‘the Untrustworthy’), another son, a sly fox (bass)
*The nameless dictator (mute)
*Gardeners, flowers, guards, Nubian soldiers, henchmen and three gnomes


Al Radshi, an old man, who lives in a tower on Manda, the island of the black baboons, laments the absence of his golden bird, a hoopoe that used to visit him daily. Al Radshi once reached out to touch the hoopoe, which caused it to fly away. Since then, the bird has not been seen. Al Radshi asks his three sons to go off on a quest to find the hoopoe and return it to him. Two of the sons are untrustworthy and lazy, but the third, Al Kasim, is honest and brave. Al Kasim is the only son to go off in search of the hoopoe.

Al Kasim does find the hoopoe, with the help of a demon, who is a fallen angel with tattered black wings and who has been barred from heaven for an unidentified crime. Al Kasim then has to find and rescue a captive princess, Badi'eat el-Hosn. He does so, and falls in love with her. His next quest is to find a magic chest.

After Al Kasim has obtained these three treasures, the other two brothers reappear and push Kasim and Badi'aet el-Hosn down a well. Those two brothers return to their father and claim credit for performing Al Kasim's acts. However, Al Kasim and Badi'aet el-Hosn are eventually rescued. The other two brothers are expelled from the island. Al Kasim cannot marry Badi'aet el-Hosn, however, until he completes one more quest. The opera leaves unresolved the question of whether Al Kasim and Badi'aet el-Hosn are united at the end.


There is a DVD of the original 2003 Salzburg production with Matthias Goerne, Laura Aikin, John Mark Ainsley, and Alfred Muff, and Markus Stenz conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera Chorus (EuroArts 2053929).


* "L'Upupa. Nachtstücke aus dem Morgenland. Autobiographische Mitteilungen". Propyläen, Berlin 2003. (This is he second part of Henze’s autobiography. The book contains the libretto of the opera.)


External links

* [http://www.chesternovello.com/Default.aspx?TabId=2432&State_2907=2&workId_2907=13076 Chester Novello website synopsis]

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