Le droit d'aînesse


Le droit d'aînesse

"Le droit d'aînesse" is an operetta in three acts by Francois Chassaigne with a French libretto by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo.

Performance history

"Le droit d'aînesse" was first performed on 27 January 1883, at the Théâtre des Nouveautés, Paris, under Jules Brasseur with Marguerite Ugalde, Juliette Darcourt, Jean-François Philbert, Albert Brasseur and Eugène Vauthier. [ [http://www.amadeusonline.net/almanacco.php?Start=0&Giorno=27&Mese=01&Anno=1883&Giornata=&Testo=&Parola=Stringa Amadeus Almanac, accessed 6 August 2008] ]

English adaptation

Entitled "Falka", the English version of the libretto was written by Henry Brougham Farnie, and first produced at the Comedy Theatre in London, on October 29 1883 with W. S. Penley as Brother Pelican. [ [http://www.oldandsold.com/opera/opera-65.shtml 'Old and Sold Antiques Digest' Information about the opera] ] Giulia Warwick played the title role on tour.

The piece also enjoyed successful productions in Australia [ [http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~melbear/1886.htm Information about Australian performances in 1886] ] and the United States.

Roles

*Folbach, "military governor of Montgratz"
*Tancred, "his nephew"
*Arthur, "a student"
*Brother Pelican, "doorkeeper of the convent"
*Konrad, "captain of the governor's pages"
*Tekeli, "sergeant of the patrol"
*Boboky, "a Tzigani scout"
*Boleslas, "chief of the Tzigani"
*The seneschal, "Folbach's steward"
*Falka, "niece of Folbach, at the convent school"
*Edwige, "sister of Boleslas"
*Alexina de Kelkirsch, "a young heiress"
*Minna, "her maid"
*Janotha, "landlady of the inn"

ynopsis

;Act IThe Emperor of Hungary has promised Governor Folbach a patent of nobility providing that he can produce an heir. Folbach is childless but has a niece and a nephew that he had previously sent away. He summons his nephew, Tancred, hoping that he can be the heir needed. On his way to see his uncle, Tancred is captured by gypsies. Edwige, the chief's sister, promises to release him if he agrees to marry her. Tancred agrees, but he escapes before the wedding can take place. Edwige and her brother pursue Tancred. Although they have never seen his face, they follow the sound of his voice. Along the way, they learn that he is the nephew of the governor. They hide and wait for him. Tancred learns of the their scheme and does not appear before his uncle.

Meanwhile, Falka, the governor's niece, has eloped from the convent and married Arthur, a rich farmer's son. They also travel to the Governor's house, all the while being followed by Brother Pelican. Falka manages to elude detection by dressing in Arthur's clothes. Upon learning that her brother is expected at the inn, Falka impersonates him. Brother Pelican finds Falka's clothing and assumes that Arthur is Falka disguised as a man - he promptly arrests Arthur. The gypsies witness the meeting of Falka and Folbach and believe they have found Tancred. The Governor also believes that Falka is Tancred and arranges for a wedding between "Tancred" and Alexina de Kelkirsch, the bride whom the Emperor has assigned to wed Folbach's heir.

;Act IIArthur is forced to put on convent dress and is marched away by Pelican, leaving Falka in huzzar uniform. Tancred arrives in disguise to defeat the young impostor not knowing that it is his sister. He does not reveal himself because of the gypsies, but he hopes that they will kill his rival for him, believing that he is Tancred. Meanwhile, Falka is challenged to a duel by Edwige's brother, but avoids it by confessing that she is a woman. Arthur is brought back from the convent in haste and confesses the scheme to the Governor. The Governor is disgusted and orders the pair out of his presence. When Tancred hears this, he cries "O joy! O rapture!" The gypsies recognize his voice.

;Act IIIThe Governor, who is obliged to carry out the emperor's will, begrudgingly goes on with the marriage of Tancred and Alexina. He is not pleased with the behavior or his niece or nephew. Falka is sent to a tower to await her return to the convent. Edwige and Alexina have a discussion and, as a result, Edwige is presented to marry Tancred. Meanwhile, Falka escapes from her tower only to be recaptured and led before her uncle. The Governor admires her spirit and pardons her, just as the notice from the Emperor arrives settling the succession of the bloodline.

References

* [http://www.oldandsold.com/opera/opera-65.shtml 'Old and Sold Antiques Digest' Information about the opera]

External links

* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F02E7DE1338E033A25756C1A9629C94659FD7CF "New York Times" review of performance at the Casino Theatre]


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