Tiefland at Deutsche Oper in Berlin – synopsis
Composer and librettist
Music: Eugen d´Albert.Lyrics: Rudolf Lothar, after a catalonian play, Terra Baixa av Angel Guimerà.
First performance: Praha, Neues Deutsches Theater on thr 15 november 1903. Swedish premiere:Royal Opera in Stockholm at 9 oktober 1908.
Role, Voicetype and Singers
|Eine Stimme||Marek Picz|
Prologue – WHITE SOLITUDE
In the solitude of the highlands lives the shepherd Pedro.He knows only ond danger: the wolf. All that he is missing is a wife.
Unexpectedly three people turn up in the bleak mountain terrain. Sebastino, a landowner and Pedro´s master, is followed by Tommaso and Marta. Sebastiano offers Pedro Marta´s hand in marriage and to take over their mill. Pedro cannot believe hisgood fortune. Marta on the other hand is repulsed by the shepherd and tries to flee. Sebastino and Tommaso persuade Pedro to agree to the marriage with Marta.
Pedro makes his way into the valley, intoxicated by new hope.
Sensation in the Lowlands.
Nuri tells of Marta´s imminent marriage to a shepherd. Everyone ridicules, mocks and gossips about the sensation. Threatened by the aggressive sensationalism of the crowds, Marta yearns for death. She wants to prevent the marriage but is afraid of provoking Sebastino to violence.
The lowlands are beset by the hysterical anticipation of Pedro´s impending arrival. Moruccio – a thwarted contender for Marta and her mill – reveals to Tommaso that Marta has been Sebastinos lover ever since she arrived in the lowlands, a poor orphaned child force to dance for a living. In return for sexual favours he provided her with a mill. Marrying Marta off to Pedro is nothing more than a clever strategy on Sebastinos part to enjoy the comforts of marriage to a wealthy woman while retaining access to Marta. Pedro, in his naïveté, presents as the ideal bridegroom for the plan. Indeed, no one considers him capable of figuring the truth.
Tommaso sees in Moruccio a case of the jealous slanderer and calls on Sebastino to refute Moruccio´s accusations.
Pedro moves down to the lowlands. The crowds gather around him; their perpetual scorn takes its course. Marta is unsuccessful in persuading Sebastino to back down on the marriage, In fact her disgust for Pedro suits him well since he has been intending all along to continue his nightly visits to her. In observing the aggression of the confrontation between Moruccio and Sebastino, Tommaso realises that Moruccio´s accusations must be true after all. Tommasa wants to prevent the fatal marriage, but the bells are already ringing; the marriage has been sealed.
The party is over. Pedro tries to woo his wife, but she refuses his advances. He wants to give her a coin that was given to him by Sebastino. Marta sees the gift as confirmation of her suspicion that Pedro must have been bribed and that he is somehow caught up in Sebastinos scheme. But Pedro tells her how he came to be in possession of the coin: in a struggle with a wolf he risked his life and ended up strangling the wolf. For a moment he succeeds in rousing Marta´s interest.
Pedro continues to seek Marta´s affections. He cannot bear her rejection. A suspiciou light indicates the presence of a third person. Pedro´s senses are sharpened; he is deeply unsettled. Both set out into the night plagued by inner turmoil: “The wolf will not come tonight!”
Time of the wolfes.
Day is dawning.Nuri tries to comfort Pedro. Sensing further humiliation and conspiracy, however, he returns to the highlands. His revenge and killing instincts have been reawakened.
Marta encounters Tommaso who holds her responsible for Pedro´s misery. In an appeal to his empathy shr reminds him of his deceased daughter; shr describes her own childhood in poverty and dependency, and the death of her mother. Unexpectedly, Marta tells Tommaso of the miraculous awakening of her love for Pedro. Tommaso calls on her to tell Pedro everything, but she is afraid of losing him.
Pedro, provoked by the crowds once again, puts up an aggressive resistance.
He confronts Marta, demanding that she tell him everything; she sees no other way out of the situation but to ask him to kill her. She provokes him for so long that he ends up wounding her. The bleeding wound brings them closer together and they find themselves ecstatically united by the thought of going “up to the mountains!”
But Sebastino stands in the way of the plans Marta has made. There is a violent exchange of words, Sebastino hits Pedro – Marta reveals to Pedro that Sebastino was the one who had lit the suspicious lamp the night before.
Pedro lunges at Sebastino in fury but he is grabbed by the crowds and carried away. Tommaso arrives: he has been to reveal the truth to the father of Sebastino´s bride. The weddigng is called off. Believing all has been lost, Sebastino goes after Marta seeking to take her down with him, for her to share his demise.
She calls for Pedro. A fight breaks out, man against man, in which Pedro kills Sebastino. The wolf is strangled; Pedro and Marta run off: “Up to the mountains, to light and freedom! Away from the lowlands! Make way, all of you, give us room!…”