“Oberon” by Carl Maria von Weber

Carl Maria von Weber was born on November 18 1786. In celebration of his life and contributions to music, we will be playing one of his operas on Clubhouse. Please, join us — November 18 at 1 pm EST, at the Opera, Blood, and Tears Club.

“Weber’s final opera, and one of his most impressive works, Oberon premiered in Covent Garden, London in April 1826. Described as “one of the most remarkable combinations of fantasy and technical skill in modern music”, the opera is particularly famous for its Overture.”

SYNOPSIS:

“Oberon argues with his wife Titania over who is less faithful, men or women. Oberon decides to test a pair of lovers, and his servant – Puck – finds a potential couple. Sir Huon of Bordeaux, a knight exiled from Charlemagne’s court, is charged to travel to Baghdad and marry the caliph’s daughter, Reiza. Oberon sends Huon a magic horn to help him find her. Huon’s servant, Sherasmin, is given a magic goblet. Reiza and her serving lady, Fatima, wait to be rescued from the caliph, who plans to marry Reiza to Prince Babekan. Huon arrives at the banquet hall and kills Babekan. He then abducts Reiza, and puts the caliph and his men to sleep with his magic horn. They flee the palace and set sail for France, but Puck raises a storm and shipwrecks them. They lose the horn and goblet and are captured by pirates. Reiza, Fatima and Sherasmin are sold as slaves to the Emir of Tunis. Neither the Emir nor his servant Abdallah realise the value of the magic horn that they have recovered from the sea. Abdallah gives it to Sherasmin, who uses the magic horn to save Huon and Reiza. Oberon appears to save the lovers and transports them to France, where they are welcomed into Charlemagne’s court.” (Source: Josef Weinberger LTD)

Act 1

Fairies sing around the sleeping Oberon in his bower. Puck enters and recounts Oberon’s quarrel with Titania, his queen, where Oberon vowed not to be reconciled with her until a pair of human lovers are found who have been faithful to each other through all perils and temptations. Puck has ventured everywhere to find such couples, but in vain. Awakening, Oberon curses the rash vow he made. Puck tells him that the knight Sir Huon has been ordered by Emperor Charlemagne to go to Baghdad, slay the man on the Caliph’s right hand, then kiss and wed the Caliph’s daughter. Oberon decides that this knight and the princess will be the ones to assist him in his reconciliation with his queen. A vision of Reiza is conjured for Huon and his squire Sherasmin, and they are given a magic horn to summon aid from Oberon if needed. Fairies are called in to carry Huon on his mission.

On the banks of the Tigris Prince Babekan is rescued from a lion by Huon and Sherasmin. Babekan is actually the betrothed of Reiza but when he attacks Huon and Sherasmin they put the prince and his band to flight. Next, Namouna, an old woman tells Huon that Reiza is to be married the next day, but has also had a vision which has drawn her to Huon.

In the palace of Haroun al Rachid Reiza confides to her attendant that she will only marry the knight in her vision, and, as Fatima announces the arrival of Huon the two women rejoice in anticipation.

Act 2

In the splendid court of Haroun al Rachid a chorus sing praises to their ruler. Reiza is led in to wed Prince Babekan, seated on the caliph’s right, but Huon and Sherasmin burst in, kill Babekan and flee with the princess and Fatima. A ship is to take them to Greece. The two couples express their love as they depart.

Puck invokes the spirits of the elements to wreck Huon’s ship. Huon and Reiza survive and he goes in search of more survivors while she sings of the fury and menace of the sea. At the close of her aria she espies a ship approaching and signals to it. But it is a pirate ship and Abdallah and his crew abduct Reiza. Huon tries to save her but is wounded; he manages to sound the magic horn and Oberon appears. Oberon tells Puck to take Huon to Tunis and the house of Ibrahim. The mermaids sing happily over the unconscious prince.

Act 3

In the garden of the Emir’s house in Tunis Fatima sings of her fate as a slave. She and Sherasmin are now married and they sing of their childhood. Puck makes Huon appear, and after Fatima tells him that Reiza is in a harem, they plan her rescue.

In the harem of Almanzor, Reiza laments her lot and manages to get a message to Huon who sets off to release her. However, by accident he encounters Roshana, the Emir’s wife, who tries to persuade Huon to kill Almanzor and marry her. He refuses but the Emir discovers them and condemns Huon to death at the stake. Reiza implores the Emir to pardon Huon, but as she had scorned his advances, the Emir refuses and orders the two to be burned together. Oberon is summoned by Sherasmin blowing the magic horn. The Emir’s slaves begin to dance, and after a second blast on the horn, Oberon and Titania appear. The Tunisians flee, the lovers are transported to Charlemagne’s court, and Huon is pardoned. (Source: Opera Arias)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: