Stanisław Moniuszko

DIE SCHWEIZERHÜTTE

Opera buffa in two acts in original German

Composer | Stanisław Moniuszko
Libretto | Carl Blume
Re-creation, Orchestration and Development of the score | Maciej Prochaska
Scientific Consultations | Grzegorz Zieziula, Phd
Premiere | 16th November 2018 
 
 
CREATORS:
Directing and staging | Roberto Skolmowski
Music Director | Stanisław Rybarczyk
Set Designer | Katarzyna Gabrat-Szymańska
Costumes | Maria Balcerek
Choreography | Elżbieta Lejman-Krzysztyniak
Multimedia | Wojciech Hejno
 
 
 

SOLOISTS:
Mary | Joanna Moskowicz
Michel | Bartosz Nowak
Max | Szymon Kobyliński

 

VOCAL ENSEMBLE OF WARSAW CHAMBER OPERA
Chorus Master | Krzysztof Kusiel-Moroz

ANCIENT INSTRUMENTS ENSEMBLE OF WARSAW CHAMBER OPERA | Musicae Antiquae Collegium Varsoviense


Die Schweizerhütte – unknown German language version of the opera by Stanisław Moniuszko

Six years ago, in the collection of the Library, Museum and Archives of the Warsaw Music Society, I found the German language version of Moniuszko’s opera Die Schweizerhütte. The work has not yet been mentioned in monographs and encyclopedic entries devoted to the composer. For this oversight should be blamed Henryk Opieński, who many years ago said hastily that this is only an unsuccessful modification of the Bettly operetta (1852).

In fact, everything was completely different. Around 1837, Moniuszko took the text of the German operetta entitled Mary, Max und Michel, whose author was once renowned composer and librettist, Carl Blum (1786-1844). Incidentally, Blum’s work was a modification of the Adolphe Adam’s French comic opera Le Chalet (1834), which in turn was an adaptation of Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s songspiel entitled Jerry und Bätely (1780). Blum’s alteration had its premiere in Berlin in 1836, the year before the arrival of the Polish artist over the Spree. Preparing his own study, Moniuszko slightly modified the text of Blum and changed its title to Die Schweizerhütte.

In contrast to Moniuszko’s other work – A Night in the Apennines, that was created at the same time, he never succeeded in staging the Die Schweizerhütte opera. However, he used some of the passages in later works. Two Michels’ Romances found their way to the aforementioned Bettly operetta (1852), and the second of them, kept in the rhythm of the polonaise, later became a Bronia’s dumka in Act III of The Countess opera. In turn, Mary’s Romance was used in Moniuszko’s operetta Ideal, in which she appears as Kalda’s Aria.

I presented this surprising discovery in 2015 in the quarterly “Muzyka” published by the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Only in last year, thanks to Maciej Prochaska, who performed the instrumentation and reconstruction of Die Schweizerhütte on the basis of the handwritten piano score I had found, and thanks to the enthusiastic support I had received from Maestro Stanisław Rybarczyk and director Roberto Skolmowski, my dreams finally came true: we were witnesses of the historical moment of the world premiere.

Grzegorz Zieziula, PhD (November 2018)

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LIBRETTO

Characters:
Mary Berner (soprano) – a young swiss girl 
Maks Berner (bass) – her brother, a sergeant of French troops 
Michel Huber (tenor) – a young Swiss peasant in love with Mary 
French soldiers (male choir)

Setting: the action takes place in 1795 in the Swiss canton of Appenzell, in the mountains, on the Swiss-Austrian border.

ACT I

Scene 1.

Rich, but somewhat naive, Michel is deeply in love with Mary. He received a mysterious card in which the girl allegedly agrees to his proposal of marriage. The gullible boy has already organised a big, fat wedding reception: guests have been already invited, and the prenuptial agreement is ready to be signed (Michel’s recitative and romance: Sie ist nich hier… In den Dörfen, in den Städtchen…).

Scene 2.

Moments later, Mary appears (Mary’s song: Lachet der Sonnenstrahl…). She asks Michel to read her a letter from her brother, who had joined the French army twelve years ago. Michel finally realizes that since Mary can neither read nor write, she is not the author of the card. According to the letter, Mary’s brother, who allegedly fought under the command of General André Masséna (1758–1817) against the army of General Aleksander Suvorov (1729–1800), announces his imminent visit. He advises his sister to marry Michel who wrote to him some time ago, asking for her hand. Angered by the news girl categorically declares that she is not going to marry him. In order to tease Michel, she declares that she is a great admirer of… General Joseph-Marie Dessaix (1764–1834) (Mary’s arietta: Rückt ein General ins Städtchen).

Scene 3.

Discredited Michel falls into despair and wants to go drown himself. However his grim plans is thwarted by the appearance of a French regiment on the horizon.

Scene 4.

Seeing the approaching soldiers, the boy quickly abandons his suicidal plan. He wants to join the army and forget about his heartbreak. He welcomes the soldiers with a bottle of wine in his hand. The sergeant, learning the reasons for Michel’s decision to enlist, decides to use a trick that will persuade a stubborn girl to get married.

Scene 5.

On the Sergeant’s call, the unit encamped at the barnyard belonging to Mary (finale of Act I: Es ist Mary, sie kommt den Fußsteig her…). The soldiers are plundering the house and the homestead, charging the basement and the pantry as well (the continuation of the finale, Maks’s song with the choir: Der Wein, der Rum, der Rack).

ACT II

Scene 1.

Mary is desperate and miserable (Mary’s romance: Soll ich nimmer fröhlich sein…).

Scene 2.

Michel is coming to say goodbye and to write a will. The vulnerable girl asks him for help (Mary’s and Michel’s duet: Will man auch von der Freundin scheiden…).

Scene 3.

Meanwhile, a drunken sergeant starts intrusively and soldierly courting Mary. From the alleged jealousy of her, he even challenges Michel to a duel, who dared to defend her.

Scene 4.

Mary rescues herself in an escape, but from the hiding she watches closely Michel and the sergeant, who determine the time of the duel (Maks’s and Michel’s duettino: Die Liebe und der Ruhm, erzeugen eure Muth…).

Scene 5.

After Maks’s departure, the farewell to Mary and Michel occurs (Michel’s romance: So lebe wohl! Wir mussen scheiden…).

Scene 6.

The sergeant returns and urges Michel, since the time of the duel has come.

Scene 7.

The girl – in order to save her admirer’s life who’s not very skillful at wielding the weapon and to cool the immoral intentions of the sergeant – declares that she is the wife of Michel.

Scene 8.

Confused Michel appears. The sergeant stops the duel since he has to clear up a certain issue. He learned that the boy is married and does not want the life of the family man to be a burden on his conscience. Mary secretly explains to surprised Michel that this is just a game that will save his life (trio: Nur um das Leben dir zu retten…). Since the sergeant demands a proof in the form of a marriage certificate, Mary signs a fictitious, as it seems, marriage contract, prepared by Michel. The document will remain void as long as there is no signature of the legal guardian of the orphan Mary – her older brother. At this point, smart French commander gives up incognito and reveals his true identity. His name is Maks Berner and he is the brother of Mary. Without delay, he eagerly uses his right to submit the last signature on the document.

Scene 9.

Now, soldiers apologize to Mary and Michel for their scandalous behavior, explaining that they only carried out orders. They give flowers to the bride and groom cheering them in their honour. (final choir: Dein liebes sanftes Hertz…).

Stanisław Moniuszko

A NIGHT IN THE APPENINES

Opera buffa in one act

Composer | Stanisław Moniuszko
Libretto | Aleksander Fredro
Re-creation, Orchestration and Development of the score | Maciej Prochaska
Scientific Consultations | Grzegorz Zieziula, Phd
Premiere | 16th November 2018 
 
 
CREATORS:
Directing and Staging | Roberto Skolmowski
Music Director | Stanisław Rybarczyk
Set Designer | Katarzyna Gabrat-Szymańska
Costumes | Maria Balcerek
Choreography | Elżbieta Lejman-Krzysztyniak
Multimedia | Wojciech Hejno
 
 

SOLOISTS:
Anzelmo | Rafał Songan
Antonio | Rafał Żurek
Lizeta | Aleksandra Nieśpielak (rola mówiona)
Fabricio | Michał Justa
Rozyna | Hanna Sosnowska/Agata Chodorek
Bombalo | Maciej Falkiewicz

 

VOCAL ENSEMBLE OF WARSAW CHAMBER OPERA
Chorus Master | Krzysztof Kusiel-Moroz

ANCIENT INSTRUMENTS ENSEMBLE OF WARSAW CHAMBER OPERA | Musicae Antiquae Collegium Varsoviense

 

A Night in the Appenines with original music by Moniuszko

During Moniuszko’s studies in Berlin, he created A Night in the Apennines, a one-act operetta with the libretto written by the grandmaster of the Polish comedy, Aleksander Fredro. It was first staged in autumn 1839 in Vilnius,while the composer was staying at his parents’ house during school holidays and visiting his beloved fiancée whom he would later marry, Aleksandra Müller. The work at that time made a great impression on the Vilnius elite. Soon afterwards (1841), the Lviv scene staged this work. Like Die Schweizerhütte (adaptation of Goethe’s piece), it confirms the literary taste and ambitions of the young Moniuszko, who tried to reach for the texts of the most outstanding contemporary writers. Fredro’s text surely immediately appealed to the composer – he refers to the commedia dell’arte, and at the same time evokes associations with Rossini’s masterpiece The Barber of Seville.

The authenticity of the musical materials of A Night in the Apennines, which has the Library, Museum and Archives of the Warsaw Musical Society, was never questioned in the past, not even by such researchers as Zdzisław Jachimecki and Jan Prosnak. Most of the work’s stagings were made basing on those materials, even TV adaptation. However, today those materials raise serious doubts for researchers.

After many years, reconstruction of Maciej Prochaska restores us A Night in the Apennines to the original figure. The basis for the work of Prochaska was the only manuscript of the A Night in the Apennines score, which was authorized by the composer and stored in the National Library in Warsaw. This authentic source, identified years ago by Andrzej Spóza, had been used so far only by late Jerzy Dobrzański (1993) at his studies.

Grzegorz Zieziula, PhD

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LIBRETTO

Characters:
Anzelmo (baritone) – owner of a small inn in the Apennines
Antonio (tenor) – his son
Lizeta (spoken part) – Antonio’s sister
Fabrizio (baritone) – Tuscan
Rozyna (soprano) – his fiancée 
Bombalo (baritone) – impostor 
Travelers, gendarmes (choir)

Setting: beginning of the 19th century, the Anzelmo Inn in the Apennines on the border between the Papal States and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Scene 1.

Postal trumpets declare the arrival of the stagecoaches. A crowd of travelers seeks shelter from an upcoming storm at the Anzelmo Inn. However, there are no more rooms available. (choir: Co za zjazd! co za ścisk!).

Scene 2.

Among the new arrivals is Anzelmo’s son, Antonio, returning after a three-year absence. Taken by surprise, Lizeta recognizes her brother and joyfully throws herself into his arms. She wants to tell his father about the news immediately, but Antonio stops her. He left because of misunderstandings with Anzelmo and since then he has never given a sign of life. At Lizeta’s request he talks about his adventures (Antonio’s song: Jedna suknia, pończoch para). He held various jobs. In Bologna, he fell in love with a stranger girl who remains under control of an ugly and foxy old man. Antonio, who saw her from a distance, knows that she is not indifferent to her. Now, however, he wants to keep incognito, because if necessary, he will
have to leave his home again and follow his beloved. Lizeta offers a brother an accommodation on chairs in a room with a charlatan named Bombalo. This wandering trader of “miracle” medicines took a bed in the last free room.

Scene 3.

Bombalo appears and begins to advertise his…dental services. Unable to persuade neither Antonio nor Lizeta to have tooth extraction, he starts praising the medication he has in his casket (Bombalo’s song: Oto cudny, przedni sok!).

Scene 4.

After Lizeta’s departure Bombalo tries to find out as much as possible about his roommate. The boy introduces the charlatan to his heartbreak and bold plans to release his beloved one. Soon, Fabrizio will arrive here with Rozyna, which is why Antonio will need Bombalo’s help. The charlatan is bargaining for a fee. After striking a bargain, Antonio pulls the charlatan down.

Scene 5.

Fabrizio arrives with Rozyna to the Inn. Lizeta can only offer them an accommodation on the last two chairs. Rozyna vigorously explains that she is not the wife of Fabrizio, but he tries to silence her. He explains that his “wife” is mentally ill. Lizeta tries to give Rozyna good news from Antonio, but every now and then she has to mislead a watchful guardian who analyses her every word (Rozyna’s and Fabrizio’s duetto: Już się groźby twej nie boję…). Lizeta sets the table. Fabrizio is dissatisfied with the fact that he and Rozyna will have to share a table with two unknown travelers.

Scene 6.

Being alone with Rozyna, Fabrizio tries to force her into submission. He feels confident, since he has the false papers that states the mental illness of
“his wife” and at the same time the documents make their shared journey from Bologna to Florence more credible. Rozyna complains about her fate (Rozyna’s aria: Z przemocy rąk, z tyrana mąk, choćby śmiercią wybaw Boże…).

Scene 7.

Having espied Antonio, Rozyna fakes a faint. Bombalo introduces himself as a doctor and wants to heal her. Meanwhile, Lizeta brings soup. Antonio tries to sit next to Rozyna, but the vigilant Fabrizio foils his intention. After all, all three are singing brindisi by a bottle of wine (drunken trio of Antonio, Bombalo and Fabrizio: Kiedy smutek, żal i bida…).

Scene 8.

Bombalo and Antonio try to make Fabrizio drunk, but he remains vigilant. Lizeta quietly advises Rozyna to get closer to the window and thus seek escape. Antonio, pretending to be drunk, goes outside.

Scene 9.

Fabrizio curses the storm that imprisoned him in the Inn. Meanwhile, Rozyna, despite her guardian’s alertness, approaches the window and opens the lock. Suspicious Fabrizio tells her to sit down on the opposite side. Antonio, who’s outside, opens the window. He gives the signs to his beloved woman in vain. Bombalo now calculates that it would be good to take money from Fabrizio and “to kill two birds with one stone” in this way. He reveals that the young man knows a girl from Bologna, where they have a hot feeling and he wants to take her now from Fabrizio. The foxy Bombalo also makes it clear that he also knows the secrets of Fabrizio and knows about false papers stating the madness of a “wife”. He proposes that he will take Rozyna across the border. When Bombalo goes to sleep, Antonio, who’s been watching everything from hiding, is furious because of the disloyalty of the charlatan and that Fabrizio already smells a rat. (Fabrizio’s aria: Nie ufam, nie wierzę…). He tells Rozyna to go to sleep, whereas he also sits on a chair and wraps himself with a cloak. Antonio comes in and – pretending to be drunk – demands more wine. Regardless of Fabrizio’s protests, he sings a song about a girl imprisoned by an old man who escaped with her beloved man (Antonio’s aria: Tam na górze wysoko, patrzy dziewczę przez kratę…). Fabrizio grinds his teeth since he understood the reference very well. He turns off the light. In the dark, he’s been placing Rozyna to another chair every now and then (melodrama – recitation in music’s background: Przecie! Tylko cierpliwości Antonio!). Antonio, hearing the Bombalo’s snoring tries to approach his beloved (Antonio’s song: Już mnie słyszy, już mnie czeka), but he gets a stick on his back from watchful Fabrizio. The young man quickly invents a clever trick. In the dark, he slaps Bombalo heavily (Bombalo’s song: Gwałtu, gwałtu, co to było…). Answering to the question of the latter, whoever hit, responds affirmatively … Fabrizio. The noise of battles between the charlatan and Fabrizio attracts Anzelmo’s attention, and soon after the attention of travelers, the servants, and finally the gendarmes who take them both to jail.

Scene 10.

Rozyna and Antonio are happy about the successful turn of events (duetto: O rozkoszy! O radości! Wolno sercu bić w miłości…).

Scene 11.

Lizeta and Anzelmo appear. The father forgives the prodigal son. Rozyna explains that Fabrizio is the nephew of her legal guardian, who gave her to him for giving up half of the girl’s dowry. They both decided to take the girl out of Bologna, because she was a too well-known figure there. After moving her to Tuscany, they wanted to force her to marry Fabrizio. The smoke screen was supposed to be made of false papers stating that Rozyna was his mentally ill wife. But in the coat pocket left by Fabrizio there are also documents that compromise him. All his correspondence with his uncle and a malicious agreement regarding the division of dowry. Rozyna does not want to punish the cutthroat, but to get free of him and unite with Antonio. Once again, Anzelmo hugs his son (Anzelmo’s and Antonio’s duet: Ciebież widzę synu drogi, Ledwie oczom moim wierzę…).

Scene 12.

The gendarme brings Fabrizio in. Antonio warns him to be on his guard. Fabrizio tells a “wife” to leave with him, but no one believes him anymore. He realizes that the notebook with documents is gone. Anzelmo threatens Fabrizio, that if he does not leave Rozyna alone, he will reveal the papers that compromise him. He must leave the Inn immediately to avoid the arrest. He will leave without Rozyna and without dowry.

Scene 13.

Now, the gendarme brings Bombalo in. He complains that he was beaten and imprisoned. Antonio ironically reminds him of his own adage “to kill two birds with one stone”. Anzelmo, however, gives the charlatan money as a compensation for all unpleasantness he had suffered. Bombalo wants to congratulate Fabrizio, but he tells him to go to hell. Therefore, he is felicitating Antonio and the other characters, being satisfied with the happy ending (final: Z radości serce me bije…).