Die Kinder der Heide

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Die Kinder der Heide (The Children of the Moorland) is a four-act opera by Anton Rubinstein, to a libretto by Salomon Mosenthal, based on a verse novel by the Hungarian poet Carl Beck.

Background[edit]

Whilst working on the opera in 1859, Rubinstein wrote to a friend:

I have absolutely no luck with opera texts. I have wasted a lot of time and money and everything has been unusable.[...] I am hoping that with my present attempt, I shall have more luck, and then the world will have something novel in store![1]

He also told Franz Liszt that he hoped to have the opera premiered in Vienna, where in fact it was eventually produced in 1861 - most of the opera was written in Dornbach, not far from the capital.[2] The opera's first performance in Russia was in 1867.

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 23 February 1861, Kärntnertor Theatre, Vienna
Count Waldemar tenor Gustav Walter
Conrad, an innkeeper baritone Hrabanek
Maria, his daughter soprano Gabrielle Krauss
Wania, a herdsman tenor Aloys Ander
Isbrana, a gypsy mezzo-soprano Csillag
Gypsies, villagers, soldiers, etc

Synopsis[edit]

The location is a Hungarian village.

Act 1[edit]

Wania is Isbrania's lover; she tells him of a planned robbery of Conrad's inn, which Wania foils. Conrad offers him as a reward his daughter Maria in marriage.

Act 2[edit]

Maria confesses to her father that she is in love with a mystery man, who turns out to be Count Waldemar. Waldemar and Isbrana conspire to interrupt the marriage ceremony.

Act 3[edit]

Finding Maria with the Count, Wania fights and kills him. He is helped to escape by Isbrania and the gypsies.

Act 4[edit]

In a forest hideout, Wania is visited by the grieving Conrad and Maria, who has gone mad. Wania prevents the gypsies from robbing them as they depart. Soldiers arrive to arrest Wania; when he refuses to escape with Isbrania she stabs herself and dies.

Sources[edit]

  • Philip S. Taylor, Anton Rubinstein: A life in music, Indianapolis, 2007

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Taylor (2007),85
  2. ^ Taylor (2007),86