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Carl Nielsen 1865—1931

Comic Opera in 3 acts
Libretto by Vilhelm Andersen after Ludvig Holberg
World premiere November 11 1906, Copenhagen

This production first seen October 31 2021

Sung in German with German & English surtitles
Introductory talks (in German) begin in the Holzfoyer 30 minutes before curtain up, and appear here shortly before opening night

The household of bourgeois Jeronimus in Copenhagen is divided by the generation gap: His son Leander fell in love with an unknown woman at a party, but Jeronimus has arranged for him to marry his business friend Leonard's daughter. Jeronimus considers the masquerades to which Leander and his servant Henrik are drawn, the devil's own work, although his wife Magdelone secretly sympathises with her son's »escapades«. She was young once too. ACT 2 Jeronimus’ servant Arv is to guard the house and stop Leander and Henrik going to the masquerade again, but his own vices make him easy to blackmail. Henrik and Leander manage to escape. They meet the ladies from the previous evening in the street: the unknown beauty, in whom Leander has fallen desperately in love, and her companion Pernille, who Henrik flirts with. When Jeronimus realises that his son has fled he decides to follow him and track him down at the masquerade. Arv – nolens volens – must accompany him. What none of them can guess: Magdelone and Leonard have also, unbeknown to each other, set off for the party. A costume seller supplies everyone with new identities. INTERVAL False and assumed identities collide at the masquerade. Couples find and lose each other: Henrik struggles with Pernille's jealousy. Leander and the unknown Leonora reveal their real names; and Magdelone and Leonard declare their reborn youth to be real. But Jeronimus’ world is shaken to the core. A pantomime shows him the fate of a cuckolded husband, and Henrik's intrigue his own fallibility. While the search for identity ends for most of the guests with their unmasking, it might only just be beginning for Jeronimus. Last dance!
Tobias Kratzer

Masquerades are the devil’s own work as far as wealthy Jeronimus from Copenhagen's concerned: Identities get mixed up and the old order of things gets lost. His son Leander doesn’t agree, because he found the love of his life at a Masquerade. With help from his wily servant Henrik he breaks house arrest. Jeronimus’ wife Magdelone wants to feel young again – and secretly goes to the Masquerade too, where she pairs up incognito with Jeronimus’ business friend Leonard. His daughter Leonora, it turns out, is Leander’s ladylove and therefore just the bride his father had in mind, but until the penny drops all kinds of crazy hide-and-seek games take place, into which Jeronimus gets sucked too: everybody can be anybody at a masquerade!

Carl Nielsen’s little known, amusing »Danish National Opera«, dating from 1906, awaits you with unconventional harmonies, Mozartean elegance and wonderful cantilena. The music nestles perfectly into the fun. A new German rhyming translation by Martin G. Berger played an important part in Tobias Kratzer’s production.