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Reine de Saba, La (‘The Queen of Sheba’)locked

  • Steven Huebner

Extract

Opéra in five acts by Charles-François Gounod to a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré ; after Gérard de Nerval ’s collection of stories Le voyage en Orient; Paris, Opéra, 28 February 1862.

The biblical king Soliman [Solomon] (bass – ‘première basse de grand opéra’) wishes to marry Balkis, Queen of Sheba (‘falcon’ soprano), but unknown to him she and his principal sculptor and architect Adoniram (‘fort’ tenor) are drawn together because of their common divine forefather, Tubalkaïn. Three dissatisfied workers sabotage Adoniram’s magnum opus, the casting of a mammoth bronze vessel, but he recovers from this setback with the help of spirits from the underworld realm of Tubalkaïn. In an attempt to elope, Adoniram abruptly announces his departure from Solomon’s service and Balkis drugs the king. The plan is foiled, however, when the three workers murder Adoniram at the isolated location of his rendezvous with Balkis....

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