Dinorah [Le pardon de Ploërmel (‘The Pilgrimage of Ploërmel’)
- Steven Huebner
Opéra comique in three acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer to a libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after Carré’s play Les chercheurs de trésor; Paris, Opéra-Comique (Salle Favart), 4 April 1859.
The opera opens in the Breton village of Ploërmel during the annual pilgrimage to the chapel of the Virgin. Dinorah (soprano) has gone mad because her bridegroom Hoël (baritone) disappeared following a storm that interrupted their wedding on the same day the previous year. Hoël returns to the village, having discovered the whereabouts of some treasure, but does not recognize Dinorah. He enlists Corentin (tenor) to help him recover the riches, but not without sinister intent since, according to legend, the first to touch them will perish. In Act 2 they descend upon the cache in a mysterious valley and Dinorah happens upon the scene. From her Corentin learns about the legend surrounding the lode, and both Hoël and he invite the other to inspect it first. The demented girl, in pursuit of her pet goat, steps on a tree trunk spanning a river as it is hit by lightning. When she is swept away in the current, Hoël finally recognizes her and leaps to her rescue. In the last act Hoël admits that love is more important than riches, Dinorah comes to believe that her period of madness was a dream, and the two are married....