Wandering Scholar, The [The Tale of the Wandering Scholar]
- Colin Matthews
[The Tale of the Wandering Scholar]
Opera in one act, op.50, by Gustav Holst to a libretto by Clifford Bax after ‘Le pauvre clerc’ from Helen Waddell’s The Wandering Scholars; Liverpool, David Lewis Theatre, 31 January 1934.
In a farmhouse in 13th-century France, Alison (soprano), the young wife of Louis (baritone), is preparing a meal with which to regale the local priest while her husband has gone to town for provisions. Father Philippe (bass) is interested in more than food and drink, but as he is about to carry Alison off to the attic the wandering scholar Pierre (tenor) appears, begging for something to eat. The priest drives him away and resumes his seduction, only to have to hide when Louis is heard returning. He has met Pierre, who tells a story which skilfully reveals first the meal Alison has been cooking and then Father Philippe himself. The priest is chased round the house and out of the door, Pierre has earned a meal, and Alison’s fate hangs in the balance as Louis drives her up to the attic....