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date: 07 August 2020

Pyramus and Thisbe (libretto subject)locked

  • Marita P. McClymonds


Libretto subject popular in the 18th century, taken from Ovid ’s Metamorphoses, iv.

A young Babylonian couple, Pyramus and Thisbe, were betrothed; but the families quarelled, broke off relations and forbade the young people to see each other. They decided to meet at night and elope. Then the tragic chain of events began that has given their story immortality: while waiting for Pyramus, Thisbe is frightened away by a lion and leaves her scarf behind; Pyramus arrives, finds the scarf bloody and mauled by Pyramus arrives, finds the scarf bloody and mauled by the lion, and stabs himself believing that Thisbe is dead; returning, Thisbe finds him dying, and she stabs herself; and finally her father arrives to find both young people dead, and he stabs himself too. The plot of course appears as the rustics’ play in Shakespeare’s A midsummer Night’s Dream and in operas based on it, notably Britten’s....

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