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date: 14 November 2019

Roi d’Ys, Le (‘The King of Ys’)locked

  • Hugh Macdonald


(‘The King of Ys’)

Opéra in 3 acts by Edouard(-Victoire-Antoine) Lalo to a libretto by Edouard Blau ; Paris, Opéra-Comique (Salle Favart), 7 May 1888.

Ys is a legendary Breton city submerged by the sea many centuries ago. Blau fashioned the Breton folktale of a consuming tide into a libretto on the lines of Lohengrin with two opposing couples, good and bad. Lalo composed the opera in 1875 but it was refused by the Théâtre Lyrique in 1878 and by the Opéra in 1879. Various extracts were performed in concerts, and the whole opera was revised in 1886. It was finally staged by the Opéra-Comique in 1888, and was a long-lasting success.

In Act 1 Margared (mezzo-soprano), daughter of the King of Ys (basse chantante), celebrates her betrothal to Karnac (baritone), their former enemy, but confesses to her sister Rozenn (soprano) that she loves Mylio (tenor), a childhood friend who sailed away. Rozenn too loves Mylio, a love she knows is returned. This is confirmed when Mylio unexpectedly returns. During her wedding ceremony Margared learns that Mylio has arrived, and she refuses to go ahead with the marriage. Karnac curses Ys and threatens vengeance....

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