Lily of Killarney, The
- Nigel Burton
Grand romantic opera in three acts by Julius Benedict to a libretto by John Oxenford and Dion Boucicault after Boucicault’s play The Colleen Bawn, or The Brides of Garryowen; London, Covent Garden, 10 February 1862.
Boucicault’s play (1860) was itself based on an earlier work, Gerald Griffin’s novel of 1829, The Collegians, or The Colleen Bawn. Hardress Cregan (tenor) has secretly married Eily O’Connor (soprano), the ‘Colleen Bawn’ (‘bawn’ means ‘white’, used here to mean ‘fair’ or ‘blonde’). Mrs Cregan (contralto), his widowed mother, unaware of her son’s marriage, is visited by Mr Corrigan (bass), who holds a mortgage on the Cregan lands. He threatens that he will demand her hand in marriage unless Hardress redeems the debt by marrying the heiress Ann Shute (soprano). Hardress tries to induce Eily to surrender her marriage certificate to him, but Myles na Coppaleen (tenor), who also loves her, and Father Tom (bass), the local priest, make her promise never to part with it....