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date: 14 November 2019

Cid, Der (’The Cid’)locked

  • Amanda Glauert

Extract

(’The Cid’)

Lyrisches Drama in three acts by Peter Cornelius to his own libretto after Guillén de Castro y Belivís’s Las mocedades del Cid, Pierre Corneille’s Le Cid and Johann Gottfried Herder’s Der Cid; Weimar, Hoftheater, 21 May 1865.

The tales of the 11th-century Christian hero, the Cid, provided Cornelius with ample material for a historical drama, with battles between the Spanish crusaders and the Moors being offset by the personal story of Chimene’s desire for revenge for the Cid’s murder of her father. Although the composer researched widely before writing his libretto, he gave second place to historical aspects, stressing the psychological battle within Chimene herself. Like Wagner’s Isolde, she loves the object of her vengeance and longs for her own death as well as his, as the only way of resolving her conflicting emotions.

In Act 1 Fernando, the king of Castilia (tenor), seeks to give judgment in Chimene’s case against the Cid, Ruy Diaz (baritone); although the people of Burgos sing choruses in praise of the Cid, Chimene (soprano) gains centre stage as she describes her feelings over her father’s death (‘Gedenkst du, König’). Revenge seems uppermost in her heart, despite pleas for reconciliation from the bishop, Luyn Calvo (bass). Her demands are stilled only by news of the Moors’ invasion, requiring that the Cid lead his country in a different kind of revenge (‘Der Schrei Castiliens in Gefahr betaubt der eignen Klage Ton’)....

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