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date: 13 November 2019

Bohemian Girl, Thelocked

  • Nigel Burton

Extract

Grand opera in three acts by Michael William Balfe to a libretto by Alfred Bunn after Joseph Mazilier’s and Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges ’ ballet pantomime La gypsy, based on Miguel de Cervantes ’s short story La gitanilla; London, Drury Lane, 27 November 1843.

The setting is Pressburg (Bratislava), Austria, in the 18th century (not Poland, as is often stated). In Act 1 Thaddeus, a rebel Polish nobleman (tenor), has taken refuge with a band of gypsies led by Devilshoof (bass) to avoid detection. He saves the life of the six-year-old Arline (soprano), daughter of Count Arnheim, Governor of Pressburg (baritone). The delighted Count invites Thaddeus and Devilshoof to a banquet at his castle; they go, but refuse to drink a toast to the Emperor’s health. Devilshoof is imprisoned; Thaddeus is released because he saved the child. Devilshoof soon escapes, however, and to revenge himself on the Count he steals Arline and hides her among the gypsies....

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