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David J. Buch

[Der wohltätige Derwisch, oder Die Schellenkappe (‘The Beneficient Dervish or The Fool’s Cap’)]

Lust- und Zauberspiel mit Maschinen, Arien und Chören in three acts attributed to Johann Baptist Henneberg, Benedikt Schack, and franz xaver Gerl to a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder; Vienna, Theater auf der Wieden, early 1791. This is the second of Schikaneder’s fairy-tale librettos, following Der Stein der Weisen (‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, 1790) and preceding Die Zauberflöte by seven months.

Derived from the tale ‘The Princess with the Long Nose’ in Wieland’s collection Dschinnistan, the story involves a prince (Sofrano) whose father, disguised as an old dervish, helps him resist the wiles of a beautiful but evil princess. The prince receives a magic pouch and drum while his comic companion (the fisherman Mandolino) receives a fool’s cap with enchanted bells. The wise dervish and his hymn-like arias seem a model for Sarastro, and Mandolino’s bells seem to have inspired those of Papageno. Highly successful in Vienna, Der wohltätige Derwisch was performed for 20 years in various cities in the Habsburg monarchy, Germany, and in St Petersburg, Russia. Only excerpts appeared in print. A Viennese manuscript from ...



Don Neville


Libretto by Pietro Metastasio , first set by Luca Antonio Predieri (1740, Vienna).

Act 1 Zenobia, daughter of Mitridate, King of Armenia, has married Radamisto, Prince of Iberia, for political reasons. When Mitridate is assassinated, Radamisto, falsely accused, flees with Zenobia. A Parthian army, led by Tiridate, with whom Zenobia had previously been in love, pursues them. Weakened by the flight, Zenobia begs Radamisto to end her life rather than let her fall victim to the Parthians; jealous of the previous love between his wife and Tiridate, Radamisto attempts to comply. The wounded Zenobia, however, is soon discovered by Egle, a shepherdess, and nursed back to health. While searching for Radamisto, Zenobia overhears Tiridate learn of her apparent death from Mitrane, his confidant, and is thus able to save her anguished lover from suicide.

Act 2 Tiridate tries to persuade Zenobia to marry him, but she refuses. Zopiro, a false friend of Radamisto and also in love with Zenobia, plans to create such enmity between Radamisto and Tiridate that one will kill the other in a contrived confrontation, the victor then falling prey to Zopiro’s followers. He suggests to Zenobia that he has the power to save one of the two contestants and invites her to choose which. She names her husband, but secretly prays for Tiridate....