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Music with Ease > 19th Century German Opera (except Wagner) > The Queen of Sheba - Goldmark


The Queen of Sheba
(German title: Die Königin von Saba)
An Opera by Karl Goldmark


Opera in four acts; music by Carl Goldmark; text by G. H. Mosenthal. Produced: Vienna, March 10, 1875.

CHARACTERS

KING SOLOMON……………………………….. Baritone
BAAL HANAU, the palace overseer……………. Baritone
ASSAD…………………………………………… Tenor
THE HIGH PRIEST……………………………… Bass
SULAMITHA, his daughter……………………… Tenor
THE QUEEN OF SHEBA…………………….. Mezzo-soprano
ASTAROTH, her slave……………………….. Soprano
Time: Tenth Century B.C.
Place: Jerusalem.

Act I. In Solomon’s magnificent palace everybody is preparing for the reception of the Queen of Sheba. But nobody is more delighted than Sulamith, the daughter of the High Priest. Assad, who had gone to meet the foreign queen, returns. Here he comes already into the hall. But Assad, growing pale, draws back before his betrothed. He confesses to King Solomon that he has not yet seen the Queen of Sheba but at a certain well a wonderful woman favoured him with her love and since then his mind has been confused. The King consoles the young man by telling him that God will permit him to find her again. Now the queen’s train approaches; she greets Solomon and unveils herself. Assad rushes toward her. What does the young man want of her? She does not know him.

Act II. The queen did not want to recognize Assad but the woman in her is consumed with longing for him. He comes and happy love unites them. Then the scene changes and shows the interior of the Temple. The wedding of Assad and Sulamith is about to be solemnized. Then. At a decisive moment the queen appears, and Assad throws the ring on the floor and hurries to the queen as if the deceit were making a fool of him. She has never seen him, she declares a second time. Assad, however, who has offended the almighty, has incurred the penalty of death. In the meantime Solomon, who is examining the affair, defers sentence.





Act III. Solomon is alone with the queen. She has one request to make of him, that he shall release Assad. Why? He is nothing to her but she wants to see whether the king has regard for his guest. And Solomon refuses the request of the deceitful woman who, breathing vengeance, strides out of the palace. But when Sulamith complains, Solomon consoles her. Assad will shake off the unworthy chains. Far away on the borders of the desert, she will find peace with Assad.

Act IV. Again the scene changes. On the border of the desert stands the asylum of the young women consecrated to God in which Sulamith has found rest from the deceitful world. Assad staggers hither; a weary, banished man. And again the Queen of Sheba appears before him offering him her love. But he flees from the false woman for whom he had sacrificed Sulamith, the noble one. A desert storm arises, burying Assad in the sand. When the sky becomes clear again Sulamith, taking a walk with her maidens, finds her lover. She pardons the dying man and points out to him the eternal joys which they will taste together.





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