Music with Ease > 19th Century German Opera (except Wagner) > The King's Children - Humperdinck
The King's Children
(German title: Königskinder)
An Opera by Engelbert Humperdinck
Opera by Engelbert Humperdinck with a libretto by Ernst Rosmer. The first performance on any stage was at the Metropolitan Opera House, December 28, 1910 with the following cast: king's son (Herman Jadlowker); goose girl (Geraldine Farrar); fiddler (Otto Goritz); witch (Otto Goritz); woodcutter (Adamo Didur); broom maker (Albert Reiss); two children (Edna Walter and Lotta Engel); senior councillor (Marcel Reiner); innkeeper (Antonio Pini-Corsi); innkeeper's daughter (Florence Wickham); tailor (Julius Bayer); stable girl (Marie Mattfeld); and two gatekeepers (Ernst Maran and William Hinshaw).
DER KONIGSSOHN (King's Son)
DIE GANSEMAGD (Goose Girl)
DER SPIELMANN (Fiddler)
DIE HEXE (Witch)
DER HOLZHACKER (Woodcutter)
DER BESEMBINDER (Broom Maker)
ZWEI KINDER (Two Children)
DER RATSALTESTE (Senior Councillor)
DER WIRT (Innkeeper)
DIE WIRTSTOCHTER (Innkeeper's Daughter)
DER SCHNEIDER (Tailor)
DIE STALLMAGD (Stable Girl)
ZWEI TORWACHTER (Two Gatekeepers)
Tenor & Baritone
A kings daughter forced to act as a goose-girl in a forest, by an old witch who has cast a spell upon her, is discovered and loved by a kings son. Though she returned his love and would gladly go with him she finds that she cannot break the spell which holds her a prisoner in the forest. Leaving the crown at her feet the prince continues his wanderings. No sooner has he gone than a broom-maker and a wood-chopper guided by a wandering minstrel come to the witchs hut. They are ambassadors from the city of Hellabrunn which has been so long without a sovereign that the people themselves feel sadly in need of a government. The ambassadors ask the witch who this ruler shall be and by what signs the people may recognize him. The witch answers that their ruler will be the first person who enters the gates of the city after the bells have rung the hour of noon on the following day, which is the day of the festival of Hella. The minstrel notices the beautiful goose-girl and recognizes her to be of royal birth. He breaks the spell of the witch and forces her to give the lovely maiden into his keeping. He persuades her to break the enchantment and defy the evil powers by which she has been bound.
The prince, meanwhile, is at Hellabrunn, acting as a swineherd. The innkeepers daughter loves the handsome young man but he proudly repulses her advances. He dreams of the goose-girl. The innkeepers daughter revenges herself by proclaiming him a thief. As he is about to be led away to prison the bells announce the hour of the festival, and the gates are thrown open in expectation of the new ruler. Through the gates comes the goose-girl, wearing her wreath of flowers and followed by her geese and the minstrel. The lovers embrace. But only the minstrel and a little child recognize their royal rank. The towns-people, thinking that their sovereign would appear in royal regalia, drive the kings children from the city, burn the witch, and break the minstrels leg on a wheel.
The two lovers lose their way in a forest as the snow falls. They both die of a poisoned loaf made by the witch. The children of Hellabrunn, guided by a bird, find them buried under the same tree under which they had first met.