A New Opera in Three Acts.
Written expressly for the Savoy Theatre.
Founded on the French of Michel Carré.
English Lyrics by Frederic E. Weatherly
English Dialogue by Harry Greenbank.
New Version, with New Lyrics by Adrian Ross.
The Music by André Messager.
Chorus of Gipsies, Soldiers, Villagers, Ladies, and Gentlemen.
The Opera produced under the stage direction of Mr. Charles Harris, and under the personal supervision of the Author and Composer.
Act I. — A Forest Glade in Flanders. — J. Harker.
Act II. — Hall in the Château of the Marquise. — W. Harford.
Act III. — A Village Green, near the Château. — T.E. Ryan
(An interval of one month is supposed to elapse between Acts I and II, and an interval of three weeks between Acts II and III.)
Scene. — A Forest Glade in Flanders. As the curtain rises Gipsies are discovered sitting and lying round a large fire, which is lighted in the centre of the stage.FrancalandBertuccio are throwing dice on a fallen tree. Some of the Gipsies are drinking. Chorus.
Chorus. All Adam’s heirs could take their shares, etc.
Bertuccio. But lords sprang up by right of birth
To waste the food of seven;
They took the water and the earth,
And the parsons took the heaven.
There were three things they cannot bind,
And four they rule not over,
The sun, and the moon, and the roaming wind,
And the heart of a gipsy rover!
As Adam’s heirs we take our shares,
And do not wait to pay!
We have our right by darkest night,
Though the lords may rule by day!
Chorus. As Adam’s heirs we take our shares, etc.
Francal. That’s right, Bertuccio. We gipsies are the only true philosophers.
Zerbinette. Mercy! What’s that?
Francal. A philosopher? Well, he’s a man who’s always talking, and nobody ever attends to him.
Bertuccio. Like you, dear!
Zerbinette. You’re always making fun of me. I don’t see why I should not do for your Queen, as well as that stupid little Mirette.
Bertuccio. Where is Mirette?
Francal. And where is our good Picorin?
Zerbinette. Oh, Mirette’s mooning about the woods, somewhere, and Picorin’s mooning after Mirette. I hate to see a man so infatuated!
Francal. Ha, ha! you needn’t mind, child; you’ve won Bobinet, and he is the prize of our lottery.
Bertuccio. And where’s Bobinet? (A loud sneeze is heard behind the trees.)
Zerbinette. That noise! Come to my arms! (Bobinet appears wet and muddy) — No, don’t! Go away! (Bobinetadvances towards her, tries to embrace her, she boxes his ears and runs off.)
Francal. Why, Bobinet, what have they done to you?
Bertuccio. Why did they duck you? Had you been singing to them?
Bobinet. Nothing of the sort. I’ve been hunting! (Bobinet goes to the fire to warm himself.)
Francal. What have you caught?
Bobinet. I have caught the biggest cold in Flanders, and I’ve brought it with me. Atschi! (Sneezes.) And I’ve got — atschi — something else. Here you are — catch! ca — atschi! (Throws duck at Francal.)
Francal. A duck! How did you get it?
Bobinet. I’ll tell you — but just wait a moment. Stand aside! (Makes awful faces, trying to sneeze.) Oh, no, it’s no good! When I’ve told my story I’ll go and change. I always like to dress for dinner.
Song of the Duck. — BobinetwithChorus.
I know a little farmyard nicely stocked,
Chorus. Forward, then, our way we wend, etc.
Mirette. Fire may fail in wintry frost,
Winds may be keen and chill, Ah!
Chorus. Ah! la la la la!
Mirette. But our freedom’s worth its cost,
They may be slaves who will! Ah!
Chorus. Ah! la la la la!
Mirette. Camping nightly in our ring,
Round the fire’s glow,
Who cares? Merrily we sing,
Till the flame is low!
Like the swallows on the wind,
Like the winds that blow,
Who cares? Merrily we sing,
Onward still we go!
Chorus. La la la la!
Mirette. Forward, then, our way we wend
Down the road that has no end,
Over land and over sea,
For this is the song of the Zingari!
Chorus. Forward, then, our way we wend, etc.
Francal. That’s our own little lass! Give me a kiss, child. Why do you always wander away dreaming?
Mirette. I was thinking, Francal, of what you told me the other day. It was in this country road you found me, long ago; and I was wondering if I should ever learn who my parents were. Perhaps they might be —
Francal. Might be — what?
Mirette. You’ll only laugh at me if I tell you.
Francal. Well, Mirette, your mother might have been a queen, for all I know, though I’m bound to say she was very well disguised. But we’ll inquire in the villages round here.
Mirette. You are very kind.
Francal. But why should you want to know? I’m a father to you, all the boys are your brothers, and want to be something better, and all the girls are as jealous of you as if you were their own sister. You’re our child, dear!
Song. — FrancalwithChorus.
When winter gales were loud and winter snows were flying,
We found a woman dying upon the frozen way:
And at rest, on her breast her little child was lying;
Chorus. But if she marries, etc.
Francal. Come, Mirette, is there nobody here good enough for your ladyship? You’ve had your choice of all. No, not quite all! Bobinet’s come back and he’s dressing. Perhaps he’s the favoured man? No? — then there can only be one other, and that is — Picorin! (Enter Picorinfrom tent.)
Picorin. Yes, Captain.
Francal. What have you been doing, pray?
Picorin (confused). Only spreading some cloaks in the tent. I thought — perhaps — Mirette —
Mirette. It was very good of you, Picorin!
Francal. Very good indeed. He’s the man, evidently. Well, we’re off now to reap our harvest. Come along!
Picorin. Captain, let me stay and guard Mirette —
Francal. Oh, that’s it, is it? Well, my lad, do your best to win here, for she must marry among us, and you’re our last chance — bar Bobinet, of course! (Exeunt all of the Gipsies exceptFrancal, Picorin, andMirette. Re-enterBobinetin another dress, and Zerbinette.)
Zerbinette. You’re no good, Bobinet — away all day, and coming back with a cold and a miserable duck. (Bobinettries to kiss her.) No, you’ll be giving me a sneezing fit next. Come along!
Bobinet. I’m not coming. I’ve done my work, and I’m going to stop by the fire. This is my best suit, and I can’t afford to risk it. Another duck — another ducking, at least — and I should have to pose as a living picture while my clothes were drying.
Francal. All right, you’ll be sentinel, and guard the camp. There’s a gun for you.
Bobinet. Thanks, I don’t want it. It might go off!
Francal. Nonsense! And you won’t be alone — Picorin will be with you.
Bobinet. But he might ho off, too!
Francal. And Mirette will be here, too —
Zerbinette. Oh, Mirette, Mirette! it’s always Mirette! Now, look here, Francal. Bobinet is a poor creature, but he’s the only sweetheart I’ve got, and I’m not going to have him marry Mirette.
Bobinet. Make your mind easy, my dear. I promise to remain single for your sake, till you come back! (ExitFrancal, followed byZerbinettethreateningBobinet. PicorinandMirettecome down.)
Picorin. Mirette, I have been wanting to speak to you all t-day.
Mirette. Well, Picorin, you’ve had plenty of chances.
Bobinet. Mirette, I should like to speak to you, too!
Picorin. Get away, Mirette doesn’t want you!
Bobinet. Picorin, you are rude — positively rude. However, I pardon you. An ordinary person like yourself cannot understand the attraction I possess for the softer sex.
Mirette. But what will your sweetheart say to you?
Picorin. Yes, and what will she do to you?
Bobinet. That’s nothing. The loss of a mere handful of hair will not spoil my beauty. I would risk more than that to please Mirette.
Mirette. But you don’t please me!
Picorin. Look here, you were set to mount guard. Go and do it! (Pushes Bobinetup, and comes back.) Now, Mirette.
Mirette. Now, Picorin.
Picorin. Has Francal spoken to you about —
Mirette. About marrying? Yes. He has told me to take my choice among the band, and I have chosen —
Picorin. Chosen — whom?
Picorin. Ah, Mirette! may I hope — (Bobinetcomes down.)
Bobinet. Look here, I don’t think I ought to leave you here — a young, innocent couple, wholly unprotected.
Picorin. Go away! Keep to your beat!
Bobinet. I do call that rude. (Retires up and paces to and fro behind the trees.)
Mirette. I know what you are going to say, Picorin. You’re like all the other gipsies; you want to marry me.
Picorin. Ah, Mirette! surely you are a witch to know my inmost thoughts! I have never told you I loved you.
Mirette. No, but you are always looking at me — sighing — bringing me woodland flowers and greenhouse fruit. Do I not know what that means?
Picorin. It means occasional difficulties with hireling gardeners.
Mirette. You are too good to me. If I ever marry a gipsy it shall be you; — but perhaps I shall not marry a gipsy.
Picorin. But they don’t marry gipsy girls, except in fairy tales; and then the gipsies turn out to be princesses.
Mirette. I might turn out to be somebody.
Picorin. You have turned out to be somebody — the only somebody I ever cared for.
Mirette. Well, Picorin, you have my promise. I feel weary now, and I’ll go into the tent.
Picorin. Sweet dreams to you, dear. Dream of anything pleasant, except your fairy prince. Well, hang it! dream of him too, of it pleases you. What do I matter?
Mirette. Good night, and thank you, dear Picorin! (Exit to tent.)
Picorin. She says that as if she cared a little — ah, well! when she finds that fairy princes are not for her, I may have my chance. Good-night, dear.
Song. — Picorin.
[words by Adrian Ross]
Now stars above the forest glimmer,
And earth lies dreaming underneath their light,
Your starry eyes grow dim and dimmer,
’Tis time to say, “good-night, good-night!”
Oh, bird-song through the stillness throbbing,
And brooklet sobbing,
Down the woodland way,
Wake not my love, till dawn of day,
My love that in my keeping,
Away from life lies softly sleeping!
When night has drawn her veil above you,
And golden dust of sleep has shut your eyes,
Then I may dare to say ? I love you,”
When only night replies.
Then dreams of happy love deceive me,
To leave me
When the dawn is grey,
For all my vision fade away,
And you seem far above me.
I dare not ask, I dare not hope that you, Mirette, may love me!
(After song,Picorinwalks to fire, Bobinetcomes down.)
Picorin. The fire is nearly out. Go and pick up a few sticks, Bobinet. I’ll mount guard.
Bobinet. No, thank you. It’s dark and lonely out there, and I don’t like it. Besides, I was told to stand sentry here, and only a coward would desert his post in the hour of danger.
Picorin. Then I’ll go myself. Keep a shark look-out, and see that no harm happens to Mirette. She’s asleep there. [ExitPicorin.] Bobinet. That’s all very well, but what am I to do? Here am I, an unprotected male, alone in a forest with a girl asleep. It’s not safe — I mean the forest isn’t safe. Who goes there? A friend? Give the pass word! I don’t know it myself, but that doesn’t matter. No, it’s a tree! I wish the trees wouldn’t walk about so. It does make me so nervous. I think I’ll sing, to keep my spirits up. If there’s anybody about, it may frighten them.
(Finishes with a dance.)
Bobinet. It’s strange, but I don’t feel any better. What’s that? Voices coming this way? Where shall I go? I’ll get into the tree, it’ll be nice and quiet among the little green leaves. (Puts gun down and climbs tree.) What a nuisance! I’ve left my gun at the bottom. (EnterBaron Van den BergandGerardtalking. They come down.) Who is it? Police? No, it’s a couple of noblemen. I’m sorry for Mirette.
Gerard. But, my dear Baron —
Baron. My dear Gerard, as you are about to become allied to our family by marrying my daughter, Bianca, it is necessary to settle these disputes at once.
Gerard. Surely the marriage settles all disputes about land.
Baron. Allow me to differ from you. This piece of ground on which we are standing has been for seven centuries disputed between the Van den Bergs and your family, the De Montignys. It has caused ten private wars, sixteen duels, mostly fatal, and a law suit of two centuries’ duration.
Gerard. Yes, but it’s getting late, and the forest —
Baron. An hour or two will be enough to explain the situation. There lie the lands of your aunt, the Marquise. (Affected.) Ah, your aunt!
Gerard. Oh, my aunt!
Baron. On that side lie my lands, duly settled on Bianca, and her heirs in tail male, with remainder to the collateral branch of Van den Berg-Schinkenstein. The boundary runs —
Gerard. The boundary shall run where you like, sir.
Baron. My dear Gerard, you are very good, but law is law. We have always contended that the border runs through the middle of this large tree —
Bobinet. Oh, dear! Why couldn’t he choose another!
Gerard (sees gun). Why, what’s this? A gun!
Baron. A gun! It must belong to one of the poaching thieves who have been prowling round the country.
Trio. — Gerard, Bobinet, and the Baron.
[words by Adrian Ross]
Gerard. Now here’s a gun that’s freshly primed,
Where can the owner be?
Bobinet. Oh, that’s a question most ill-timed!
Baron. I think he possibly has climbed
Up a tree!
All. Up a tree! Up a tree!
Gerard. Then look in every twig and bough,
There’s something there, I see!
Bobinet. I knew they’d find me out somehow!
Baron. You villain, I have got you now
Up a tree!
All. Up a tree! Up a tree!
Baron. Well, I say one, and I say two,
And when I come to three
Gerard. Come down, or he will riddle you!
Bobinet. I’d rather stay and have the view
Up a tree!
All. Up a tree! Up a tree!
Baron. But I object; and I have got
The gun you left for me!
Gerard. So come to us; if you do not —
Bobinet. I’m coming quicker than a shot
Down the tree!
All. Down the tree! Down the tree!
(Bobinetcomes down the tree and is collared by theBaron. Dance.)
Bobinet. Oh, have mercy, my lord! I’m a poor but honest robber.
Baron. Are there any more of you here, rascal?
Bobinet. Only Mirette, and she’s asleep. She won’t hurt you.
Gerard. Mirette? A girl? Where is she?
Bobinet. There, in the tent!
Baron. Well, Mirette can go to jail with you, then.
Gerard. Come, Baron. I don’t think we need trouble about a girl!
Baron. She has been trespassing on my lands.
Gerard. I beg your pardon, Baron, on my aunt’s lands. You see, as you remarked, the boundary runs through the middle of that tree.
Baron. To be sure! But I hope you will not let a gipsy go free. These people are a pest to society.
Bobinet. I call that very rude, when I am present.
Baron. Hold your tongue, sirrah! Shall a Van den Berg bandy words with a gipsy — we who have never had less than sixty-four quarterings in our family?
Bobinet. Sixty-four quarterings? Whew! that beats us; we never had anything worse than a few hangings in our family.
Gerard. We needn’t be hard on a girl — perhaps a pretty girl.
Bobinet. A very pretty girl!
Baron. I think, M. Gerard de Montigny, I had better take charge of this very pretty girl!
Bobinet. What a bad old Baron!
Gerard. My dear Baron, if there’s any dispute, I shall claim your prisoner. The boundary goes through the tree, and he was on the tree.
Baron. I say half of him belongs to me. Shall I make the division?
Bobinet. No, I protest! If you are so rude, I shall feel very much cut up!
Baron. But the girl is on your aunt’s lands, not on yours.
Gerard. Exactly, and my aunt shall say what’s to be done with her. If the girl turns out pretty and clever, she may keep her at the château. She wants a maid.
Baron. My dear Gerard, that alters the case. I thought — but no matter what. If the Marquise wishes for the girl —
Bobinet. Or anything else that doesn’t belong to you!
Baron (toBobinet). Silence! (ToGerard). She shall have her. I will take this rascal to the village, and come back with a squad of soldiers to look up our gipsy friends. Now, knave, march!
Bobinet. Mayn’t I say good-bye to Mirette?
Baron. March, and if you try to escape — (Presents gun atBobinet.)
Bobinet. Now I call that rude — oh, don’t, please! My lord! your worship! your majesty! your admiralty! Oh, my own gun, too! [ExeuntBobinetandBaron.]
Gerard. Now for my sleeping beauty. That old fool of a Baron thinks his son-in-law should wear blinkers, and only see the daughter dangled in front of his nose. Bianca’s all very well — a little white mouse — but a man can’t be always hanging round one girl! Here’s the tent! (Draws curtain.) Ah, I see her!
Duet. — MiretteandGerard.
Mirette (awakening). Ah!
Gerard. Nay, do not fly from me!
Gerard. Come near! Come near!
I am no wolf to eat you, dear,
No harm can come when I am here!
Mirette. I could not tell —
It was so strange to see you by me,
I thought no stranger knew our woodland dell!
Gerard. Ah! say what name your people gave you?
My forest nymph, my queen of song!
Perhaps I have the power to save you
From grief and woe, from want and wrong.
Mirette. I am Mirette, or so they call me,
Those who have reared me till today!
They will not let a grief befall me
That they have power to keep away —
With them, with them I stay!
So forget this woodland shady,
All we said let each forget;
You, a lord, must woo a lady,
I am the gipsy girl, Mirette!
I shall love this woodland shady,
As the spot where first we met;
Fair as any queen or lady,
Is the gipsy girl, Mirette!
Gerard. Mirette! It’s a pretty name! You are too sweet for this roving life. Come, I can save you from poverty.
Mirette. Ah, no! I know what the promises of nobles mean — to gipsy girls!
Gerard. But, child, why should you not come to the château — the Marquise de Montigny, my aunt, wants a girl; she said so only today.
Mirette. A servant?
Gerard. A pretty companion, to sing to her and cheer her. At a word from me, she would take you.
Mirette. No, no. These gipsies are my people, and with them I must remain.
Gerard. But you do not seem like one of them! There is something about you as if you were of a higher race.
Mirette. You, too, think so? It may be true!
Gerard (aside). I never knew that remark fail with the lower orders. (Aloud.) Come!
Mirette. No! Go and leave me! You are not safe. The gipsies may return at any moment. (Sounds of branches snapping.) Hark! they are coming!
Gerard. I am not afraid of them!
Mirette. But I am afraid for you! For my sake — go!
Gerard. Good-bye, Mirette. If you are in trouble, remember Gerard — Gerard de Montigny! (Exit asPicorinre-enters with bundle of sticks.)
Picorin. Well, you little coward, Bobinet, you’ve given me a nice trouble! Not a dry stick for half-a-mile! Eh, Bobinet? Where are you going?
Mirette. It was not Bobinet, Picorin.
Picorin. Mirette, who has been here?
Mirette. A gentleman — he called himself Gerard de Montigny!
Picorin. Gerard de Montigny — and he was talking to you? Is he your fairy prince?
Mirette. Oh, Picorin!
Picorin. No! it’s oh, Mirette! So I find you flirting with the first fine coat you meet.
Mirette. There was a gentleman inside the coat.
Picorin. There always is inside any fine coat. Gold lace and a stick to hang it on — that’s your gentleman!
Mirette. At any rate he has manners — which is more than you have!
Picorin. There, Mirette, I dare say you meant no harm.
Mirette. Thank you for very little.
Picorin. But I’ll swear he did. Don’t you listen to these smooth-tongued fops.
Mirette. I prefer them to rough-tongued churls, like yourself.
Picorin. Mirette, you are not your old self to-night.
Mirette. Then let my new self be, and go after the old one — you’ll find her in the woods. Addio, Signor Picorini!
Picorin. One word, Mirette! [Exeunt.]
EnterChorus, Francal, Bertuccio, andZerbinette.