Valencian dramatic opera in three acts
Music by Manuel Palau
Libretto by Xavier Casp
Premiere (concert version): València, Palau de la Música, 23rd May 2002
24th, 27th, 30th April 2014 –
The performances start at 8:00 pm. Sundays and holidays, at 7:00 pm
Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia, Sala Principal
Manuel Galduf Stage Director
Antonio Díaz Zamora
Ballet de la Generalitat
Escolania de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats
Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana
Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana
S Y N O P S I S
A village in the Marina region of Valencia, around 1940. It is a sunny spring morning. Maria is putting the finishing touches to her brother Toni’s house to welcome him, a modest fisherman in his forties, and his wife back from their honeymoon. The newly weds, Toni and his young wife Rosa, appear accompanied by Estrop (Rosa’s grandfather), Rosa’s friends and her sister Teresa. Maria and Ana (Rosa and Teresa’s mother) go upstairs to prepare the bedrooms. Rosa’s friends say goodbye to her, wishing her all the best in her marriage.
The two sisters are alone. Rosa admits she is not completely happy with Toni, as she cannot forget her previous boyfriend Tonet (Toni’s son), who disappeared three years before and is presumed dead. Teresa encourages her to leave the past behind and concentrate on her new life. She says goodbye to her and leaves with Estrop. Before Maria leaves, she talks to Rosa and makes her see that now she is the mistress of that house. Once again the name of Tonet inevitably crops up in the conversation.
Rosa drops into a chair, exhausted. In a deep but restless sleep, she sees spirits dancing round the room and hears Tonet’s voice telling her that his ship did not sink as everyone believed, but that he was kidnapped. She wakes up startled. Just at that moment, Toni bursts in, upset. He is holding a letter from his son Tonet who explains that he is alive and living in Germany, and that he has started his journey back to the village. Rosa and Toni are excited at such good news, but they are also worried about how Tonet will react when he finds out that his fiancée and father have married. At that moment Tonet appears in the hall by surprise. Father and son embrace. Tonet tries to kiss Rosa, but she turns away not knowing what to say. Toni clears the confusion saying that Rosa is now his wife. Tonet cries out, furious. Rosa faints.
Preparations are underway at Rosa and Toni’s house for the baptism of their first child. The guests sing canticles as an offering of the child to the figure of Christ of the fishermen. More guests arrive. Finally the baby’s godparents arrive (Tonet and Teresa) carrying the baby and the celebration begins with a series of dances.
Tonet confesses to his father that he can no longer live in the same family environment as him and Rosa, who approaches at that moment and becomes involved in the argument. Tonet reproaches his father for stealing the love of his life from him, and he proposes to go somewhere far away. Teresa appears as the situation becomes more strained. Toni moves away and Rosa begins to cry. Teresa consoles Tonet and affectionately speaks to him while she caresses him. She is in love with him. Rosa and Toni, each one from an aside, look on emotionally, aware that a relationship is flourishing between the couple that will bring peace to them all. But, deep down, Rosa does not want this to happen as she is still in love with Tonet.
Rosa rocks the cradle while she sings. Tonet enters the house very agitated, in search of a rope. He kisses Rosa, a kiss that seems to bid her farewell, and leaves quickly. Maria lights a candle at the feet of the figure of Christ and tells Rosa that Toni is fighting in his ship against the swell (Maror) not far from the port. All the men have gone to help him and all they can do is wait and pray. But Rosa cannot hold back her distress any longer and she runs out in the direction of the port. Maria stays with the child.
The sad expression on the face of Estrop standing in the hall forebodes the tragedy: Toni has drowned despite Tonet’s attempts to save him. Tonet was seriously injured when he was thrown by the sea against a rock. The fishermen carry him home on their shoulders. Rosa embraces and kisses him in despair. Tonet is delirious and keeps asking if Toni has been saved. Finally, he realises Toni has not been saved and he dies.