opera notebook

some operas I have seen on video

Édouard Lalo, Le Roi d'Ys (1888)
Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Liège, 2008

The King of Ys announces
the betrothal of his daughter
to the Prince of the Boiled Shrimps

Okay, what happens in Le Roi d'Ys? The King of Ys, a sullen fellow in a bad bald wig, governs a city of people in green leprechaun hats. They are trying to make peace with a group of folks who resemble giant boiled shrimps. The King wants to marry his daughter Margared to the shrimp-prince Karnac, but she hates the guy, and would rather marry the green-clad tenor Mylio, except that Mylio is her sister Rozenn's boyfriend.

Various kinds of hell break loose. Mylio defeats Karnac in battle. Margared decides that the only way to get back at her family is to start dating Karnac, while enlisting his help to open the sluice gate and flood the city of Ys. Things get a bit wet, but then Margared feels sorry for what she did, sacrifices herself, and the city is saved.

This wacky but undeniably portentous story is the basis for some lush music by Lalo, and is well-sung here by the cast, especially Giuseppina Piunti as Margared.