The Puritans

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May 2022 Next



England in about 1650, at the time of the power struggle between Oliver Cromwell’s Puritans and the royal Cavaliers. King Charles I. goes to his execution, followed by the pitiless looks of the Puritans.Act 1

Waltons’s Castle

Lord Walton has promised the hand of his daughter to one of his officers, Sir Richard Forth. However, Sir Richard has found out that Elvira is in love with another: Lord Arthur Talbot. Distraught, he relates his woes to his friend, Sir Benno Robertson. Benno tries to comfort Sir Richard and take his mind off his troubles. Elvira learns from her Uncle, George, that he has been able to persuade her father to allow her to follow her heart; her nuptials with Arthur can take place that very day. The assembled crowd celebrates the arrival of Lord Arthur and cheers the young couple. 
Lord Walton declares that he cannot attend the wedding because he must accompany a mysterious state prisoner from the Fortress to parliament. This woman prisoner is suspected of being a spy for the Stuarts. He declares that no one shall leave the fortress without a pass. He gives a pass to Arthur. Elvira withdraws a dress for the wedding, and the others follow her. The prisoner and Arthur are left alone. Arthur recognizes the prisoner as Henrietta, widow of the executed Charles I.
Since she faces the same fate as her husband, Arthur, a secret adherent of the Stuarts, is prepared to do all he can to save her from death. When Elvira returns, she asks Henrietta to put on the bridal veil so that she can see how it looks. Henrietta obliges. Elvira has to go back to her room. Left alone once more with the unfortunate woman, Arthur persuades Henrietta to escape – under the protection of the bridal veil to conceal her identity. 
As they depart, they meet Sir Richard, who is determined not to let Arthur have his beloved Elvira without a fight. He challenges Arthur to a duel. Henrietta throws herself between the two men, the veil becomes disarranged, and Sir Richard realizes he has misjudged the situation. He decides to allow the couple to escape, delighted that it was not Elvira under the veil. The wedding party returns to the room and is outraged at the flight of Arthur and the prisoner. Elvira is completely stunned by the faithfulness she wrongly supposes Arthur to be guilty of and loses her reason.


Walton’s Castle

The occupants of the fortress bemoan Elvira’s lot. Sir Richard reports that parliament has condemned Arthur to die. Elvira’s behavior in front of Sir George and Sir Richard leaves no doubt of her wretched mental state. Sir George believes that a welcome surprise could restore her sanity. He implores Sir Richard to save Arthur. At length, Sir Richard agrees: only if Arthur is in league with the enemy shall he die.


In a forest

Arthur’s love for Elvira drives him to leave his exile to see her. The strains of a romance issue from the house, sung by Elvira, and Arthur joins in.
When Elvira enters, Arthur explains the reasons for his flight and begs her forgiveness. At times, Elvira seems to be in possession of all her senses. But as Arthur’s pursuers approach, she loses her reason again. She takes the Puritans’ drums for wedding music and believes Arthur will leave her again.
The puritans enter bearing torches and threaten to kiss Arthur. The shock of seeing her lover in danger of his life restores Elvira to her senses. The situation seems hopeless, Elvira and Arthur wish each other farewell forever.
A herald arrives with the news of the defeat of the Stuarts and a pardon for all the prisoners. Elvira falls into the arms of Arthur; in this moment, Richard flings himself at the couple and stabs Arthur.

Program and cast

Vienna State Opera

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Subway lines: U1, U2, U4
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Buses: 59A
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The Wiener Staatsoper and the ÖPARK Kärntner Ring Garage on Mahlerstraße 8, under the “Ringstraßengalerien”, offer the patrons of the Vienna State Opera a new, reduced parking fee. You can park in the Kärntner Ring Garage for up to 8 hours and pay only a flat fee of € 6, -. Just validate your ticket at one of the discount machines inside the Wiener Staatsoper. The normal rate will be charged for parking time greater than 8 hours. The validation machines can be found at the following coat checks: Operngasse, Herbert von Karajan-Platz, and the right and left and balcony galleries.

Important: In order to get the discount, please draw a ticket and do not use your credit card when entering the garage!

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The machines accept coins and bills up to 50.- Euro. Parking time longer than 8 hours will be charged at the normal rate.


The structure of the opera house was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the inside was designed by interior decorator Eduard van der Nüll. It was also impacted by other major artists such as Moritz von Schwind, who painted the frescoes in the foyer, and the famous "Zauberflöten" (“Magic Flute”) series of frescoes on the veranda. Neither of the architects survived to see the opening of ‘their’ opera house: the sensitive van der Nüll committed suicide, and his friend Sicardsburg died of a stroke soon afterwards.


On May 25, 1869, the opera house solemnly opened with Mozart's Don Giovanni in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
The popularity of the building grew under the artistic influence of the first directors: Franz von Dingelstedt, Johann Herbeck, Franz Jauner, and Wilhelm Jahn. The Vienna opera experienced its first high point under the direction of Gustav Mahler. He completely transformed the outdated performance system, increased the precision and timing of the performances, and also utilized the experience of other noteworthy artists, such as Alfred Roller, for the formation of new stage aesthetics.


The years 1938 to 1945 were a dark chapter in the history of the opera house. Under the Nazis, many members of the house were driven out, pursued, and killed, and many works were not allowed to be played.


On March 12, 1945, the opera house was devastated during a bombing, but on May 1, 1945, the “State Opera in the Volksoper” opened with a performance of Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. On October 6, 1945, the hastily restored “Theaters an der Wien” reopened with Beethoven's FIDELIO. For the next ten years the Vienna State Opera operated in two venues while the true headquarters was being rebuilt at a great expense.


The Secretary of State for Public Works, Julius Raab, announced on May 24, 1945, that reconstruction of the Vienna State Opera would begin immediately. Only the main facade, the grand staircase, and the Schwind Foyer had been spared from the bombs. On November 5, 1955, the Vienna State Opera reopened with a new auditorium and modernized technology. Under the direction of Karl Böhm, Beethoven’s FIDELIO was brilliantly performed, and the opening ceremonies were broadcast by Austrian television. The whole world understood that life was beginning again for this country that had just regained its independence.


Today, the Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world; in particular, it is the house with the largest repertoire. It has been under the direction of Dominique Meyer since September 1, 2010.

© Bwag/Commons
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