2001: A Space Opera
Die Meisterfilker von Ostenborn
SYNOPSIS OF THE LIBRETTO.
The abduction of the Gräfin has brought the filking contest to a halt, and the Judge rules that it must begin again once the Gräfin has been recovered and the culprit found. Zannhäuser is thrown into confusion: having used all the filking potion the previous night, he must now somehow find some more. He meets with an old witch, who gives him directions to a cave outside the city where the main ingredient of the potion may be found. If he will go and get some of the fungus that grows on the wall of this cave, she says, she will make the potion for him. Zannhäuser sets out in high spirits.
Unknown to him, the abduction is a ruse. The Gräfin has spirited herself away in order to observe the conduct of the contestants. She sees the Apprentices dutifully practising, but can see no sign of Zannhäuser, and in a tearful recitative she mourns the fickleness of men. Her maidservant Michala counsels her to wait and see: men can appear fickle and untrustworthy, she says, but all may not be as it seems. Suddenly the Judge enters, and is shocked to see the Gräfin alive and visibly unabducted. At first he is cold and angry, determined to reveal the Gräfin's duplicity and declare the contest null and void. The Gräfin pleads with him, and eventually he yields, but at a price: Michala must be his to do with as he pleases for this night. In the morning, he will announce the "return" of the Gräfin and resume the contest. Michala bemoans her fate, but is comforted by the Gräfin who gives her a sleeping draught to put in the Judge's wine.
Zannhäuser approaches the cave, singing a bold and martial song which gradually falters as strange noises from within signify the presence of something, man or beast. Then the wind changes, and the sound of the Apprentices is brought to him from the distant city. Resolved once more, he enters the cave, which closes behind him to the sound of evil laughter and thunder rolling in the hills...
To Be Continued...
Back to Act 1: I FILKERI