Shows E

THE EMERALD ISLE or The Caves of Carric-Cleena A comic opera in 2 acts: Book and lyrics by Basil Hood. Music by Arthur Sullivan (Completed by Edward German). Savoy Theatre, London - 27 April 1901 (205 perfs) Herald Square Theatre, New York - 1 September, 1902 (50 perfs) SYNOPSIS (According to the libretto, the action takes place About a Hundred Years Ago.) Act I - Scene: Outside the Lord Lieutenant’s Country Residence. In a picturesque Irish village, the chorus speculate that Terence O’Brian, a local hero who has long been absent abroad, will soon return. O’Brien indeed appears, but they mistake him for a Saxon (hated by the Irish) because of his English accent. He assures them that, although he was educated at Oxford, he is thoroughly Irish, and is in fact descended from one of the ancient Irish kings, Brian Boru. Pat Murphy, a blind fiddler, tells O’Brien that the Lord Lieutenant has compelled all of the villagers to adopt English customs and speak in English accents. O’Brien vows to restore Irish customs to the district; he requires only a suitable tutor to re-educate the local people, since they have all forgotten how to be Irish. Professor Bunn enters. He has overheard the conversation. Although the Lord Lieutenant has hired him to be the Local Professor of English Elocution, he assures them that he can also train the local peasantry to be typically Irish. O’Brien is skeptical, but as Bunn has overheard them, they decide it would be better to forcibly initiate him into their secret society, the Clan-na-Gael. O’Brien tells Bunn that the ceremony will take place at midnight, at the Caves of Carrig-Cleena. O’Brien is secretly engaged to the Lord Lieutenant’s daughter, Lady Rosie Pippin. While he goes off for a secret rendezvous, he leaves Bunn in Murphy’s custody. Once they are alone, Murphy admits that he isn’t blind at all; he has only feigned blindness. But he is in love with Molly O’Grady, and he wants to tell her how beautiful she is, which he cannot do unless his blindness is cured. He suggests that Professor Bunn impersonate a doctor, who will restore his sight. Molly then enters, but she says that if Bunn could cure Murphy, she would marry Bunn. For now, Murphy decides to remain blind, after all. Jealous of Bunn, Murphy tells O’Brien that Bunn can’t be trusted. O’Brien threatens Bunn with death, but offers him a reprieve if he can manage to get a letter to Lady Rosie’s maid, which O’Brien himself has been unable to do. Bunn mesmerises the guard at the gate of the Lieutenant’s, and goes inside. Molly warns O’Brien that the Caves of Carrig-Cleena are a dangerous hiding place for the rebels, because fairies reside there. She tells him that the Fairy Cleena, their Queen, has taken a fancy to Blind Murphy, and does his house chores. (It is, in fact, Molly who has been doing them.) Molly and Murphy tell O’Brien the legend of the Fairy Cleena. Rosie, having received O’Brien’s message, comes out to greet him. From Rosie and her maid, Susan, he learns that Bunn had delivered a letter to the Lord Lieutenant himself. O’Brien is now even more convinced that Bunn can’t be trusted, but as he wants to be alone with Rosie, he directs Susan to keep an eye on the Professor. However, after Bunn tells Susan he’s a detective from Scotland Yard, she allows him to leave, noting that she is much enchanted by detectives. He goes into Murphy’s cottage to change into a disguise, which he has brought with him. The Lord Lieutenant enters, with the Countess and Dr. Fiddle. The Lieutenant is expecting Professor Bunn, who cannot be found. However, he has received an anonymous note warning that the rebel leader Terence O’Brien is in the area, and his hiding place is Carrig-Cleena. The Lieutenant vows to send troops to exterminate the rebels. Molly and Murphy have overheard this. Learning that Murphy is a musician, the Lieutenant hires him to play the bagpipes, anticipating a victory over the rebels. Molly is aghast when he accepts, as she believes his