Shows "I"

IVANHOE Romantic opera in 3 acts, 9 scenes: based on the novel by Sir Walter Scott: Music - Sir Arthur Sullivan; libretto - Julian Sturgis. Royal English Opera House - 31 January, 1891 (155 perfs), SYNOPSIS Act I As Cedric's men prepare supper, he laments the King's many journeys abroad, the scurrilous behaviour of the Norman knights, and the absence of his estranged son, Ivanhoe. Isaac of York, a Jew, enters and asks for shelter. Although Cedric considers Isaac's race accursed, he will not refuse Saxon hospitality. A squire announces Sir Brian de Bois Guilbert, of the Knights Templar, and Maurice de Bracy, a knight and advisor to Prince John, who are on their way to a Royal tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche. They are Normans, and Cedric, a Saxon, loathes them. However, they too are granted hospitality. Ivanhoe is with them, in disguise. De Bracy asks after Cedric's fair ward, Rowena. Cedric replies that his ward will only marry a Saxon. Ivanhoe tells of a tournament he witnessed in the Holy Land where the English knights soundly defeated the Templars. Sir Brian was beaten by Ivanhoe, whom he wishes to challenge again. Rowena and the disguised Ivanhoe, whom no one recognises, assure Sir Brian that Ivanhoe will meet his challenge. After Rowena exits, Sir Brian and de Bracy agree that they will abduct her after the tournament at Ashby. Rowena laments the absence of her lover, Ivanhoe. He enters, still disguised as a holy palmer. She tells him that she hopes to be with Ivanhoe again. Ivanhoe tells Isaac that he has overheard Sir Brian planning to seize him the next day. Isaac promises to equip Ivanhoe (whom he recognises as a knight) with a horse and armour, and Ivanhoe in turn promises that, if they fly Cedric's hall directly, Isaac will be safe with him. They leave for the tournament at Ashby. At the tournament, King Richard, disguised as the Black Knight, has made a great impression with his victories. Prince John enters with Rowena, who has been named Queen of Beauty for the tournament. The Prince shrugs off a message that his brother, the King, has escaped from France. The Prince asks for challengers to the Norman knights. Ivanhoe, now in disguise as the Disinherited Knight, challenges Sir Brian. In a fierce clash, Ivanhoe again defeats Sir Brian, but is himself wounded. Ignoring Ivanhoe's protest, a Herald removes his helmet at Prince John's command so that he may be crowned victor of the tournament, and he is recognised by Cedric and Rowena. Act II King Richard, who is in hiding after his escape, shares a feast with Friar Tuck and challenges him to a song contest. The King sings "I ask nor wealth nor courtier's praise", while the Friar sings "Ho, jolly Jenkin". Locksley (Robin Hood) enters with the urgent message that Cedric and Rowena have been captured by de Bracy and Sir Brian, and the wounded Ivanhoe, travelling with Isaac and his beautiful daughter Rebecca, have also been captured. All are imprisoned at Torquilstone. The King, Locksley, Friar Tuck and all the outlaws rush off to rescue them. Cedric and Rowena are prisoners, and De Bracy plans to marry her, by force if necessary. De Bracy tells them that Ivanhoe, Isaac and Rebecca, are also prisoners. He promises that Ivanhoe will be safe if Rowena and Cedric comply with his wishes. Cedric is prepared to sacrifice Ivanhoe, but Rowena begs him to be merciful to them, as well as to Ivanhoe. She appeals to his honour, as a Knight and, begging him to save Ivanhoe, she promises to pray for de Bracy. After they have left, Sir Brian enters, and declares passionately his intention to woo, and win, Rebecca.