Comedy Again?!? A Comic Opera Double Bill
featuring Chabrier's An Incomplete Education and d'Albert's The Departure

James Janssen, Music Director
Sally Craige Christensen, Stage Director
Mark Crayton, Production Coordinator

Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church
2120 Lincoln Street
Evanston IL 60201

Friday, March 13, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Now Showing: A Video of the March 14 Performance!

Click  below to watch each opera:

Meet our fabulous cast!

An Incomplete Education (Une éducation manquée)

Libretto by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo
English Version by Francis L. Lynch
Music by Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)
First performed May 1, 1879
Arranged for Flute, Clarinet, Triangle, and Piano by Francis L. Lynch

Synopsis: Arriving directly from their (teenage) wedding, the young Count Gontran and his wife Hélène, are both expecting some adult advice from their relations. Their annoyance is interrupted by the arrival of Pausanias, Gontran's tutor. Slightly tipsy, Pausanias explains in song that a certain wine that was sent to him in celebration of his student's wedding was to blame -- he had ended by drinking twelve glasses. Then Pausanias explains that although Hélène's aunt is ready to see her, as Gontran?s grandfather is ill he can't come to talk to the young man, but has sent a letter instead.

Alone, Gontran reads the letter (in song) which ends by saying that there is nothing Gontran's grandfather can teach him... Gontran hastily pens a letter to Pausanias, asking him to return and give him wedding-night advice. Hélène enters, and it turns out that her aunt's advice was simply to be kind and obedient to her husband. In a duet they exchange a kiss but realize that there must be something more to being husband and wife...

Alone again, Gontran gets more irritated, as Pausanias returns, hinting that he might be interrupting something. Gontran complains that Pausanias was engaged to teach him all that a man should know about life. In a buffo duo, Pausanias rejects this, insisting that he has taught Gontran Hebrew, Hindi, algebra, chemistry, Greek, trigonometry, metaphysics, therapeutics, mechanics, dialectics, aesthetics, statistics, mythology, metallurgy, and so on. Gontran rebuts "no, a thousand times, no, that's not enough!" Finally, Pausanias admits that he doesn't know -- he is too busy, and it wasn't on the curriculum. But he promises to find out and return immediately.

Gontran curses his tutor, but, as a storm gathers, confesses his discomfort with stormy weather; as thunder sounds Hélène rushes into the room with her nightdress undone, and explains that she is really frightened of thunder. Gontran is struck by how attractive she looks and tells her the best way to remain calm in a storm is to come closer and hold hands. As their duo takes flight they get closer still and kiss more and more -- and find the answer to their question.

But they are interrupted as Pausanias returns. Gontran orders him out -- asking the indulgence of the audience. After a quick reprise of the previous duo the curtain falls.

The Departure (Die Abreise)

Libretto by Ferdinand Count von Sporck after a Comedy by Ludovic Halévy
English Version by Clayne W. Robison
Music by Eugen d'Albert (1864-1932)
First performed October 20, 1898
Arranged for Flute, Clarinet, and Piano by Francis L. Lynch

Synopsis: Gilfen and Luise have been married for many years, and the passion in their relationship has dimmed considerably. The evening of his planned departure on a long journey that will keep him away from his wife for months, Gilfen questions the wisdom of leaving. He is suspicious of his friend Trott, who seems all too fond of Luise. Trott enters and professes his deep friendship with Gilfen, and offers his services to assist in Gilfen's preparations for departure. Sensing his friend's true intentions, he sets Trott on a series of tasks that will take him from one end to the other of the city, then leaves to attend to some last minute letters.

As Trott is about to set out on his tasks, Luise enters and asks why he is off in such a hurry. Trott tells her that her husband is leaving, and suggests that this is an opportunity for the two of them. Gilfen returns just as he professes his love, and asks why he has not left yet. Trott hurries off to perform his tasks. Luise remains alone and sings sadly of Gilfen's remembered love and laments his desire to leave her. Gilfen then returns and asks her what she was singing about. She avoids an answer but expresses her regret that they no longer seem to mean enough to each other for him to stay. After she exits, Gilfen wonders if she truly wants him to stay.

Trott returns in a state of exhaustion from his tasks. Gilfen, about to leave, puts Trott on the spot by saying, "You should be going with me." Trott replies, "You don't want me!" and Gilfen leaves. When Luise enters, Trott imagines himself at the goal of his yearning desires. But Luise remains steadfast. Suddenly they hear a noise, and Gilfen steps through the veranda door. One of Gilfen's horses, he explains, has run away, and Trott wearily goes off to track it down. Gilfen then confesses to Luise that that he set the horse free deliberately, and that he has returned for her love. When Trott returns with the news that the the horses are ready, his dreams are dashed when Gilfen declares, "My wife has asked me to stay... it's time for you to go!" Resigned, Trott starts to leave but receives a new glimmer of hope when Luise appears and throws him a letter. Much to his dismay, he discovers it's a farewell letter. Trott finally realizes his carefully laid plans have come to nothing, and he is the one who must depart.