Saul

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Synopsis

The libretto is freely adapted from the First Book of Samuel, Chapters 16 – 31, with additional material from the epic poem, the Davideis by Abraham Cowley. The printed libretto of Saul from 1738 credits the Davideis as the source of the contemptuous treatment of David by Princess Merab.

 

Act 1

The Israelites raise their voices in magnificent thanksgiving to God, for the young warrior David has slain the Philistine giant Goliath. At the court of King Saul, once a mighty warrior himself, all the people celebrate the hero David. Saul's son, Jonathan swears eternal devotion to David, but Saul's two daughters experience contrasting emotions – Michal is in love with David, but Merab feels contempt for him as a social inferior, a feeling that only increases when Saul offers her in marriage to David. A group of Israelite young women offer further tributes to David. King Saul is enraged at the way David is praised. Unable to restrain his anger, he orders Jonathan to kill David.


Act 2

The people of Israel reflect on the destructive power of envy. Jonathan pleads David's case to Saul, who appears to relent. Saul asks Jonathan to bring David back to court and promises Michal as David's bride, though Saul anticipates David's death in battle. David and Michal express their mutual love, but David reports that Saul's rage has not diminished and that Saul threw a javelin close past his head in frustration. Saul summons David to court again as both Michal and Merab express their faith that God will protect David. Jonathan tries to explain to Saul why David has not responded to his summons. Saul rages against both David and Jonathan.

 

Act 3

In despair, and though aware it is unlawful, Saul asks the Witch of Endor to raise the ghost of Samuel the prophet. Asked for advice, the ghost of Samuel reminds Saul that he had once predicted his downfall for sparing the king of the Amalekites whom Samuel had ordered killed. He predicts that David will inherit the kingdom of Israel when Saul and his sons die in the next day's battle. David learns from an Amalekite soldier of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan at the hands of the Amalekites, and David orders the Amalekite killed. After a funeral march for the Israelite dead. Merab, David, and Michal each in turn express their sorrow, particularly for the loss of Jonathan. A high priest predicts David will win future victories and the Israelites urge him to restore their kingdom.

Program and cast

Theater an der Wien

About the Theater an der Wien

The New Opera House is not just any theatre, but the one that Emanuel Schikaneder, the all-round genius, actor, impresario with a flair for organization but above all librettist of The Magic Flute, had built in 1801 in Vienna in keeping with the spirit of Mozart.

To coincide with the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth the Theater an der Wien presents itself as a new opera house from January 2006. As a “season” opera house with productions all the year round the Theater an der Wien carves a new and independent niche in the realm of high-quality culture in Vienna. For twelve months of the year, with one premiere every month, opera will be performed under the “stagione”, or season, system: that means the cast remains unchanged from the first performance to the last one, which guarantees that the very highest international standards are maintained.

The theatre’s modern, accessible approach to music theatre as demonstrated by the works performed, the overall artistic concept Bespielung and the artistes is further underlined by the building itself, its architecture and the vibrancy of its location. The surroundings and materials, the intimate atmosphere and perfect acoustics in the historical theatre prepare the senses to experience beauty. The Theater an der Wien deliberately enters into a symbiotic relationship with its lively surroundings on the Naschmarkt street market and the young cultural scene centred in the Schleifmühl quarter.
 

How to get there


With public transport:
 

We can be reached by public transport: 

U1, U2 und U4 Station Karlsplatz, Exit Secession
Bus 59A Station Bärenmühldurchgang
Bus 57A Station Laimgrubengasse, pedestrians via Laimgrubengasse to Linke Wienzeile

KAMMEROPER:
Fleischmarkt 24, 1010 Wien


We can be reached by public transport:
U1, U4: Station Schwedenplatz
Tram Linie D (bei Ablenukung über Kai), 1, 2: Station Schwedenplatz
Bus 3A (on workdays)

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