The Luthier of Cremona (with German and French libretto)
The Luthier of Cremona
(b. Pest, 15. September 1858 – d. Budapest, 12. March 1937)
The Luthier of Cremona is a two-act opera composed by Jenő Hubay in 1892. The libretto is based on a French drama by Francois Coppée and Henri Beauclair of 1876.
The opera is set in seventeenth-century Cremona around the luthier’s workshop of Taddeo Ferarri. His two apprentices, Filippo and Sandro, are both in love with Giannina, Ferrari’s daughter. Giannina is in love with Sandro, but not the hunchback, Filippo.
The opera opens in Ferrari’s workshop. Sandro watches the chorus praising the art of the luthier and playing instruments very badly. Ferrari enters announcing that the Guild of Luthiers is offering the prize of a golden chain for the maker of the best violin. As Ferrari sings of the honour of the violin, we hear Giannina chirping like a bird in the background. Ferrari tells Sandro that he will give his house and the hand of his daughter in marriage to the man who wins the golden chain. A love scene between Sandro and Giannina follows.
Giannina, left alone with her father is troubled when Ferrari tells her that he does not want her to marry Sandro. Whilst he goes down to the cellar to fetch wine, Giannina wallows in her grief. Sandro enters with a case containing the violin he has made, and they sing a love duet.
As Ferrari returns from the cellar, a commotion is heard outside and Filippo bursts onto the scene. He is out of breath, having been mobbed by a gang of lads. Giannina consoles Filippo and when Sandro and Ferrari leave, Filippo, with great pride, shows Giannina the violin he has made and plays it for her. She is enchanted by its tone and begins to cry. Filippo falls at Giannina’s knees and she explains that his playing has awakened intense feelings of love in her. It troubles her that she is in love with Sandro and does not want to give her heart to Filippo, and yet Filippo’s violin will surely win the contest. Alone in the workshop, Filippo, out of deep love and respect for Giannina, decides to exchange the two violins.
The day of the competition has come and the violins that have been entered are brought into Ferrari’s workshop for judging. Sandro is in a state of distress and makes a confession to Filippo. Knowing that Filippo’s violin is better than his own he has been dishonest and has changed the two instruments over, so that he can win the hand of Giannina. Filippo admits that he has done the same thing.
From the steps of the Town Hall in Cremona, the mayor calls Filippo to receive the prize of the golden chain for the best violin. He places the chain around Filippo’s neck. Filippo thanks him but, in a selfless act of love, takes off the chain and gives it to Giannina. He takes Sandro by the hand and leads him to Giannina. ‘I will take my craft to another country’, Filippo says, to the great admiration of the crowd. The opera ends as he walks away and begins his journey up the mountain.
Read full preface > HERE