Saint-Saëns, Camille – Le Timbre d’Argent (Vocal Score with French libretto)
…. „I wanted to renew the genre of lyrical drama, but Wagner forestalled me,“(3) Camille Saint-Saëns explained in a letter to his pupil Gabriel Fauré, explaining the genesis of his first two-and-a-half-hour opera „Le Timbre d’Argent“. Fourteen more operas were to follow.
His opera in four acts, translated „Silberklang“ or „Silver Bell“, reprinted here, is about the artist Conrad, who loves gold, but also a painting he made of Circé, a personality from the Greek mythology. In its time, a silver bell was a commodity of households or hotel receptions, used to summon the staff, and is representative of the upper middle class, but at the same time a death bell.(4) One Christmas Eve, Conrad lies ill in bed, cared for by his friend Bénédict, his lover Héléne and his doctor Dr. Spiridon, whom he accuses of doing nothing to heal himself. In his feverish fantasies, he falls madly in love with Fiammetta, the Circé in his painting who has come to life, who courts him in many forms and to whom he succumbs. Dr. Spiridion gives Conrad a bell with which he can get all the gold he wants, but one person always has to die in return. This diabolic seduction of the doctor is supposed to help him gain wealth, happiness and gold. The use of the bell kills Héléne’s father, her sister Rosa and Conrad’s friend Bénédict. After these tragic events, Conrad throws off the devilish bell, and it turns out it was all just a bad nightmare. Conrad is healthy again and marries Héléne. …
For more information about the work read the preface to the full score > HERE