IL Talismano Libretto by Arthur Matthison
The opera IL Talismano is a love story set during the Crusade of King Richard of England. The original English libretto was by Arthur Matthison; it was translated into Italian by Giuseppe Zaffira; the music was by Michael William Balfe. The opera was first performed June 11, 1874 at Drury Lane in London.
IL Talismano was originally written as an English opera in three acts, to the libretto of Arthur Matthison, based upon the chief episode of Sir Walter Scott's "Talisman." The talisman proper, however, does not come into the story at all, nor is Saladin introduced except as an obscure Emir Sheerkohf. Mr. Matthison originally intended to call the work The Knight of the Leopard, but the association with Scott's novel, overrode all other considerations.
The first two Acts and Scene I of the third Act take place within a day in 1191, during the wars of the Crusades. Scenes II and III of the third Act take place some months later in 1192, as the English Crusaders prepare to leave for their home land. The characters of IL Talismano are drawn directly from Scott's Talisman, published in 1825 as the second of his Tales of the Crusaders. Most of the characters are actual historical personages. It is noted however that Edith Plantagenet is a fictional creation of Scott, as are the motivations and actions of many of the others in both stories.
IL Talismano concerns itself with the romance between Edith Plantagenet and Sir Kenneth, the Knight of the Leopard. There are complications as Sir Kenneth neglects his knightly duty to Richard Lion Heart, leader of the Crusade, and is driven from the camp. But bravery, royal blood, and love overcome all at the finale.
IL Talimano or The Talisman has been included in the book Three Musical Plays. A printed copy of the book may be purchased at www.LULU.com/shop
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