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Joseph Haydn

Philemon und Baucis

Deutsches Singspiel / Marionettenoper

edited by Trevor Pinnock

The Plot

Part I

A village in ancient Phrygia. Peasants are at work; meanwhile, Philemon and Baucis, their son Aret and his bride-to-be Narcissa are busy making wedding preparations. The god Mercury, presently acting as narrator, watches the merry bustle of the villagers. However, their behaviour degenerates outrageously, and the rest of the gods call upon Jupiter, father of the gods, for help.

Mount Olympus. The gods meet in council and resolve to send a storm upon the cities of Phrygia as punishment for its inhabitants' misdeeds. As the storm music begins, Jupiter and Mercury leave the scene.

Aret and Narcissa are still in the midst of their wedding preparations. The storm takes them by surprise and the unfortunate pair are killed by lightning. Philemon and Baucis beg the gods for mercy, but they declare themselves willing to accept their fate. The storm vanishes.

Part II

Philemon's cottage with two urns. Jupiter and Mercury, disguised as wanderers, have been turned away from all other doors in the village but are finally received by a friendly Philemon and Baucis. The old couple tell of the recent misfortune that has befallen their children. Moved by the couple's devotion, Jupiter is reconciled to the human race and brings Aret and Narcissa back to life from the urns in which their bodies have been preserved. Philemon and Baucis ask Jupiter to turn their cottage into a temple, in which they can serve as priest and priestess. Their request is granted. All unite in praise of Jupiter.