The Cloak and Dagger Affair

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Chamber opera in one act by Edward Lambert

after the play Amor de Don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardin

by Federico García Lorca (1928)

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for 3 voices & piano     2018     40 minutes

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Characters

Don Perlimplín, an elderly, learned gentleman, bass

Belisa, his young wife, soprano

Marcolfo, Perlimplín’s manservant, mezzo-soprano

Chorus, sung by the cast

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The middle-aged and bookish Don Perlimplín has been persuaded to marry a sensual young girl, Belisa. It is the day after their wedding, and Perlimplín’s manservant, Marcolfo, reveals that while he slept during the night, Belisa entertained five lovers. Perlimplín seems untroubled by this gossip. He is more concerned that Belisa has fallen for another man, a stranger in a red cloak who has been seen walking in the garden. She receives a love-letter from this youth and Marcolfo tells her the stranger will meet her at ten o’clock that evening. When Perlimplín sees him, he chases after him, while the besotted Belisa sings a serenade to her lover by way of encouragement. A moment later the stranger in the red cloak appears with a dagger through his heart. It appears he has been killed by Perlimplín; but the man in the red cloak is revealed to be Perlimplín himself, who dies as Belisa lovingly embraces him.