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THE EARTHQUAKE. Opera in 2 parts after Heinrich
von Kleist's novel "Das Erdbeben in Chili"

Composer: Terteryan, Avet
Lyricists: Stecher, Gerta
Playing time: 120:00
Opus/Year: (1994)
Genre: Opera
Instrumentation: 2(2Picc),3(EnglHorn),3(2Es-Klar,BKlar),3(KFag) - 4,4,3,1 - Schl (Pk, 2 Trgl, Maracas, 2 Peitschen, 4 Holzbl, Tom-t, Tamb, kl.Tr, gr.Tr, 4 gr.BTr, Bk, Tam-t, RhrenGl, KirchenGl, Glsp), Duda, Cemb, Streicher Holzblser (0,2,BKlar,2), Tonband (Blechblser, Schl, Gl, Cemb, Streicher, Chor - Regen, Donner, Erdbeben)
Premiere performance: 15.03.2003 / D
First perfomance(s): 01.12.2008 / Yerevan / ARM / Armenische Staatsoper / Orchester der Staatsoper / Ruben Asatryan

Content:

To prevent the burgeoning love between the young girl (she) and her private teacher (he), the parents banish their daughter to a convent. But there, too, the lovers find ways of meeting each other. They are caught during one of their nocturnal rendezvous and they are brought before the court charged with adultery and sentenced to death. They await their execution on the town square. When the solemn sound of giant drums announce the beginning of the execution, the square is filled with a curious and blood-thirsty crowd. Egged on by monks, the spectators demand the death of the girl ever more loudly. When the executioner finally comes out with the axe, a vehement earthquake shakes the city. Broadening cracks open up in the wavering earth and buildings collapse with a loud crash. Seized by panic, the people rush apart, and the girl remains at the place of execution, saved.
He has escaped from the ruins of the destroyed prison, meeting her whilst running around aimlessly in the destroyed city. At first unbelieving and then full of enraptured joy, the couple praise their salvation. The other survivors also become delirious with happiness. The town crier announces a solemn Mass of thanksgiving in the undamaged church. All gather together in the church for Mass. Becoming more fervent in fanatical rage, the prelate denounces the moral decay that was responsible for the citys having been visited by such a horrible natural catastrophe. The young girl is recognised by the people standing around her and, stirred up by the words of the prelate, they beat her to death. In desperation, he laments the death of his beloved and is also killed. More or less cringing from the brutality of their own act, the crowd slowly withdraws in wordless awareness of its own guilt.

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