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Kuningas Lear
Kuningas Lear
(King Lear) is an opera in two acts by Aulis Sallinen, with a libretto by the composer, based on the play by William Shakespeare and premiered in 2000; it was Sallinen’s sixth opera.

Contents

1 Background 2 Roles 3 Synopsis

3.1 Act 1 3.2 Act 2

4 References

Background[edit] Kuningas Lear
Kuningas Lear
was commissioned by and first performed by Finnish National Opera
Opera
on 15 September 2000 at the Finnish National Opera House.[1] Sallinen has spoken of the major thought that went into recreating the dramaturgy of the piece, shortening sections and deleting characters from the cast. His aim was in general to remove as much as possible of the narrative elements and mainly concentrate on the "very strong poetical scenes". He insisted that the work requires "big singing".[1] Sallinen was particularly inspired by knowing the cast from the start, especially leading Finnish singers Matti Salminen
Matti Salminen
and Jorma Hynninen.[1] One problem was the chorus, as in Shakespeare there are no lines for a chorus. The composer therefore used groups of singers for messengers and knights and an off-stage wordless chorus. Although the work follows closely the story of Shakespeare, the role of Kent does not appear.[1] The work was well received at its first production in Helsinki.[2] The opera has been issued on DVD, in a 2002 performance with the original cast and conductor.[3] Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere cast, 15 September 2000 (Conductor: Okko Kamu)

King Lear bass Matti Salminen

Cordelia mezzo-soprano Lilli Paasikivi

Gloucester baritone Jorma Hynninen

Edmund tenor Jorma Silvasti

Goneril soprano Taina Piira

Regan soprano Kirsi Tiihonen

Edgar baritone Sauli Tilikainen

King of France bass-baritone Hannu Forsberg

Duke of Albany baritone Petri Lindroos

Cornwall tenor Kai Pitkänen

Fool tenor Aki Alamikkotervo

Knights, messengers, off-stage voices

Synopsis[edit] Act 1[edit] Scene 1 The aged King Lear
King Lear
decides to divide his realm between his three daughters Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. He asks each them to say which of them loves him the most so as to give her the best portion. Goneril and Regan claim unbounded love for their father, but Cornelia, the youngest and favourite of her father, says that she cannot express her love, and anyway she will give half of it to her future husband. Lear, furious with the answer, repels Cordelia, and when the King of France arrives to propose marriage to Cordelia, he takes her despite her having been disinherited. Goneril
Goneril
and Regan are disturbed by their father's outburst and his folly in having a large retinue of knights and squires. Scene 2 – Gloucester's castle Edmund, bastard son of the Earl of Gloucester, determines to win the inheritance of Gloucester’s older son and legal heir Edgar. Edmund tricks the Earl into reading a forged letter in which Edgar is named in a conspiracy to murder the Earl. Gloucester, disbelieving, asks that Edmund learn more. Edmund however warns Edgar that his father is furious and urges Edgar to run away. Edmund next wounds himself, goes to Gloucester and says that Edgar injured him because he refused to kill his father. An order to capture Edgar, who has already fled, is made by Gloucester. Scene 3 – a forest Edgar has hidden in a tree-trunk to elude his pursuers; he now disguises himself as a beggar ‘Poor Tom’ to avoid capture. Scene 4 – Cornwall's castle Lear and his followers are aware of a coldness to them by Regan and her household. Regan eventually condemns the taunting of Lear’s Fool and the noise of Lear's knights and ask the king to cut back his retinue. Lear curses Regan; Goneril
Goneril
supports her sister, and they both finally insist that the King get rid of all his followers. Lear curses them both and rushes out into a storm. Act 2[edit] Scene 5 – Gloucester's castle At his castle, Gloucester, still loyal to the King, is bullied. He has received a secret message about the French army’s plans of attack. He passes the message to Edmund as he dares not hold on to it. Edmund thus sees his chance to get rid of his father and gives the Duke of Cornwall the letter. Scene 6 – Forest King Lear’s mind is failing and he wanders with the Fool in a forest. Edgar, still as the beggar Poor Tom joins them as Lear passes judgement over his daughters. Scene 7 – Albany's castle A secret affair is being carried on by Goneril
Goneril
and Edmund. She accuses the Duke of Albany, her husband, of lack of resolution against the French. Five knights report the Duke of Cornwall’s death, killed by his own servant after he and Regan had destroyed Gloucester’s eyes, as they considered him a traitor. Goneril
Goneril
is stricken by the situation with Regan a widow and Edmund with her. Scene 8 – Forest Gloucester has been blinded by Cornwall and Regan, and walks along a road where he encounters Edgar, still as Poor Tom. Gloucester cannot recognize his own son, and asks Poor Tom to take him to the edge of Dover cliffs; when there he will need no more help. Lear appears, and the two men meet for the final time. Lear's knights enter to escort the king to Cordelia. Scene 9 – a British army camp near Dover The British and French are poised for battle while Goneril
Goneril
and Regan dispute over Edmund. He, however, is wondering which of them would aid him. Re-reading Goneril's letter he sees a plot to dispose of Albany when after a successful battle. The British are victors in battle. Scene 10 – British Camp Lear and Cordelia have been taken prisoner. They are brought in and become reconciled to a happy future in prison. A furious row between Goneril
Goneril
and Regan ends with the latter going off ill. A knight arrives; he challenges Edmund to a duel taunting him as a traitor. Edmund loses and the knight reveals himself as Edgar. The brothers try to reconcile themselves, but Goneril
Goneril
takes Edmund’s side, saying that he was betrayed. Albany then reads the letter that Edmund just passed to him, showing his wife's treachery. Goneril
Goneril
goes. Edgar announces that Gloucester is dead; knights come in to report that Goneril
Goneril
has killed herself after confessing to giving Regan poison. Edmund then orders men to go quickly to the castle to kill the King and Cordelia. But the King now enters carrying the corpse of Cordelia. He dies by her, a broken man.[4] References[edit]

^ a b c d Anderson, Martin (1999). "Aulis Sallinen, strong and simple". Finnish Music Quarterly (2). ISSN 0782-1069. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016.  ^ " Matti Salminen
Matti Salminen
steals show as Finnish National Opera's King Lear" by Hannu-Ilari Lampila, Helsingin Sanomat, 17 September 2000 ^ Review of King Lear, Sallinen; Arthaus Musik DVD / Blu-ray. Opera, August 2015 Vol. 66 No. 8, p1063-65. ^ Adapted from the synopsis by the composer at Aulis Sallinen: King Lear, instrumentation, synopsis, performances, reviews

v t e

Aulis Sallinen

Operas

The Horseman (1975) The Red Line
The Red Line
(1978) Kuningas lähtee Ranskaan
Kuningas lähtee Ranskaan
(1984) Kullervo (1992) Palatsi (1995) Kuningas Lear
Kuningas Lear
(King Lear) (2000)

Orchestral works

Symphony No. 8 (2001)

v t e

William Shakespeare's King Lear

Characters

King Lear Cordelia Goneril Regan Edmund

Sources

Historia Regum Britanniae
Historia Regum Britanniae
(1136) The Mirror for Magistrates
The Mirror for Magistrates
(1555) Holinshed's Chronicles
Holinshed's Chronicles
(1577) King Leir
King Leir
(1594) "Water and Salt"

Related

Llŷr Leir of Britain Cordelia of Britain

Adaptations

Plays

The History of King Lear
King Lear
(1681) The Yiddish King Lear
King Lear
(1892) Safed Khoon
Safed Khoon
(1907) Lear (1971)

Novels

La Terre
La Terre
(1887) A Thousand Acres
A Thousand Acres
(1991) Fool (2009)

Opera

Re Lear
Re Lear
( Libretto
Libretto
only) (1896) Lear (1978) Kuningas Lear
Kuningas Lear
(2000)

Films

King Lear
King Lear
(1910) King Lear
King Lear
(1916) Gunasundari Katha
Gunasundari Katha
(1949) King Lear
King Lear
(1971 USSR) King Lear
King Lear
(1971 UK) Ran (1985) King Lear
King Lear
(1987) A Thousand Acres
A Thousand Acres
(1997) Gypsy Lore
Gypsy Lore
(1997) King Lear
King Lear
(1999) My Kingdom (2001) Second Generation (2003) Life Goes On (2009)

Television

King Lear
King Lear
(1953) BBC Television Shakespeare (1982) King Lear
King Lear
(1983) King of Texas
King of Texas
(2002) King Lear
King Lear
(2008) King Lear
King Lear
(2018)

Story within a story

The Dresser
The Dresser
(1980 play) The Dresser
The Dresser
(1983 film) The Dresser
The Dresser
(2015 film)

Other

Tiriel (1789, poem) The Prince of the Pagodas
The Prince of the Pagodas
(1957, ballet) The Tragedy of King

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