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Royal Palace, Op. 17 (1925-26)

Opera in one act (in German).
Libretto by Iwan Goll.

Available for performance only with the score reconstructed by
Gunther Schuller and Noam Sheriff. The original score is lost.

Performance Information

Scene drawing

Sketch of set from original production, Berlin, 1927.

Performance Information

Cast: Dejanira (dramatic soprano), the Husband (bass), Yesterday's Lover (baritone), Tomorrow's Lover (tenor), the Young Fisherman (tenor), the Old Fisherman (bass), head waiter, boy; soprano solo and female chorus (off stage).
Orchestra: 2.picc.2.2.3 (cbn).1 alto sax;; timp, perc; strings. Stage Orchestra: glockenspiel, 5 bells, celesta, piano, harp, perc, pitched auto horn.
Duration: 45 minutes
Published Editions: libretto, Universal Edition, UE 8691
piano-vocal score, Universal Edition, UE 8690
Performance Rights and Rentals: USA, UK, BREV: EAMC
All other territories: UE
First Production: March 2, 1927, Berlin, Staatsoper Platz der Republik, Franz-Ludwig Hörth, dir., Erich Kleiber, cond.

Guide to orchestration, territory abbreviations, and publishers' symbols.


A luxury hotel by an Italian lake. As the women's chorus sings, Dejanira, her Husband, Yesterday's Lover, and Tomorrow's Lover walk onto the terrace and express their weariness with travel and pleasure ("Wir haben der Erde überrannt"). The Husband and Tomorrow's Lover exit, and Yesterday's Lover reproaches Dejanira for forgetting their love ("Du singst nicht mehr"), but she insists that she is exhausted and no longer believes even in herself ("Ich glaub' an mich nicht mehr"). The bellboys dance for the honored guests. Tomorrow's Lover announces his desire to possess Dejanira ("Ich will Dejanira essen"). The Husband wants to buy the lake for Dejanira ("Ich bin poetischer als ihr"); he asks her which of the three she loves the most. Yesterday's Lover makes his case with nautical metaphors ("Du meine letzte Barke"). Dejanira accuses all three of failing to understand women ("Ihr kennt die Frauen nicht"). A Young Fisherman and an Old Fisherman enter, describing the rough conditions on the lake. The Old Fisherman announces that one of the four must die ("Teile die Orange des Himmels in vier"). Dejanira gives him her ring ("Alter Fischer"). Each of the three men proclaims his desire for Dejanira, but she rebuffs them again ("Ich dich! Ich dich!"). But they insist on their suits in a trio; then they offer her extravagant gifts ("Dejanira ich lebe für dich"). Dejanira replies that she will go with the one that understands her. A succession of interludes follows. The Husband goes first, offering her all the pleasures Europe affords, which are displayed on film (Filmszene). Yesterday's Lover offers her sexual pleasure ("Ich schenke dir den Himmel unsrer Nächte"). Finally, Tomorrow’s Lover offers her the wonders of nature, represented by an Orphic dance. At last, Dejanira rejects all three suits ("Arme Werber!") and proclaims her independence and her unwillingness to remain in the world ("Keiner hat mich erkannt"). As the women's chorus and the Fishermen sing her name, soon joined by the three suitors ("Dejanira Janirade"), Dejanira walks into the lake. The Husband calls for help for the drowning woman as the curtain falls.


Capriccio CD 60 106 Janice Watson, Stephen Richardson, Ashley Holland, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis, cond. (with Der neue Orpheus)
Montaigne/Auvidis CD MO 782068 Filmszene, excerpt transcribed for chamber orchestra, Ensemble Recherche, Lothar Zagrosek, cond.