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Music Text

Libretto by Michel Carré and Léon Battu; new English version by Richard Duployen; new German version with speaker by Renato Mordo (F,G,E)


lyrS,2M,lyrT,speaking role; chorus;

Abbreviations (PDF)



This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris
Company: unknown


PETER, tenant farmer Lyric Tenor
LIESE, his niece Mezzo Soprano
ANNE MARIE and CATHARINE, widows and peasants Lyric Soprano, Mezzo Soprano
Night watchman Speaking role
Peasants, their wives
Time and Place

Village square in front of Peter's smallholding, 19th century


Liese, industrious and reliable, but taciturn and always sad, works on the farm of her uncle Peter. He has no idea that her behaviour results from her shyness. For Liese is in love with Peter but does not dare to confess to him because she believes that Peter will decide in favour of one of the two rich widows who are after him and his farm. Peter, however, covers his feelings for Liese as well. He is even jealous because he suspects that Liese has fallen in love with a fellow who was recently at the village dance. Peter has written to his uncle about his sorrow concerning Liese and asked for money for the wedding, for it is beyond doubt that he is going to marry her. The uncle’s answer contains a mysterious request: when the bells ring for Vespers, Peter is to come to the village linden where he will find a treasure. Joyfully Peter reads the letter aloud to the widows, believing that he will shortly be rich. But Liese, too, receives a letter from the uncle, in which he requests her to come to the village linden when the bells ring for Vespers. When the two appear at the fixed time, the meaning of the letter becomes clear. Under the light of the night watchman's lantern the curious widows witness Liese and Peter exchanging their engagement kiss.



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