With a libretto by Eugene Scribe, Halévy’s most famous opera lies somewhere between »Troubadour « and »Nathan the Wise« in terms of its subject matter. Not only have the sons of the Jew Eleazar been burned at the stake by Cardinal Brogny, but time and again the goldsmith, together with his putative daughter Rachel, must defend himself against anti-Semitic attacks. Prince Leopold, who has fallen in love with Rachel and gained her trust while disguised as a Jew, saves them from a murderous crowd. When Leopold’s deception comes to light, father and daughter are sentenced to death. At the very moment when they face a horrible execution, Eleazar reveals his secret to Brogny: Rachel is not Jewish, but in fact the Brogny’s own daughter, long believed dead.
In his opera »The Jewess« Halévy has created a terrifying cautionary tale of conflict between Jews and Christians, revealed through the character of Eleazar, torn between parental love and a thirst for revenge while living in an anti-Semitic society.
Opera in five acts by Fromental Halévy.
Performed in French with German surtitles
Running time 5 hours