Set in 1600 Netherlands, the Fool acts as an omniscient troubadour leading us through the twists and turns of Maleine’s fate. Upon opening, Maleine is locked in a tower with her lady in waiting, Aleta, because she did not do what she was told — to marry the Duke of Burgundy and maintain relations with Spain. Aleta breaks them out of the tower and they are set off to find Maleine’s true love, Prince Hjalmar, the Protestant prince of rivaling Ysselmonde.They unite and the story severely goes awry. He is betrothed to the evil Queen Anne’s daughter, Ursula, and in the meantime, gets Maleine pregnant. He stays with her, Queen Anne is devastated that her bloodline will not be in power, and sets off to kill Maleine. During a storm one night, Anne drugs her husband, King Hjalmar and they creep into Maleine’s room where Anne strangles Maleine with her wedding lace. Prince Hjalmar comes in and kills Queen Anne and then himself, not being able to live without Maleine nor what he had done. The King concludes the story singing to Petite Allan, who we finally find out has been Queen Anne’s son from a different marriage all along, and he explains to him to learn from his family’s mistakes and to be better. We conclude the opera with the Fool’s sentiments of who is to say truly how one’s life will go?


Whitney E. George