LEMBITU

Kapp, Villem
Artikelnummer: ERP 5011
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Lembitu Oper von Villem Kapp

Performed by:
Lembitu, the elder of Sakala County – Tiit Kuusik
Meelis, his son – Georg Ots
Kaupo, the elder of Livonians – Teo Maiste
Mare, his daughter – Aino Külvand
Folkvin, master of the order – Georg Taleš
Alobrand, pater – Ervin Kärvet
Manivald, a young soldier – Heino Otto
Hendrik, a monk – Ants Aasmaa
Niilo, an elder – August Sepp
A guard in Toreida – Artur Linnamägi
Albert, a knight – Heino Raudam
Bernhard, a knight – Harald Kard

Estonian National Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor: Kirill Raudsepp


Recorded in 1966 by Asta Kuivjõgi
From the archives of ERR and Melodija
Restored and produced by Jüri Kruus, mastered by Marika Scheer
Photos from the archives of Estonian National Opera
Liner notes by Jüri Kruus and Inna Kivi
Booklet compiled by Liina Viru
Designed by Stella Tillo
Co-produced by Peeter Vähi


Total time 60:58 + 50:17
Score published by Eres Edition
Licensed from ERR and Jüri Kruus
2011
ERP 5011

Meelis, his son – Georg Ots
Kaupo, the elder of Livonians – Teo Maiste
Mare, his daughter – Aino Külvand
Folkvin, master of the order – Georg Taleš
Alobrand, pater – Ervin Kärvet
Manivald, a young soldier – Heino Otto
Hendrik, a monk – Ants Aasmaa
Niilo, an elder – August Sepp
A guard in Toreida – Artur Linnamägi
Albert, a knight – Heino Raudam
Bernhard, a knight – Harald Kard

Estonian National Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor: Kirill Raudsepp

Recorded in 1966 by Asta Kuivjõgi
From the archives of ERR and Melodija
Restored and produced by Jüri Kruus, mastered by Marika Scheer
Photos from the archives of Estonian National Opera
Liner notes by Jüri Kruus and Inna Kivi
Booklet compiled by Liina Viru
Designed by Stella Tillo
Co-produced by Peeter Vähi

Total time 60:58 + 50:17
Score published by Eres Edition
Licensed from ERR and Jüri Kruus
2011
ERP 5011

Imagetext

ImagetextThe libretto of Villem Kapp’s (1913–1964) opera Lembitu is based on Juhan Sütiste’s play Ristikoerad (Lembitu), bringing the heroic moments of the ancient Estonian fight for independence against the supremacy of German crusaders in the 13th century to contemporary opera stage. The libretto was finished in 1959 in cooperation with Astrid Pirn, the actress of Pärnu Drama Theatre. The piano score was ready in 1961, soon followed by the 600-page full score.
The première of Lembitu, staged by Udo Väljaots, took place at the Estonian National Opera on August 23rd, 1961. The high artistic level of our top soloists was a great contribution to its success. Lembitu was sung by Tiit Kuusik, Meelis by Georg Ots, Mare by Aino Külvand and Kaupo by Ott Raukas or Teo Maiste. Other characters, carved by the quill of the composer’s fantasy, add captivating scenes to the opera in contrasting colours, turning the audio-picture of Udo Väljaots’ staging into an interesting and exciting event. The opera was conducted by Kirill Raudsepp. The open-air performances of Lembitu at the Lehola fortress in Suure-Jaani on July 8th, 1962 and on the Chapel Hill of Pirita on July 2nd, 1966, became the highlights of Estonian music life of the time and are remembered even today.
Synopsis

Prologue

People have gathered around a pyre to mourn their heroes killed in war. The victims include Lembvald, son of Lembitu.

Scene 1

Priest Alobrand and monk Hendrik, sent as envoys by the Livonian chief Kaupo, arrive at Lehola stronghold – the men are also collaborators of the order master Folkvin and spies. The monks tell Lembitu that his other son called Meelis, also thought to be dead, is actually alive and imprisoned by Kaupo. On behalf of Kaupo, they want to trade Lembitu’s son for Kaupo’s daughter Mare who, in turn, is held in prison by Lembitu.
Lembitu is all for the exchange and decides to travel all the way to Toreida on this occasion.
Mare is happy to return home, yet sad to say farewell: she is reluctant to leave Lehola where Lembitu treated her like his own daughter.

Scene 2

Knights are revelling at Toreida castle. Priest Alobrand returns from Sakala and tells the order master about the outcome of his trip, and mentions that Lembitu had made a military pact with the Prince of Novgorod. Folkvin is excited about the news.
Several defeats by Estonians have made the order master cautious. The knights need more troops. Kaupo is summoned – he is given a message by the Pope and declared the King of Livonia. Kaupo’s ambitions are fulfilled and he promises to give three thousand men, though he is not sure about their willingness to help because he knows that he has lost people’s trust. The order master and knights are happy to see that “simple-minded” Kaupo has become their obedient servant. A message is delivered that Lembitu himself has arrived in Toreida, and Mare is with him. Bewildered by Lembitu’s courage, the knights want to kill him. The order master, however, is more cunning: “Why should we kill Lembitu? This is not a clever thing to do. Let Kaupo influence the guest.” Kaupo, however, fails to talk Lembitu into betraying his people. Lembitu gets his son back. Over the past six years, Meelis has been trained as a monk who has estranged even from his own father. When Meelis is about to leave Toreida, Alobrand follows the command by the order master and gives Meelis a dagger for killing Lembitu. The priest persuades Meelis that it would please the church if he killed his pagan father, and takes an oath from him.

Scene 3

The stronghold is being reinforced in Lehola. Manivald who accompanied Lembitu on his trip to Toreida is telling the builders amusing stories about life abroad. Meelis, clad in his monk’s attire, is tormented by his promise, given to the church, to kill his father. Gripped by religious frenzy, he is about to attack Lembitu but at the last moment realises the atrocity of his intentions. He asks for his father’s forgiveness and declares himself Lembitu’s son again. The people and their leader are happy for Meelis. Everybody’s high spirits are cut short by Mare’s arrival. She has escaped from Toreida and delivers a message that large troops of the order have crossed Sakala’s border. Men are preparing for the battle.

Scene 4

An autumn night at Lembitu’s war camp. Everybody is in suspense. Lembitu is deeply concerned about the next day. He recalls an old battle song… Meelis and Mare who have fallen in love with each other meet again. The young lovers are very happy, but...The dawn is already breaking, there is the sound of a war horn, and Meelis joins the troops heading to the battle.

Scene 5

Kaupo is deadly wounded. Before dying he realises that it was a grave mistake to trust his knights. Alobrand who is sneaking past robs the dying Kaupo of his money. Meelis catches him red-handed and kills him. Mustering his last strength, the seriously wounded Lembitu returns from the battlefield, supported and helped by his companions. The dying leader persuades his people to fight for their freedom.

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