Auber : El caballo de bronce (Le Cheval de Bronze)2012 (Audio)
Director: Maurizio Barbacini
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Le cheval de bronze (The Bronze Horse) is an opéra comique by the French composer Daniel Auber, first performed at the Opéra-Comique, Paris on 23 March 1835.
The libretto (in three acts) is by Auber's regular collaborator, Eugène Scribe and the piece was a great success in its day. In 1837, it was transformed into an opera-ballet, but this did not hold the stage. The overture is one of Auber's most popular. The first-act finale expands wonderfully on the final phrases from the first-act finale of Mozart's Così fan tutte. The composer tried to reflect the Chinese setting of the story in the music.
Péki is due to be married against her will to the mandarin Tsing-Sing, who already has four wives. Péki meets Prince Yang and tells him she is really in love with the poor young farmhand Yan-Ko, but six months earlier he mysteriously disappeared into the sky riding a bronze horse. Yan-Ko returns on the horse but refuses to say where he has been. The prince interrupts Péki's wedding by ordering Tsing-Sing to fly away with him on the horse. Undeterred by the ruined wedding, Péki's father finds another rich old man for her to marry. She decides to elope with Yan-Ko. Tsing-Sing returns on the bronze horse without the prince and refuses to reveal anything about his adventure because if he does he will be transformed into a statue. Unfortunately, he mumbles some details during his sleep and is turned into stone, as is Péki's father. She decides to ride away on the horse to try to save him. The horse takes Péki (who is disguised as a man) to the palace of Princess Stella on the planet Venus. Péki needs Stella's magic bracelet to rescue her father from the spell. She easily passes the task Stella sets her to resist seduction by a group of beautiful women. Péki returns to earth to find the statues of her father, Tsing-Sing and Prince Yang (who was unable to resist kissing Stella). She uses the bracelet to free her father and the prince but she will not fully release Tsing-Sing until he promises to give up his marriage claims on her. This leaves her free to marry Yan-ko and Prince Yang marries Princess Stella.