Count Ory synopsis
Music by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Eugène Scribe and Charles-Gaspard Delestre-Poirson after their own play
First performed: 1828
Outside the Castle of Formoutiers
The Countess and the ladies of her court, having taken a vow of chastity, have locked themselves in the castle, while the menfolk are away on a Crusade and this stat of affairs has been in force for some five years when a mysterious hermit who seems to possess magic healing powers, especially in affairs of the heart, is none other than Count Ory, a profligate young nobleman, in disguise, who has escaped from his father's court aided and abetted by his boon companion, Raimbaud, also disguised as a cleric under the name of Master Robert. The Count ardently desires to pay court to the Countess but is unable to access the castle. The Count's Tutor, together with the Count's page, Isoleir, are scouring the countryside in search of their master and the Tutor soon guesses the probable identity of the mystery hermit. The page, Isolier, is himself in love with the Countess who is his cousin. He asks the hermit for counsel and help in his hopeless suit and mentions a plan of his by y which he proposes to disguise himself as a pilgrim sister ands so obtain admittance to the castle. The Count secretly decides to make use of this idea himself.
The Countess is suffering from some strange malaise and she in her turn comes to consult the wise hermit who tells her that her only hope of a cure is to fall in love. He suggests that they retire to her castle, when the Tutor suddenly arrives and unmasks the Count to general consternation of all present. News comes of the imminent return of the Crusaders and the Count and his men make their escape muttering plans for a further assault in the short time which is left to them.
Inside the Castle
Later the same day, when the Countess and her ladies are congratulating themselves upon the safety of their refuge, a violent storm breaks out and the voices of a band of pilgrim sisters are heard asking for help. These pious women are admitted to the shelter of the castle, when they explain they are fleeing from the attentions of Count Ory and his followers. The Pilgrims are, of course, Count Ory and his men, again in disguise, and when they are alone, Raimbaud appears, laden with bottles of wine which he has stolen from the cellars. A riotous drinking orgy ensues which is only stifled with the greatest difficulty upon the reappearance of the Countess who bids them all retire for the night.
Isolier suddenly comes with the news that the Crusaders are near at hand and tells the Countess of the real identity of her pious guests. The ladies are again in the greatest state of perturbation but Isolier has thought of a way out. Under the cover of darkness, the Count, still in his disguise, ventures into the main hall of the castle and proceeds to make amorous advances to Isolier, whom he mistakes for the Countess. The situation is saved by the arrival of the Crusaders. The Count and his men quickly escape and by a secret path, and the opera ends with a chorus of rejoicing at the return of the victorious warriors.
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