Reference Entry

Travelling Companion, The

Stephen Banfield

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print December 1992 |
Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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Opera in four acts, op.146, by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford to a libretto by Henry Newbolt after the story by Hans Christian Andersen ; Liverpool, David Lewis Theatre, 30 April 1925.

John (tenor), a young wayfarer left homeless and alone after the death of his father, shelters from a storm in a church, where he loses even his money to two ruffians in order to prevent them from plundering a corpse lying there on a bier. The corpse reappears as his Travelling Companion (baritone) and helps him to woo a fair but cold princess (soprano) who, like Turandot, has executed all previous suitors for failing to answer her riddle. He kills the wizard (bass) to whom she is in thrall and wins her hand. In the moving final scene the Travelling Companion departs from the wedding feast and becomes a corpse again.

Stanford’s score, tuneful and dignified, succeeds as fairy-tale narrative in the manner of Humperdinck, but his best passages, for John and the Companion, add a dimension of spiritual rhetoric echoing Wagner’s ...

Reference Entry.  179 words. 

Subjects: Opera ; Musical Scores, Lyrics, and Libretti

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