From 27th October to 1st November, I will perform in Gothic Opera’s production of Le Loup Garou. I will be performing the role of Catherine, a young woman who yearns for the love of Bertrand, a gentleman who is unfortunately engaged to her cousin. As this opera is rarely staged and the love dynamic is full of knots and twists, I thought I would share a detailed synopsis with you.
Our story takes place in a village in Burgundy, France. In a drawing room, four sisters are making alterations to a wedding dress, which belongs to their sister Alice. Raimbaud, their father, has arranged for Alice to be married to Bertrand. Raimbaud explains that the couple does not need to visit Count Alberic, the local lord, to ask permission to be wed because the count is dead. Everyone is happy except for Alice, who seems a little trepidatious.
The cheerful atmosphere sadly does not last for long. Moments later, their cousin Catherine (Me) enters and informs her family that a wolf has been sighted in the neighbouring village. The local lords have issued an award of 200 Carolus to the brave captor who slays the wolf and brings back its head. Bertrand tells Raimbaurd that he has already seen the wolf and will try to kill the beast.
After the commotion, Catherine spots Alice worrying and attempts to soothe her. Catherine assumes that Alice is concerned for Bertrand’s safety, but Alice reveals that she pines for another man, a mysterious stranger who saved her from drowning two months ago. She explains that the pair promised to meet again at the river bank. Alice regularly returned. However, he never came. Upon hearing this, Catherine hopes that the couple will reunite and that Alice will renounce her engagement, allowing Catherine to marry Bertrand.
Later the guests arrive for the engagement meal. Whilst the family is preparing, they realise 13 people will attend their dinner. Bertrand is immediately spooked and explains that he will not attend, as he is superstitious and believes that having 13 people around a table is bad luck and may lead to a fatal event. Raimbaud sends Catherine to find a suitable guest to join the party. Bertrand notices that Alice is distressed and seeks to comfort her. She admits that she does not love him, and to her surprise, Bertrand reveals that he is not shocked as he oversaw her rendezvous with the mysterious gentlemen. However, he explains that the gentleman is not a suitable match, as he saw him transform into a beast under the full moon. Bertrand warns Alice that the gentleman is, in fact, a werewolf and vows to kill the monster. Alice refuses to believe him, but he threatens to reveal the truth about her secret lover to the whole village if she breaks off their engagement.
Catherine returns with a 14th dinner guest, a gentleman named Hubert. Alice is shocked as she recognises him as her mysterious saviour. Raimbaurd is also stunned as he recognises Hubert as Count Alberic. During the meal, Hubert learns that Alice is to marry Bertrand. He admits that he also wants to marry Alice and asks the father if he would let Alice choose her own suitor. Raimbaurd knowing Hubert’s true identity and standing within society, happily consents to the proposition. However, Alice denies Hubert’s proposal for fear of Bertrand’s threat.
Catherine is deeply hurt and cannot understand why her cousin would not marry the man she loves and selfishly pick the gentlemen she adores. Feeling guilty for inviting Hubert to the meal, she runs after him to apologise. During their conversation, Hubert thanks Catherine for comforting him and asks her if she would like to marry him. Catherine is confused but agrees to the proposal, which Raimbaurd supports. They decide to get married tonight in the clearing.
Next, Bertrand reveals to Catherine that he is troubled and aware that Alice has only agreed to marry him out of fear. He also admits that he does not love Alice and that he loves her, Catherine. However, he explains that he could never ask for her hand in marriage because she was born on Friday, 13th March 1813. Due to his superstitious inclinations, he is certain that one of them would be dead before the wedding is over. Catherine explains that his superstitions are unnecessary as she will marry Hubert that evening. Bertrand objects to the marriage and explains that she can not marry him as he is a werewolf. He agrees to go to the wedding in her place to slay the beast.
Later that evening, Catherine informs Alice of their plan. Desperate to save Hubert, Alice runs to the forest clearing hoping to reach him before Bertrand. Hubert reveals that he only ever loved her and asked for Catherine’s hand in marriage to enrage Bertrand and bring on his own death. He confirms that he is a werewolf. However, Alice reveals that she loves him anyway. The full moon appears, but Hubert does not transform. True love has broken his curse, and the four young people can marry their destined partners. Hooray!