János Vajda: Don Perlinpin and Don Cristóbal – two one-act operas

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The script was written by Szabolcs Várady based on the short story of the same title by Federico García Lorca


Don Perlimplín, Marcolfa, his servant, the old bachelor for himself, persuades him to marry because he could die at any time, and then who will take care of him? Belisa, a beautiful young man living next door, says yes to Perlimplín because her mother convinces her that she will have a pearl next to her rich old husband. On the wedding night, two goblins appear on the scene, draw a curtain in front of the room, and sing about the secret. By the time the curtain is pulled open, the five ladders leaning against the window and the five hats pinned to them show that Don Perlimplín has already been horned five times. However, he is not angry, but deadly for love. Marcolfa is digested by self-blame. Belisa receives flaming letters from a mysterious man who, covering her face, appears in a red cloak under the balcony. Belisa makes no secret of her husband’s flare-up. Perlimplín understands as he wrote the letters, and when, after the goblins sing about desire, Belisa longs for the beautiful young man in the moonlit garden, she embraces him from behind. Belisa gets up in disgust, and Perlimplín sets off with a dagger to settle with her rival. As her love in a red cloak looms deep in the garden and pulls the dagger out of her chest, Belisa realizes that she is holding her husband in her arms, who will always love the eternal love of the dead. But where is his love, Belisa’s? The story ends with the song of the two goblins growing from two leaves on a tree branch.


Before the play begins, the director of the company roughly instructs the Poet that evil is the law, that the audience does not come to poetry. He recalls his characters, Don Cristóbal and Rosita, who is not a bricklayer: he needs a husband, a tough man, but he’s stunned. Cristóbal, who has a dull brain and is huge, is hard to comprehend that he is now a doctor and needs to get married, and that requires money first. But when he discovers the huge whistle swaying between his legs, he starts and throws all his money out of the patient. Then the bargain with the joyous mother begins: for how much she gives her daughter. They would agree on the money, but when the mother asks for an extra chunk, Cristóbal catches the whistle, which Rosita has misunderstood as a sign of masculinity that they can already call the priest. The Poet would add a few remarks to the wedding photograph, but the Director stifles the word. On his wedding night, Cristóbal runs only for drunken starvation. Rosita runs out into the night and complains of her thirst for love. Consolers arrive in turn, first in the Dancer in a red cloak, then at the beginning of the piece, the Beaten Patient, then the Poet, then the Director, and finally a Clarinet, straight from the orchestral ditch, and enchanting Rosita with her instrument. In the idyll, the Mother breaks into the news: Rosita will have a child, and even the first son has been born, and then the others will line up for five. He is already waking up to Cristó. At first, he only fights with the Choir about the identity of the children’s father, but then he can’t take it with him anymore: he’s hitting who he’s worth. The Director has to intervene: he pulls the plug and the air comes out of Don Cristóbal, flattens. The Poet would have something to add to this, too, but the Director still says, “Stupid lunar disease! Shut up! Finale!”

Additional information


His textbook was written by Szabolcs Várady based on the short stories of the same title by Federico García Lorca