Synopsis by Craig Butler
Richard Strauss' Arabella, set in Vienna during the 1860s, opens with Countess von Waldner asking a fortuneteller to help save her family from their enormous debts. The mystic assures the Countess that her daughter, Arabella will marry into extreme wealth. Soon after, a young officer named Matteo pleads with Zdenka, the Waldners' son (in fact, a girl brought up as a boy), to help him win Arabella; unbeknownst to Matteo, Zdenka secretly carries a torch for him herself. Zdenka pleads Matteo's case with her sister, but Arabella dismisses him, as she does all who have sought her hand. Meanwhile, the Count has sent a photograph of Arabella to the rich Mandryka, hoping to arrange a marriage. The rich man's nephew, who is also named Mandryka, has intercepted the letter and makes his interest in Arabella known to the Count. At a grand ball, Arabella meets her new suitor and is instantly taken with him, accepting his proposal. However, Mandryka overhears Zdenka hatching a plot to get Matteo into Arabella's bedroom and thinks the worst. In fact, Zdenka has tricked Matteo; in the darkness of the room, he believes he is seducing Arabella rather than Zdenka. Mandryka challenges Matteo to a duel, but Zdenka reveals the truth of her deception. Learning the truth, Matteo takes Zdenka as his own and Arabella and Mandryka pledge their troth.
debt, family, fortuneteller, marriage-arranged, misunderstanding, opera