Mister Gilfil's Love Story
(Любовь Мистера Гильфиля)
Projected opera (1893).
||TH 245 ; ČW 464 (as "Mr. Gilfil's Love Story")
||Late 1893 (unrealized project)
||Composer, after the tale Mr. Gilfil’s Love-Story (1857) from
the collection Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot (pseudonym
of Mary Ann Evans, 1819–1880)
||Klin (Russia): Tchaikovsky House-Museum
Archive (scenario only)
recalled that after considering an opera based on The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton,
the composer changed his mind in favour of another tale by George Eliot,
Mister Gilfil’s Love-Story . Herman
Laroche also remembered that "During the current summer , amongst
other things, he had read a French translation of the Scenes of Clerical
Life by George Eliot, for whose novels, beginning with The Mill on the
Floss, he had an extremely strong affection during the last years of his
life. Among the stories which make up this book was Mister Gilfil’s Love-Story,
the action of which takes place in the eighteenth century, and whose pathos
particularly captivated him. He found that this subject 'should be well-suited
for writing an opera'" .
After the composer’s death, a brief scenario for Acts II and III of an opera
on Mister Gilfil’s Love-Story was discovered amongst his papers :
Act II, Scene 1 — various scenes: 1) between the Captain and his
fiancée; 2) between Tina and the Captain; 3) between Tina, the fiancée, the
Captain and Gilfil, out of which is explained their relationships to each
other, Tina’s jealousy, the fiancée's jealousy, the truth of the captain’s
situation, everyone’s worsening health, Tina’s rudeness, the challenge of
her explanation from the Lord, her decision to leave him for Gilfil,
Gilfil’s suffering and jealousy, etc. All of this should take place in the
Scene 2 — Evening in the large hall of the castle. Tina is asked
to sing. She sings the second aria from the first act, but so enchantingly
that all are amazed (something similar to Adrienne Lecouvreur), and
the Captain is seized and unexpectedly picks up a dagger and leaps at her,
but just in time she runs. The Captain lets out a cry, and dies. General terror
and despair. Tina falls in a faint.
Act III — Tina is taking refuge at Dorcas’ house, in a miserable state.
Gilfil appears, happy to have found her, and commiserates with her situation.
His attempts to talk with her are unsuccessful. Gilfil, after his earlier
short scenes, explains how everything has come about, a tortured reminder
of her first aria. She listens and begins to sing and then cries, taking
hold of herself, and all ends almost happily, but with a hint of melancholy.
She does not become engaged to Gilfil, but leaves him with the hope that she
will love him.
No other documents relating to the opera are known.
The Tchaikovsky Handbook, vol. 1 (2002), p. 421
Copyright © 2002 Alexander Poznansky and Brett Langston
- See Modest Tchaikovsky, Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского,
том 3 (1902), p. 633 [back]
слов о Петре Ильиче Чайковском», Театральная газета, 29 October 1893 [back]
Музыкальное наследие Чайковского (1958), pp. 153–154 [back]