The Wreckers


Writers: Ethel Smyth


Although this opera was originally written in French, its premiere was in German, and it has subsequently been performed more often in English and German, so these versions are given for the breakdown below. The English is taken from the translation by H. Decker and John Bernhoff.

Act One


Scene One - A cornish village on a cliff above the sea.

‘Der Hell’gen Seelen fürchten nun micht mehr den Tod’ / ‘God’s Chosen People shall not pay the price of sin!’ - Chorus

‘Halt da!’ / ‘Stay friends!’ - Tallan, Jack, Harvey, Chorus

‘Gott sei Lob!’ / ‘Hark! A storm!’ - Harvey, Tallan, Chorus

Scene Two

‘Nein, ihr braucht mich nicht!’ / ‘Well may such as ye’ - Pascoe, Harvey, Chorus

Scene Three

‘Er hat wohl die alte Predigt gehalten’ / ‘Did the prophet say that God in His anger’ - Avis, Chorus

‘Als jüngst com Fischen heim ich kehrte’ / ‘Last evening when my work was ended’ - Lawrence, Avis, Jack, Tallan, Harvey, Chorus

‘Es ist seltsam, was du da berichtest’ / ‘Tis strange! Methinks my ears deceive me!’ - Tallan, Harvey, Avis, Lawrence, Chorus

Scene Four

‘Thurza, kommst du zur Kirche mit uns?’ / ‘Here comes Thirza to join in our prayers!’ - Harvey, Thirza, Tallan, Jack, Avis, Chorus

‘Schnell, den Namen des, der uns verraten!’ / ‘Tell me comrade, have you a clue, or was it fancy?’ - Tallan, Lawrence, Chorus

Scene Five

‘Der Regen strömt am Bergeshang’ / The wind is cold, the sky is sad’ - Mark, Jack, Avis

‘Sieh da, so heiltest du dein Wort?’ / ‘Good-day! Tis thus you keep your word!’ - Avis, Mark

‘Kind, ist auch hart mein Word’ / ‘Child, though my words give pain’ - Mark, Avis

Scene Six

‘Ha! Ha! Ha! Die Ratt’ ist da!’ / ‘Ha! Ha! Ha! The rat’s in sight!’ - Avis

Scene Seven

‘Sie kommt!’ / ‘She comes’ - Avis, Thirza

‘O Liebe, du goldner Strahl’ / ‘O Love, o thou lightning ray’ - Thirza

Scene Eight

‘Gottes heil’ges Haus steht dort!’ / ‘Yonder lies the house of God’ - Pascoe, Avis, Thirza

‘Sollte dieses Kind schlimme Wegegeh’n?’ / ‘Is this foolish child lost on evil paths?’ - Pascoe

Scene Nine

‘Warum bist du hier und nicht beim Beten?’ / ‘I thought to have found you in the chapel’ - Pascoe, Thirza

‘Mit Wind und Wellen im Bunde’ / ‘The hunter recks not of mercy’ - Thirza, Chorus

‘So kann nur reden, wer im Wahn’ / ‘These are the words of one distraught’ - Pascoe, Chorus

‘Wer fromm gelebt’ / Our ransomed souls’ - Pascoe, Chorus, Thirza

Scene Ten

‘Ach! Wie war die Predigt schön!’ / ‘Ah! Thus should the Word be preached!’ - Lawrence, Harvey, Preacher, Chorus

‘Sieh die schwarzen Wolken!’ / ‘Mark how strange the light is!’ - A Man

‘Seht ihn dort im Traum verloren!’ / ‘He is lost in thought and hears not!’ - Lawrence, Harvey, Tallan, Avis, Jack, Pascoe

Scene Eleven

‘Der Verrater is Pasko!’ / ‘The traitor is Pascoe!’ - Avis, Harvey, Jack, Tallen, Lawrence

‘Tod ihm, wenn er’s vollbracht’ / ‘Who breaks our law must die!’ - Tallan, Lawrence, Harvey, Thirza

‘Nehmt Hörner mit und von Zeit zu Zeit blas jeder einmal’ / ‘Take horns with you and blow now and again’ - Lawrence, Harvey, Tallan, Avis

‘Ein Schiff treibt der Sturm zum Fels her!’ / ‘A barque on the rocks is driving!’ - Chorus, Harvey, Lawrence, Tallan, Jack, Avis

Act Two

Prelude “On the Cliffs of Cornwall”

Scene One

‘Halt da! Halt Da!’ / Stop knave! Stop knave!’ - Jack, Avis

‘Ich darf ihn nicht erzürnen’/ ‘I must soothe him’ - Avis, Jack, Mark

Scene Two

‘Ja, so geht’s in dieser Welt!’ / ‘Thus we come to know our worth!’ - Mark

“Ballad of the bones” ‘Wann gibst du Frieden meiner Seele Pein’ / When wilt thou give me peace from vain desire?’ - Mark

Scene Three

‘Marc! Lösch das Licht!’ / ‘Mark! Not tonight!’ - Thirza, Mark

‘Ach! Wend’ dich nicht von mir ab’ / ‘Lord! I have sought Thee by night’ - Pascoe, Thirza, Mark

Scene Four

‘Was leuchtet so seltsam durch die Nacht?’ / ‘What strange beam is this that lights the gloom?’ - Pascoe, Thirza

Scene Five

‘Hier liegt ein Mann’ / ‘Here lies a man’ - Lawrence, Harvey, Avis, Jack, Tallan

Act Three

Scene One - The interior of a huge cave

‘Nichts! Und wieder nichts!’ / ‘Naught, and ever naught’ - Chorus

‘Männer von Cornwall’ / ‘Men here assembled’ - Lawrence, Avis, Thirza, Chorus

‘In Gnad’ erleucht’ uns, o Herr’ / ‘Pray God for guidance and light’ - Lawrence, Avis, Jack, Tallan, Harvey, Chorus

‘Wie uns allen bekannt’ / ‘Since long weeks we are starving’ - Lawrence, Chorus

‘Wer darf es wagen, mir Befehle zu geben!’ / ‘I am not one to whom his fellows give orders!’ - Pascoe, Lawrence, Avis, Jack, Tallan, Harvey, Chorus

‘Ihr fragt, warum er’s tat?’ / ‘This man betrayed his flock’ - Avis

‘Du schlangenzüngig Weib’ / ‘I hear thy serpent tongue’ - Thirza, Lawrence, Avis, Harvey, Jack, Tallan, Chorus

Scene Two

‘Halt! Ich, Marc, war der Verrater!’ / ‘Stop! Tis I who have betrayed you!’ - Mark, Pascoe

‘Toll bist du, toll, wer dir glaubet!’ / ‘Mad thou art! Mad who believes thee!’ - Avis, Thirza, Jack, Mark, Tallan, Harvey, Chorus

(These final movements have unfortunately lost the German libretto from the score, so only the English is presented here.)

‘Hark the rising tide’ - Chorus, Lawrence,

‘Closed is the court and sealed the doom’ - Tallan, Harvey, Chorus

‘Nay! Die she shall not!’ - Pascoe, Thirza

‘Shall such as these find mercy?’ - Tallan, Mark, Lawrence, Pascoe, Thirza, Harvey, Chorus

‘With thy last breath, breathe not those words accursed’ - Pascoe, Lawrence, Tallan, Harvey, Mark, Chorus

‘Turn on me those eyes full of sea and sky’ - Mark, Thirza, Chorus

A song with an asterisk (*) before the title indicates a dance number; a character listed in a song with an asterisk (*) by the character's name indicates that the character exclusively serves as a dancer in this song, which is sung by other characters.

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