When Prince Jaufré of Blaye finds he has had enough of the shallow life he has been living, he begins to long for a deeper kind of love. He dreams of a woman, somewhere out there, who will fulfil his ever ideal, and he obsesses over this mysterious unknown figure, writing her poetry and songs. A Pilgrim tells him that he knows of such a woman living in Tripoli, and Jaufré is immediately enthralled by the idea of this woman. He abandons the care of his subjects and spends sleepless nights trying to find the right words to his songs of love for this distant stranger.
When The Pilgrim later reveals that he has told the mystery woman all about Jaufré’s love, Jaufré is desperate to meet her. He sets sail for Tripoli, but is struck by a mysterious illness on the journey. He finally meets his beloved, the Countess Clémence, just moments before he dies. Clémence, who had been told of Jaufré’s love by The Pilgrim, cannot understand how god could be so cruel as to deny them time together. She believes herself cursed, and swears to join a convent, where she can remain true to her distant lord forever.
Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin (Love from afar) is a story of beauty, art, poetry, and devotion, which is rapidly gaining traction as one of the most iconic operas of the 21st century.
L'Amour de Loin guide sections