Opera Scotland

Kaspar Hauser - Child of Europe

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Rory Boyle (born Ayr)


Dilys Rose



First performance: Glasgow (New Athenaeum Theatre), 20 March 2010.

Scottish Opera premiere: N/A.



Rory Boyle studied at the RSAMD under Frank Spedding, then with Lennox Berkeley in London. He now teaches at the RSAMD. His extensive list of compositions covers most forms of music including solo piano, orchestral and opera. He has completed four operas for children. The composition of Kaspar Hauser was  supported by a Creative Scotland Award. Dilys Rose is an established poet and novelist who has taught Creative Writing at Edinburgh University. She previously collaborated with Rory Boyle on The Fires of Bride.


Main Characters

Kaspar Hauser (baritone)

Man in Black (bass)

Georg Weickmann (tenor)

G Friedrich Daumer (tenor)

Daumer's sister (mezzo-soprano)

Marga, a Mesmerist (mezzo-soprano)

Philip, Earl of Stanhope (bass)

Meyer (tenor)


Plot Summary

The child known as Kaspar Hauser has always been an object of mystery and the source of extensive speculation. He is recorded as having been found on Whit Monday, 26 May 1828 at 4pm, standing in a square in Nuremburg. He seemed to be sensitive to sunlight and not entirely comfortable in his clothing. In his hands was a letter addressed to the captain of the local cavalry. His age was estimated to be 15 or 16, and he simply repeated his name and the request "I want to be a horseman like my father".

His speech was limited and strange, suggesting an upbringing isolated from normal contact. He responded well to the attempts of helpers to civilise him - he learned to read and write quickly. At first he was considered as something of an innocent, and as his celebrity spread, books were written about him. During the ensuing four years, however, he was always the object of controversy, and two attempts were made on his life, the second one being successful.

Dilys Rose's libretto attempts to grapple with these views. It is not only a mystery regarding his birth and death, but also a story involving child neglect and exploitation.

The Cast

Anselm Von Feuerbach
 a retired lawyer
Barwoman One
Barwoman Two
Captain's Servant
Daumer's Mother
Daumer's Sister
G Friedrich Daumer
 a scholar
Georg Weickmann
 the electric girl
 the girl who lives with pigs
Jacob Beck
Kaspar Hauser
Man in Black
 the Mesmerist
 Earl of Stanhope
 the Somnambulist
Wildman Boris

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