Drawn by a queen's promise that the man who sings most eloquently of his passion will win her hand and the king's crown, a swineherd approaches the throne. The swineherd, feeling unworthy, tells of his long journey. The Queen warns of her cruelty—should she not like his song he will lose his life. Offended by his song of self-confidence, she orders that his severed head be brought to her. His head is brought to her on a stake and she dances adoringly with it before sinking down on the stage, clutching the head to her breast.
Opera News, John Freeman, 3-16-85; Musical America, Ellen Pfeiffer, 9-79; New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 5-28-79; The NATS Bulletin, Barbara Kinsey Sable, Nov./Dec. 1984; Musical America, Robert Schwarz, 12-84