March 14, 1912 | Metropolitan Opera
Mona
Composer:Horatio Parker
Librettist:Brian Hooker
Synopsis
Setting: Southwestern Britain. The end of the first century A.D., during the earlier years of the Roman occupation.

Quintus, son of a Roman governor of Britain, has fallen in love with Mona, a Briton. He has joined himself to her people and has even become a bard. Mona's foster father and foster brother plot the destruction of the Romans, seeing Mona as a new liberator. She is set apart as leader and queen. Quintus, called Gwynn among the Britons, strives to avert war by appealing to Mona's love. He even swears to be one with the plotters. Gwynn, in an effort to secretly protect Mona, continues to hold off war, but the Britons prepare to strike.

The Roman governor promises Gwynn to spare the Britons if, through Mona, he prevents an attack on the Romans. On the eve of battle, Gwynn's passionate appeals of love force Mona to waver in her battle plans. So consumed by passion, Gwynn confesses that he is a Roman and proceeds to tell her how he means to bring peace. Upon learning that he is a Roman, Mona summons her people, takes Gwynn prisoner, and forces her attack on the Romans. The Romans are prepared for the onslaught and defeat the Britons. Gwynn, who has escaped, comes to Mona again and tries to stop the fighting. He tells her who his father is and asks her to help him. But she, believing that it was he who betrayed their battle plans, thus causing their defeat, thinks him a liar and kills him. The governor arrives and the truth is disclosed. Mona, crying for her lost love, is taken captive by her people for her failure as a leader.

Title Information

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Musical Style
Harmonic language influenced by Wagner and early Richard Strauss, as well as some Debussy; vigorous declamation and unmelodic speech; predominantly chromatic and highly expressive; opposing rhythms

Original Cast
Louise Homer (Mona)
Rita Fornia (Enya)
Herbert Witherspoon (Arth)
William Hinshaw (Gloom)
Albert Reiss (Nial)
Lambert Murphy (Caradoc)
Putnam Griswold (The Roman Governor of Britain)
Riccardo Martin (Quintus)
Basil Ruysdael (An Old Man)


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