February 7, 1931 | Metropolitan Opera
Peter Ibbetson
Composer:Deems Taylor
Librettist:Constance Collier and Deems Taylor
Mrs. Deane, a wealthy young widow, is giving a ball. Colonel Ibbetson, one of the guests, insists on reciting a poem to everyone at the ball. His nephew and ward, Peter Ibbetson, unintentionally humiliates him by announcing that the poem is not an original creation. A quarrel breaks out between the two. To appease the two, Mrs. Deane intervenes. Peter tells her of his early life in France with his French father, his English mother, and his childhood love, Mimsey Seraskier, whom he has never forgotten. The Colonel interrupts and Peter withdraws. The Colonel then confesses to Mrs. Deane that he is Peter's real father. Additional guests arrive, one of whom is Mary, Duchess of Towers. Mary recognizes Peter and asks his name, saying that he reminds her of a little boy she once knew in Paris. Peter realizes that she is his long-lost love, Mimsey.

Peter, in a dream, returns to the garden of his home in Paris. He sees his parents, Mimsey, and her parents in the dream. Mary, the Duchess of Towers, who is standing beside him, warns him not to touch or speak to the dream people. Peter's father, Colonel Ibbetson, insults Peter's mother and Peter rushes to defend her. Waking, Mary leaves him, telling him he is welcome to return whenever he wishes.

At Colonel Ibbetson's home, Peter sees the letter in which the Colonel reveals that he is Peter's father. There is a fight and Peter accidentally kills him. On the morning of Peter's execution, Mrs. Deane comes to him and says that due to Mary's intervention, he is free. Thirty years later, while Peter lies on his deathbed, Mrs. Deane comes to tell him that Mary has died. Peter admits to knowing of her death, since she did not appear to him in his dream the previous night. Peter then dies. The scene is transformed to the garden of Peter's childhood home. Mary appears and reaches for Peter. Out of the dead body on the cot rises Peter Ibbetson—young Peter. Mary and Peter embrace.

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Musical Style
Orchestral and harmonic manner of Wagner and Debussy; incorporates French folk song

Original Cast
Edward Johnson (Peter Ibbetson)
Lawrence Tibbett (Colonel Ibbetson)
Lucrezia Bori (Mary, Duchess of Towers)
Marion Telva (Mrs. Deane)
Ina Bourskaya (Mrs. Olyn)
Angelo Bada (Achille)
Leon Rothier (Major Duquesnois)
Louis D'Angelo (The Chaplain of Newgate Prison)
Giordano Paltrinteri (Charlie Plunkett)
Millo Picco (Guy Mainwaring)
Marek Windhelm (A Footman)
Phradie Wells (Diana Vivash)
Grace Divine (Madge Plunkett)
Philline Faico (Victorine)
Minnie Egener (A Sister of Charity)
Alfredo Gandolfi (Manservant and A Turnkey)
George Cehnnovsky (Prison Governor)
Claudio Frigerio (Pasquier de la Mariere)
Santa Biondo (Marie Psquier)
Alda Doninelli (Madam Seraskier)

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