The Story of Dinorah

Comic Opera in three ants by Giacomo Meyerbeer Text by Barbier and Carre

DINORAH, the heroine, is a poor peasant girl and the betrothed of a goatherd named Hoel. They are about to be married in the church at Auray, when a terrible thunderstorm suddenly interrupts the ceremony.

The cottage of Dinorah’s father is destroyed, and Hoel gives up all his property to enable him to rebuild his house. Hoel is told by a sorcerer that he could gain great wealth if he would only consent to hide himself for a year in the forest. He follows this advice, and Dinorah, who thinks she is forsaken by her lover, loses her reason. After the year has expired, Hoel is informed that a vast treasure is buried in a certain spot. His joy at this news turns into dismay when he hears that the first person who moves the stone placed over the treasure will die within a year. He therefore induces Corentin, an avaricious fellow, to do this in his stead by promising him a share of the booty. When Corentin is on the point of removing the stone, a voice is heard, which reveals to him the legend of the treasure, and the fatal conditions imposed upon the finder.

Corentin, though enraged at the cunning trick Hoel has played on him, still cannot forego all hope of gaining the treasure. He discovers that the singer whose voice had warned him is no other than the mad girl Dinorah, and he resolves to make use of her, as formerly Hoel had made use of him, by persuading her to move the fatal stone. This she is about to do when the bell on her favorite goat diverts her attention, and causes her to fly this accursed place. In her flight, she is in danger of being carried away by an inundation, but is saved from drowning by Hoel. The sound of his beloved voice acts like a talisman, she recovers her reason, and there is now no drawback to their marriage. The union of the lovers closes the opera.