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Betsy Jolas

Publisher: Alphonse Leduc

Le Pavillon au Bord de la Rivière (1975)
Text Writer
Kuan Han Chin (French text by Michele Raoul Davis)
Publisher
Heugel
Category
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Chamber Opera
Year Composed
1975
Duration
1 Hour 30 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
1 Light Soprano, 6 Actors
Programme Note
Betsy Jolas Le Pavillon au Bord de la Rivière (1975)
SYNOPSIS

Act 1 – Head Abbess Pai of the Convent of Pure Tranquillity is visited by her nephew Pai Chi
Chung come to inform her that he has passed all his examinations and been appointed
judge. The Abbess congratulates him and asks news of his wife, forgetting that she had died.
Despite Pai’s reacton, she immediately goes on to suggest he marry Tan Chi Erh, a beautiful
young widow who visits her every day. Having then offered to act as their matchmaker, she
orders Pai to hide. Enters Tan Chi Erh . After greeting the Abbess, she laments over her
loneliness and expresses her desire to become a nun. The Abbess strongly discourages her
and sets to work on her matchmaking. After a little resistance the match is concluded and
the couple takes of to Judge Pai’s new positon.

Act 2 – Enter Lord Yang, a corrupt government official and his two servants. Yang has heard
of the marriage of judge Pai with the beautiful Tan Chi Erh whom he wanted as a concubine.
He decides to slander him so the Emperor will have him executed. Judge Pai is warned of
this plan by a letter from his mother. But Tan Chi Erh, noticing her husband’s preoccupation,
imagines that the letter she sees him reading comes from his first wife. Comes then a
jealousy scene. Pai finally explains the whole situation and Tan decides to confront Yang
and save her husband. She sets forth disguised as a fisherman’s wife.

Act 3 – Lord Yang, having obtained from the Emperor all necessary official documents, is on
his way to kill Pai . Enters Tai chi Erh dressed as a fisherman’s wife with a large fish to sell.
Fascinated by her beauty, Lord Yang invites her to share his meal. Tan Ch Erh accepts and as they eat and drink, both make up in turn little two line poems. Yang and the servants soon
fall asleep, dead drunk. Tan Ch Erh quickly steals all the documents and leaves. The two
servants wake up and discover the thief. They are afraid Lord Yang will accuse them and
they will lose their job.

Act 4 – Lord Yang and his servants storm judge Pai’s home to arrest him. But judge Pai
demands a legal warrant which of course Yang can no longer produce. Enters Tai Chi Erh
under normal wife guise. She accuses Yang of having seduced her and calls upon judge Pai,
her husband, to pronounce him guilty. Yang then recognizes Tan Chi Erh and remains
speechless. Enters the Prefect on horseback to deliver the final verdict : Lord Yang will be
deprived of his office. Pai Chi Chung and Tan Chi Erh are overjoyed!

Performances
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