Opera 100: An opera synopsis in just one hundred words!
Henze: Elegy for Young Lovers Synopsis by: Alexander Campbell
Composer: Hans Werner Henze (born 1926) Librettists: W. H. Auden & Chester Kallman
Egotistical poet Gregor Mittenhofer retreats to the Alps to seek creative inspiration from the visions of Hilde Mack whose husband disappeared on the mountains forty years earlier. His various admirers pander obsessively to his self-indulgent whims. Hilde’s husband’s body is found. Mittenhofer’s mistress, Elisabeth, tenderly tells Hilde the news thereby attracting Toni. They declare their love. Jealous Mittenhofer notices, ostentatiously blesses the couple and persuades them climb the Hammerhorn to collect him flowers. As a storm breaks out he deliberately fails to send help. Toni and Elisabeth freeze to death. Finally inspired, Mittenhofer cynically dedicates his poetical elegy to them.