Commissioned by English National Opera with funds from the Arts Council
Eckbert and his wife Berthe live in seclusion in the Harz Mountains. One stormy night, Eckbert’s friend Walther arrives and, to while away the time, Berthe tells him her life story. Walther mysteriously knows a great deal about Berthe' s early life and Eckbert’s suspicions grow, eventually leading him to murder Walther during a hunting expedition. Consumed by terror and suspicion, Eckbert retreats into seclusion and revisits the fairy-tale scenes of Berthe's childhood, accompanied by a magical singing bird. He encounters the old woman who raised Berthe, and at last learns the terrible truth about Walther, Berthe, and himself.
© Judith Weir