• 2+pic224/42+2cnt31/timp.perc/org/str. In the wings: 5 players
  • SATB
  • S, Mz, T, 2Bar, B
  • 1 hr 40 min

Programme Note

The libretto, by Edouard Blau, is based on the old Breton legend of the drowned city of Ys, capital of the kingdom of Cornouaille. The opera was premiered on 7 May 1888 by the Opéra Comique at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris.

Margared, one of the daughters of the King of Ys, is betrothed to Prince Karnac, a former enemy of the city. During the celebrations, she confesses to her sister Rozenn that she loves someone who sailed away years ago "on the same ship that carried away Mylio", Rozenn's childhood friend and her beloved. Margared is actually referring to Mylio, himself, and she is convinced that Mylio returns her love. Margared offers to join the defeated Karnac in seeking revenge. During the wedding ceremony of Mylio and Rozenn, Margared’s resolve begins to waver. However, Karnac re-ignites her jealousy and desire for revenge, and they head for the sluices. Margared announces to all that Ys is doomed—Karnac has opened the sluices. Mylio kills Karnac but too late to save the city which is now being engulfed by waves. Margared, stricken with remorse, tells them that the ocean demands a sacrifice and hurls herself into the sea from a high rock. Upon her death, St Corentin appears and calms the waves thereby saving the city.