Maskarade (Masquerade)
  • Carl Nielsen. Comic opera in three acts. 1906.
  • Libretto by Vilhelm Anderson after the play by Ludwig Holberg.
  • First performance at the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, on 11th November 1906.

Set in 1723, the opera opens in the house of Jeronimus, whose son Leander is in love and has exchanged rings with a girl he had met at a dance the evening before. His servant Henrik points out that this may bring complications, since his father has arranged a match for him with a neighbour’s daughter. Leander’s mother, Magdelone, plans also to go the masquerade, but the scene is interrupted by Jeronimus, who forbids them from any such entertainment. His neighbour Leonard enters, complaining that his daughter has fallen in love. Henrik, by a trick, helps Leander to make his way to the masquerade, where he meets his beloved Leonora. Magdelone and Leonard join the entertainment, followed finally by Jeronimus. It is only when the masks are finally removed that all is revealed. Leonora is Leonard’s daughter, the girl that Jeronmius had intended his son to marry.

The overture to Maskarade is well enough known in concert performance, as is the Dance of the Cockerels from the masquerade from the third act.