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  1. Rivvy Elf's Avatar
    Librarian of Imladris
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    Sep 2004

    Maglor, an Opera Libretto (Suggestions More than Welcome)

    To cement and make me commit to this idea, I created this thread to announce my planning on spearheading an opera libretto on Maglor. This idea is under construction, with a lot of ideas bouncing around. So this post and thread may appear disorganized for a while. This is a long term project, so don't expect this to be completed anytime soon!

    Feel free to make suggestions, contribute, and take some of the credit for this project!

    FAQ section:

    What is a libretto?
    If you ever heard opera, like Verdi's Il Trovatore or Wagner's The Ring Cycle (Both of which are worth a listen!) it's basically the script and lyrics of the opera. Basically a several hour lay, song, or poem, even. Most authors of libretti (if they are not the composers) are generally less known than the composers, and there's a large variety of range in terms of libretto quality. Some operas have a poor libretto, but the composers make up for it with music. Some operas have a great libretto, but are given rather disappointing music to pair.

    So Who is/are the author(s) of this libretto detailing Maglor?
    Really flexible with that. I think anybody who contributes to the creation of this libretto can be an author if they choose.

    Why Maglor?
    Maglor is one of the greatest musicians in Tolkien's Legendarium, composing the NoldolantŽ, "The Fall of the Noldor". More on the NoldolantŽ below. I think it is fitting that if any fan-made libretto and opera be created it should be about him.

    In terms of the legendarium, he is one of the sons of FŽanor, which automatically means he commits great atrocities. Yet all of all of them, he's the only literal son left. His story is a tragedy, for based on my reading he's a well-meaning character with moral values that undergoes a redemption that begins after the third kinslaying. He becomes a foster-father to Elrond and Elros, and they loved him. The redemption continues (and according to legend, is still ongoing), as after being rejected by his silmaril, he casts it to the sea. But instead of killing himself like his brother, he chooses essentially eternal exile, wandering the shores of Middle-Earth in lamentation of his actions.In

    In short, he's the perfect central character of a moving opera.

    What is the NoldolantŽ and will it appear in the libretto?
    It is a lamentation on the Fall of the Noldor. Basically it laments rebellion of the Noldor, the first kinslaying, and the exile of the Noldor; all in verse. We do not know if Tolkien ever wrote a draft of it, because there hasn't been one in any of Christopher Tolkien's publications. In terms of whether an attempt to create a fan-made one would be included in the libretto, that's tough to say. For me, if I would write such a thing I would use one of the Old Eddaic poetry formats. What's tough about that is, those formats weren't designed for English. So, I don't know right now.

    What language will the libretto be in?

    I would prefer it to be English. It would make sense to have it be in one of Tolkien's elven languages, but I think this libretto should be in English because it would be more accessible to readers. Besides, is not Tolkien's legendarium considered an attempt at creating a mythology for England? Though of course, if there are enough people well-versed in creating poetry in Tolkien's language, I don't mind considering it to be in elvish.

    What is the lyrical structure of this libretto?
    Haven't come to that part yet in planning.

    What's next in the process for this long-term project?
    A lot of things. I think priority first would be coming up with a general plot synopsis. Maglor lived for a long time, and I or we need to figure out what portions of his life we need to highlight. The themes of this opera also need to be created, and many other storyline things need to be created too (Will it be a tale of redemption? How much focus should there be with the other characters? Will the NoldolantŽ, or portions of it, be created and used?)

    I would like to make a suggestion, can I make one?
    Make as many as you like, and post them wherever I can see it. This includes on the plaza, through e-mail, through pm, etc.

    Are you crazy?
    Last edited by Rivvy Elf; 06/Jul/2017 at 03:32 AM.

  2. Rivvy Elf's Avatar
    Librarian of Imladris
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    Sep 2004
    Update 1:

    I have created stanzas from the text of the Oath of FŽanor and the Doom of Mandos. It was easy to merely separate the large stanza into 3, to distinctly seperate the meaning of each section of the oath, and ultimately help out potential composers. The Oath directly comes from Morgoth's Ring and has not been altered. Throughout the libretto the Oath or parts of the Oath will be uttered, and lyrical themes, arias, and variations will sprout from it.

    The Doom of Mandos comes from The Silmarillion and its words are unaltered. It did not come in stanza form, so I essentially created a poem out of it without changing any of its words. Its structure is jarringly different from the Oath, and for good reason. This Doom will be another musical theme, with derivative arias, variations, that will contrast the music from The Oath.

    I'm sure there will be points where both themes will appear at the same time, in the same stanzas. But we have not gotten that far yet.

    In terms of plot synopsis, I am unsure whether to use for Act 1 describing the Fall of the Noldor, "The Shibboleth of FŽanor" in The Peoples of Middle-Earth, or The Silmarillion, or a combination of various texts that create plausible canon. The main differences between each is that in the Shibboleth, Amrod becomes the youngest son and accidentally perishes when FŽanor burns the ships at Losgar.

    I am leaning towards using that version, because I disagree with Christopher Tolkien, who found it "strange and sinister", where there are plenty of other instances more sinister (e.g a few things in Children of Hurin, the purposeful desertion of most of the Noldor) that were arguably worse than an accidental careless death; which is rather more ironic, better connects with the reader because Amrod probably wanted to go back home, further shows the degrading state of FŽanor, provides reason for Amras to not participate in the Siege of Angband, and matches the Doom of Mandos' theme. I would not find it strange, for one of the names given to Amrod from Nerdanel is Umbarto, which means "the fated". FŽanor was disturbed and changed the name to Ambarto, which means "Upwards-exalted", so as a reader I would expect for Amrod's fate to be unique, which it would be if he died due to an accident; contrasting his death compared to most of the battle-related deaths of his brothers.

    What are your thoughts?

    Oath of FŽanor:

    "Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean,
    brood of Morgoth or bright Vala,
    Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
    Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth,

    neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
    dread nor danger, not Doom itself,
    shall defend him from FŽanor, and FŽanor's kin,
    whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
    finding keepeth or afar casteth
    a Silmaril. This swear we all:

    death we will deal him ere Day's ending,
    woe unto world's end! Our word hear thou,
    Eru Allfather! To the everlasting
    Darkness doom us if our deed faileth.
    On the holy mountain hear in witness
    and our vow remember, ManwŽ and Varda!"

    The Doom of Mandos:

    "Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and
    the Valar will fence Valinor
    against you, and shut you out, so
    that not even the echo of your
    lamentation shall pass over the mountains.

    On the House of FŽanor
    the wrath of the Valar lieth
    from the West unto the uttermost East,
    and upon all that will follow them
    it shall be laid also.

    Their Oath shall drive them, and
    yet betray them, and
    ever snatch away the very treasures
    that they have sworn to pursue.

    To evil end shall all things turn
    that they begin well; and
    by treason of kin unto kin, and
    the fear of treason, shall this come to pass.
    The Dispossessed shall they be for ever."

  3. Rivvy Elf's Avatar
    Librarian of Imladris
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    Sep 2004
    Update 2:

    Here is the first draft of the plot of the first scene of the first act. Though much of the first scene is fabricated, I did my best to ensure that it stayed within the spirit of Tolkien and that the respective characters actions made sense and does not contradict the canon. Feel free to ask me any questions regarding some of my decisions and choices regarding the plot (for this scene and in the future). Everything is subject to change, of course :)-

    Act 1- The Fall of the Noldor

    Scene 1: Setting- The House of Mahtan

    Nerdanel, wife of FŽanor and mother to all seven of his sons, invites AnairŽ, wife of Fingolfin, and Ešrwen, wife of Finarfin, to sup. Fingolfin advised AnairŽ to stay in Tirion lest the worst happen. The three discuss happier times, and Nerdanel sings of her life with FŽanor before his banishment. While they are in the midst of pondering what will happen during ManwŽ's feast to reconcile; Maglor, Amrod, and Amras enter, declaring their presence. They are 3 of the 7 sons of FŽanor, and they embrace their mother; as they had not seen each other since the banishment of FŽanor. Nerdanel accurately discerns that her husband sent the sons for her own safety. Maglor speaks of where his other brothers are, particularly Maedhros, who is with FŽanor at the reconciliation feast. AnairŽ points out her son Fingon is at the feast too, and how because of his friendship with Maedhros, they would aid the reconciliation. Maglor sings of his hope that all will be well, when suddenly the lights dim and fade away.

    After intial panic, Nerdanel asks Amrod and Amras to quickly and safely escort AnairŽ and Ešrwen to their respective homes. The four leave, leaving Maglor and Nerdanel alone. They wonder what happened to the Two Trees, the main source of light, and Maglor promises to protect his mother. The pair sing of Maglor's childhood, and Nerdanel brings to Maglor his first harp; left behind from before FŽanor's banishment. Nerdanel cautions him to focus more on protecting the rest of his brothers, and FŽanor. She sorrowfully speaks how he know longer listens to her wisdom, and perhaps he would be more receptive to Maglor.

    Amrod and Amras return, this time with two other sons of FŽanor: Caranthir and Celegorm. The latter two embrace Nerdanel. Amrod, Amras, Caranthir, and Celegorm wish to leave and search for the perpetrator(s) of the darkening of Valinor, but Maglor and Nerdanel successfully prevent the four from leaving. The group hypothesizes who could have caused this calammity.

    Then Curufin, arrives, out of breath and dishevelled. He announces that FinwŽ, King of the Noldor and father of FŽanor, is slain, by Melkor. The group bombards him with questions, and Curufin answers them all, having witnessed the event and immediately fleeing to Tirion (leaving his son to guard the late King's body).

    Afterwards, the group hears a chorus of elves shouting that FŽanor is coming to Tirion. Everyone in the house leaves, and scene 1 ends.


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