Gathered in the Scottish Highlands, the spirits grant the vampire, Lord Ruthwen, another year of life on the condition he sacrifices three young women within 24 hours. Although a young man Aubry knows Ruthwen is a vampire, he is sworn to secrecy. When the young man’s own lover Malwina is about to become the vampire’s next victim, Aubry has to choose between saving his bride or remaining true to his oath.
Der Vampyr is by a formative figure in Hanover's musical life; the composer Heinrich Marschner led the theatre that preceded the Staatsoper, as Royal Hanoverian Kapellmeister and Intendant, for almost three decades from 1831. Marschner adapted John Polidori's novella ‘The Vampyre’, which was modelled on British dandy and writer Lord Byron. Our fascination with the bloodsucking outsider is still as strong two centuries later. Brilliant German director Ersan Mondtag and his team explore social outsiderness and the curse of immortality.
Sir Humphrey, Laird van Davenaut
Darwin Prakash / Gagik Vardanyan
Astarte / Vampyrmeisterin
Chor der Staatsoper Hannover
Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester Hannover
Wilhelm August Wohlbrück
Lorenzo Da Rio
The vampire Lord Ruthwen swears to the vampire mistress to fulfil her mission and sacrifice three young women within 24 hours in order to be allowed to live for another year. Ruthwen imagines the beauty of his victims, and envisions sucking the life out of them.
The Babylonian goddess of love Astarte and Ahasver, the eternal Jew who has wandered unredeemed through the ages, meet. Ahasver is amazed at the spirit beings, and Astarte describes the world of the outcasts, the demons and vampires. Ruthwen is the most famous representative of this kind and a revenant of the British writer and model of the vampire myth, Lord Byron.
Lord Ruthwen succeeds in seducing Janthe, the daughter of Cardinal Berkley, as his first victim. As Berkley searches for Janthe, he hears only her dying screams and finds her corpse in the vampire cave. He stabs Ruthwen, who is left wounded in the melee.
Astarte assures Ahasver that the Christian Cardinal Berkley is by no means a vampire, even though spiritual dignitaries themselves sacrifice innocents.
Edgar Aubrey finds Ruthwen injured. When Ruthwen asks to be moved in the rays of the moon to heal his wound, Aubrey recognises him as a vampire. Ruthwen forces the horrified Aubrey to swear that he will not reveal his identity as a vampire. Aubrey takes the oath.
Lord Byron contemplates his creature Ruthwen, for whom he has written a sombre poem.
On her birthday, Malwina eagerly awaits her lover Edgar Aubrey, who has returned from a journey. She wants to introduce her father, the oil magnate Lord Davenaut, to his valued employee Edgar Aubrey as her fiancé.
Davenaut affirms that Malwina will soon be a happy bride, as he has chosen the wealthy Earl of Marsden as her husband.
Malwina refuses to marry the Earl of Marsden. Aubrey professes to Davenaut that he loves Malwina himself. Davenaut, enraged by the disobedience, insists on marrying Malwina to Marsden, to whom he has already given his word.
When Malwina's future husband appears, Aubrey recognises the Earl of Marsden as the vampire Lord Ruthwen, but he cannot reveal his identity because he is bound by his oath. Davenaut invites them to the wedding feast, and Malwina and Aubrey are left between despair and hope.
There is wild drinking and partying in front of the castle.
Ahasver is disgusted, knowing how quickly intoxication can turn into hatred and violence against those who think differently. Astarte and Lord Byron talk about love and war. Astarte reproaches Byron for his scandalous past as a faithless and seductive dandy and man of letters.
Emmy is waiting for her bridegroom George. She has learned that Janthe must have been killed by a vampire on the day of her wedding and sings a melancholy ballad about a vampire.
Ruthwen appears in his identity as the wealthy Earl of Marsden and presents Emmy with a valuable ring as a wedding gift. Her groom George is furious with jealousy when he realises that Emmy has fallen for the seductive Earl.
Ruthwen asks Astarte, on seeing Aubrey whose side she is on now.
Astarte affirms that, as the guardian angel of Hell, she is always on the side of the cursed and the humiliated. They, including Aubrey, would never be supported by her.
Aubrey confronts Ruthwen and urges him not to destroy Malwina and his relationship with her. Ruthwen threatens Aubrey with terrible anguish of conscience if he reveals Ruthwen's vampire existence and perjures himself. Aubrey fears for Malwina's life and realises his situation is desperate. He warns the jealous George to keep Emmy away from Marsden who gives in to Ruthwen's seductions without resistance.
The four drunkards James Gadshill, Richard Scrop, Robert Green and Toms Blunt celebrate and rage, much to the chagrin of Suse Blunt, Toms' wife. Suse Blunt incites a revolt... shots are fired and George enters with Emmy's body in his arms. A funeral procession is formed to bury the dead woman. Malwina and Aubrey don't know how they'll manage Malwina's impending marriage to Marsden.
Aubrey disrupts the wedding celebration and warns Davenaut against giving his daughter to the Earl of Marsden. Malwina asks for a day's delay to buy time, but Ruthwen insists on an immediate wedding. The moment Aubrey dares to publicly refer to Ruthwen as a vampire, the clock strikes one and Lord Ruthwen's 24-hour deadline has elapsed. He falls back under the power of the Vampire Mistress... and falls to the ground, destroyed. The wedding guests, Davenaut, Malwina and Aubrey celebrate Ruthwen's punishment and look forward to a happy future.
Ahasver and Ruthwen are left behind in the cycle of unredeemed immortality.