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1816

a psychedelic dark-wave opera
 

Background information

We give a detailed description of the story of the songs of this album, too.
But this is valid again:
who wants to get surprised, should not read the text, if he had not listen to the CD, yet.
 
 
Akt 1
April 1816
Byron: Enfant Terrible
Polidori: Polly Dolly
Akt 2
Mai 1816
Shelley: Cor Cordium (Herz der Herzer)
Mary: Traumtänzerin
Claire: Stalc(l)aire
Akt 3
Diodati
Byron: Das Empfinden
Shelley: Der kälteste Sommer
Akt 4
Sommergewitter
Mary: Leuchtender See
Polidori: Mensch-Maschine
Juni 1816
 
album cover: 1816
Akt 5
Geisterstunde
Claire: Phantasmagoriana
Mary: Dr. Darwin
Akt 6
Laudanum
Mary: Geisterkind
Shelley: Medusa' s Augen
Byron: Schreckenstraum
Opiumträume
Akt 7
Polidori: Versenkt im Grabe
Mary: Vampire
Akt 8
Trauermarsch
Claire: Todesreigen
Was übrig bleibt
März 1879
 
 

 
 

(1. Act) 1. Akt

 

April 1816

It is a beautiful April in the year 1816. Byron and Polidori go on a journey.
 

Byron: Enfant Terrible

Lord George Gordon Noel Byron was a very famous poet, who was highly regarded, especially by women, for his wonderful poems. He was restless, passionate, arrogant and fascinated of offensive and gloomy things. But his many affairs, also with married women, cast a cloud over his poetic fame. First of all, his undoing was loving his sister Augusta, who even bore him a child. To hush this up he married, but after drinking too much and beating his wife, she left him. By now, his civil reputation was destroyed completely. But he was above these things and he was freethinker and rebel enough that he did not mind the opinion of the public. Nevertheless he suffered from his damaged foot, which was what kept him from playing and dancing as he was a child. Because of that he lacked self-confidence, but he covered this up with his escapades. He wanted to live and feel. So he left England, which has become too small, and totally abandoned himself to his longing for life.
 

Polidori: Polly Dolly

Dr. John Polidori, who had just became a doctor with a paper about sleepwalking and nightmares, came with him. A publisher gave him the task to write a diary of the journey. But besides the welcome source of income, he followed Byron blind with love, too, even if Byron often humiliated, plagued and mocked him when he had the opportunity.
April 1816
  Overview
 

 
 
Mai 1816

2. Akt (2. Act)

 

Mai 1816 (May 1816)

The may stays still friendly, as three other travelers leave England, too: Shelley with his sweetheart Mary and her sister Claire. Mary's and Shelley's son William also travels with them.
 

Shelley: Cor Cordium (Herz der Herzer) (Heart of Hearts)

Percey Bysshe Shelley was a philosopher and poet. First of all, he was against the society and its common conventions, and he wrote political papers. Although the romantic nature lover was married, he left his wife and his child to live with Mary (and other women, too) in free love. He regarded Byron highly, so he could easily be convinced to visit him.
 

Mary: Traumtänzerin (Dream dancer)

Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley) played with elves and dwarfs, when she was a child. She had fantastic dreams, but the stories, she wrote, were always only shadows of them. She was the child of an anarchist and a women's rights' activist. That is why, she was very independent and politically radical, she used her brain and believed in free love. She fled from grey monotony of reality into her stories. She met Shelley, her love of her life, after her mother's death. Shelley admires her father, but, old as he was, he was no longer the rebel from former times and he despised Shelley. She bore Shelley two children, now, in may 1816, only the second is still alive. The other child lives only in her dreams. Turned to a public scandal, Mary fled with the others from her father and the society out of England. She does not like the idea of following Byron. But she would follow Shelley everywhere.
 

Claire: Stalc(l)aire

Clara Mary Jane called herself Claire Clairmont to differ from her sister Mary. She was not as well-considered as her sister, but impetuous, wild and vulgar. She fell in love with Byron and he had told her, where his destination was, so she convinced the others to follow him to Switzerland. But not only love drags her after him, she also bears his child.
Overview  
 

 
 

(3. Act) 3. Akt

 

Diodati

So, our five characters had left England. During this song, you experience the end of their journey. Climb with Mary, Shelley and Claire on board of the boat and row over the lake Geneva at dusk. Listen to the chirp of the birds and relish the silence, while the Villa Diodati emerges in front of the flaming sky. You arrive through the reeds at Byron's exile.
 

(The feeling) Byron: Das Empfinden

The aim of Byron's life is feeling life, including all its pain and excitement. He travels through the coldness and wetness of this former time, through famines and epidemics and arrives at Lake Geneva, where he savours nature in her full beauty. He still pines for his sister and the separation of his wife burdens him too much and so the nature wonders around cannot bring him relief. He takes refuge in Laudanum, his feelings and his love affaires. And also the weather fits in with his mood. A storm comes up and brings darkness, coldness, rain and thunderstorms.
 

(The coldest summer) Shelley: Der kälteste Sommer

But before summer looses his face, the five are meeting very often and are making excursions into nature or are rowing across the lake. During this, they are observed by tourists with telescopes. After all, they are a group of socially expelled people, famous, outlawed and maybe also diabolical. Of course, the poets write and read very much. And then the coldest summer of all times is setting in and their further time is overshadowed by thunderstorms, rain, Laudanum and death.
Diodati
Overview
 

 
 
Sommergewitter

4. Akt (4. Act)

 

Sommergewitter (Summer thunderstorm)

Starting in the sultry, oppressive heat of an afternoon, a thunderstorm develops its full strength. It moves away fast and leaves behind the last drops sparkling in the sun.
 

Mary: Leuchtender See (Glowing lake)

Mary is fascinated by the force of nature, the beauty and the vitality breaking during the thunderstorm. Never before, she has seen a thunderstorm more beautiful. The nature and the weather inspire her imagination and she devotes herself to her favorite occupation: inventing stories.
 

Polidori: Mensch-Maschine (Human machine)

During one of those thunderstorms, Polidori and Byron are watching Mary, running through the rain towards the house. As always, Byron takes Polidori for a ride and gets him to save Mary from the rain through jumping of the balcony. While Byron is laughing, the plump doctor sprains his ankle and withdraws insulted. In the evening, Polidori and Shelley are talking a long time about humans, who actually are just machines.
 

Juni 1816 (June 1816)

It is a gloomy June, rainy and cold and this will not change, for some time.
Overview  
 

 
 

(5. Act) 5. Akt

 

(Witching hour) Geisterstunde

The eerie, gloomy summer starts having an effect. The bell is striking witching hour.
 

Claire: Phantasmagoriana

The group is killing the rainy time with ghost stories, which they read aloud. Carried away of the dreadful atmosphere, they all decide to make a competition and write a ghost story. Every one, except Claire, the only one who never wrote poetry.
 

Mary: Dr. Darwin

But reading is not the only thing they do, besides they are talking far into the night. Mostly Shelley and Byron are attending the philosophical conversations. They ponder if the principle of life will ever be decoded. Darwin managed at least to get a dead worm to move with the help of electroplating. Maybe a creature out of parts of dead bodies can be brought to life by electricity. But what becomes a human, who tempts God...
Phantasmagoriana
  Overview
 

 
 
Laudanum

6. Akt (6. Act)

 

Laudanum

The eerie atmosphere is mixing up with the intoxication growing stronger. Diodati is haunted by nightmares and visions.
 

Mary: Geisterkind (Ghost child)

After the conversation about Dr. Darwin, every one goes to bed. But Mary is not able to sleep. While she lies on her bed, her imagination shows her horrifying pictures - a scientist kneels next to his creature. She understands him, because she would do everything for the life of her daughter. She sees her lying in her arms and smiling. But this is not the terrible reality. Only Mary's sense of guilt, because of the death of her daughter and her mother, remains. Every one, who is loved by her, will die! She seas the creature, brought to life by electricity. The ugly monster rises and catches up with its creator. He will die, too! Mary comes back to herself, but she is still obsessed with the pictures. In order to relax, she takes the ghost story, she has started and with which she is really not satisfied, yet. She wants to terrify the reader, just as she experienced this night. So she decides to start a new story and to rise the ugly ghost child of her vision from the dead.
 

Shelley: Medusa' s Augen (Medusa's eyes)

Intoxicated, Shelley listens to Byron's story about a witch. But suddenly, it is no longer Mary standing next to him, but it is the witch! He knows her from his childhood and he is afraid of her ugly, naked figure. He runs away and later, he is slightly calmed with ether by Polidori. It is also him, whom he tells his greatest terror. Medusa's eyes looked to him out of the witch's breasts. He never felt more fear before, so he decides to pass it on the reader through his story.
 

Byron: Schreckenstraum (Terror dream)

Byron awakes from a bad opium dream, where the dead came out of their graves. He is lying filled with terror on is bed and he is still captivated of the pictures. He feels leeches sucking his blood just like vampires.
 

Opiumträume (Opium dreams)

But, despite the terror, the intoxication starts to decrease. The fear fades and is banned into stories.
Overview
 

 
 

(7. Act) 7. Akt

 

(Lowered into grave) Polidori: Versenkt im Grabe

Polidori does not know exactly, what he should write. He started a story about a woman, spying though keyholes and watching forbidden things. As punishment, her head becomes a skull. But he cannot think of a proper ending, and because, the story was only copied, he lowered it unfinished into its grave.
 

(Vampires) Mary: Vampire

Byron is writing a story, where he himself seems to be the main part. He steals women the force of life, just as the vampire of his story. But by the time, it started to bore him, so he never finished this story. But someone different writes the story and will even publish it later. Polidori makes himself, just as in real life, to the companion of Byron the Vampire, to whom he remains faithful despite everything.
Opiumträume
  Overview
 

 
 
Todesreigen

8. Akt (8. Act)

 

Trauermarsch (Funeral march)

The poets leave Diodati. They stroll towards their terrible ends.
 

Claire: Todesreigen (Death round dance)

The four poets aroused Fear, Death and Terror in this summer and they were haunted by them till their ends.
After Shelley's wife drowned herself in the sea, Mary and Shelley married. Shelley was prohibited judicially from raising children, because he was just too rebellious and radical. But he had nevertheless little chance, to do so.
Claire's daughter died of malaria and typhus at the age of two in a monastery. Claire blamed only Byron and his depraved life. She hated him the rest of her life.
Mary bore 4 children, but only one stayed alive. She almost died at the last stillbirth, but Shelley managed to save her. But their relationship suffered very much.
Officially, Polidori died naturally. Nevertheless, it is said, that he took his life with prussic acid, after he was in dept and was injured by Byron.
Shelley died in the sea, just as his first wife. The storm overtook him in a boat crash. It took some days, until Shelley's friends found his corpse on the strand and burned him. Byron lighted the fire and wrote “Heart of Hearts” on his tombstone. Mary mourned him and wanted to give him immortality. So she wrote memories about him. Moreover, she kept his charred heart and wrapped it up in his Adonais. She also kept curls of her dead children and sank into sadness.
Byron went to the Greek War of Independence and suffered from the same fate as his daughter: he died of Malaria. His death throes was long, nevertheless, he kept his inclination to death and gloominess and he died with the words “What a beautiful scene”. His corpse was brought to London and many people reserved a carriage to pay him their last respects. But Byron was too scandalous, so nobody dared to mourn him openly and the reserved carriages followed empty behind his coffin. He stayed lonely and expelled.
Years later, Mary was diseased with a brain tumor and faded slowly away. She was not able to write or read and at last, she was only an empty cover.
The only one, who died of a natural death was Claire, she got very old and passed away.
 

Was übrig bleibt (What remains)

But the poets never died completely. They left the most famous bogeys in history: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the first written vampire story of Dr. Polidori.
 

März 1879 (March 1879)

And this is how everything ends in March 1879 by the death of the last witness: Claire Clairmont.
 
Overview  
 

 
  album cover: 1816