Opera in four acts
Libretto by V. Etienne (Jouy) and I. Bis
Arnold, the son of Melchtal
Gesler, governor of the Kaiser in Switzerland
Rudolf Garras, the leader of the soldiers of Gesler
Matilda, Hapsburg Princess
Hedwiga, Tell’s wife
Jemmy, the son of Tell
The peasants from the cantons Schwyz, Unterwalden, Uri; gentlemen and ladies, pages, heralds, soldiers and guards of Hesler, hunters, arrows; Tyrolese.
The action takes place in Switzerland.
Time: the beginning of the XIV century.
According to an old custom, the Swiss are preparing for the spring holiday, during which the entry into the marriage union is consecrated. Among the jubilant people stand out the figure of the famous arrow of Tell. He is engulfed by thoughts about his homeland, which has been enslaved by foreign conquerors for a hundred years. Old revered by all Melchtal blesses the gathered young people. Only his son, Arnold, is left out. Passionate love
Left alone in the woods after hunting, Matilda is waiting for a meeting with Arnold, who awakened in her a feeling of tender love. Appears Arnold. In deep excitement he hears words of confession from the lips of his beloved. Matilda persuades him to leave his homeland to become famous for his military exploits. At dawn in the chapel, she promises to bring a secret vow of fidelity. The conversation of lovers interrupts the appearance of Tell and Walter Furst. Both Swiss remind Arnold of his duty to his homeland. In the beginning, the love for Matilde shakes Arnold’s resolve. Only when he learns about the tragic death of his father killed by foreigners, he thirsts for revenge.
Under the cover of night darkness, the Swiss gather to bring an oath of allegiance to freedom. They are ready to start an insurrection as soon as the signal fire flares up.
In the chapel, Matilda and Arnold meet. But they are not meant to be together. Arnold must avenge his father’s death. Outside there is a noise. This is awakening the military camp of Gesler; the day begins. People and soldiers gather at the fairground in Altdorf. This day marks the centenary of the conquest of the conquerors, and Gesler ordered him to celebrate it as a holiday. On the pole is raised the governor’s hat. Everyone, under pain of death, must bow down before her. Only one Tell refuses to comply with the verdict of the governor; no threats can make him humble himself in front of a tyrant. Telliu and his son Jemmi are in mortal danger. To increase the suffering of his father, Gesler tells Telly to shoot an apple on his son’s head. If he gets – the son is free, if not – both must perish. The confidence and calmness of the little Jemmi give Telly a new courage. A fine shot he pierces an apple. The people glorify the hero. But from the extreme strain of physical and mental strength, Tell loses consciousness and falls. At this moment, Gesler notices his second hidden arrow. Tell does not hide that it was intended for Gesler, if the first shot was killed by Jemmy. The enraged governor orders that the father and son be imprisoned in prison for the rest of their days. Matilda intercedes for the boy and takes him from the soldiers. The people curses the cruelty and injustice of the tyrant. if Jammy had been killed by the first shot. The enraged governor orders that the father and son be imprisoned in prison for the rest of their days. Matilda intercedes for the boy and takes him from the soldiers. The people curses the cruelty and injustice of the tyrant. if Jammy had been killed by the first shot. The enraged governor orders that the father and son be imprisoned in prison for the rest of their days. Matilda intercedes for the boy and takes him from the soldiers. The people curses the cruelty and injustice of the tyrant.
Arnold recalls his childhood and his murdered father in the hut of Melchtal. He decides at any cost to release the languishing in the dungeon of Tell. Arnold calls the Swiss come up with arms in hand to rise to the fight. On the rocky shore of the lake appears Jemmy, accompanied by Matilda. She returns her son to inconsolable Hedwig, who did not want to see him alive. The love of Arnold led Matilda to the side of the oppressed; she voluntarily remains among them as a hostage to save the life of Tell. Matilda reports that Gesler is carrying Tell on the lake to the fortress-prison, cut off from the land by water. To give a signal to the beginning of the uprising, Jemmi sets fire to the roof of his own house. The armed Swiss run to the shore. A storm is raging on the lake. The boat in which Tell is taken carries to rocks and to him, as an experienced pilot, the steering oar is passed. When the boat approaches the rock, The prisoner boldly reaches the shore before his guard. Gesler with the soldiers is trying to pursue Tell, but it’s too late. Jasmie comes to the rescue, hands over his father’s weapon, and Hesler overtakes the deadly arrow of Tell. The rebels everywhere crowd the enemy soldiers. Arnold brings news of the fall of the fortress Altdorf. The people glorify the onset of the long-awaited hour of freedom.