Composers and their stage works 

The Pretenders


Henrik Ibsen - 1864.

Prose historical drama in five acts that deals with the struggle between Haakon Haakonsson and Earl Skule, rival pretenders to the disputed throne of Norway in the early thirteenth century.

When the supremely confident Haakon, under whose hand all things prosper, is declared King despite Earl Skule's claim, he marries Margrete, the Earl's daughter, as a conciliatory gesture. For a short time the country is at peace. However, informed by the shrewd political manipulator Bishop Nicholas that the legitimacy of Haakon's right to the throne is doubtful, Skule pro-claims himself King, precipitating a new civil war. Al-though he is at first successful, Skule's vacillation and self-doubt bring about his downfall, and he learns too late that he has a son to succeed him. His supporters are decimated by Haakon's forces, and Skule and his son Peter give themselves up to a rebellious mob and die in quiet resignation.