Composers and their stage works 


Henrik Ibsen (1886).

Drama in four acts set in a great country estate in Norway.

When Rector Kroll, brother of Johannes Rosmer's late wife Beata, seeks to enlist Johannes's aid in opposing the newly insurgent Liberal faction in their town, he is appalled to learn that the aristocratic Rosmer has himself embraced liberal principles and has even left the church, resigning his position as clergyman. Furious, Kroll accuses the master of Rosmersholm of illicit relations with the housekeeper Rebecca West, a close friend of Beata and a supporter of Rosmer in his new philosophy. He intimates that his feelings for Rebecca drove Beata to suicide. Soon the focus of a scandal, Rosmer begins to think that he did in-deed cause his wife's death and shortly loses all confidence in himself and his goals. To erase his debilitating guilt, Rebecca confesses that it was she who was responsible for his wife's suicide. Beata had opposed Rebecca's ambitious efforts to convert Rosmer to liberal views. Rebecca then lied to Beata about being pregnant with Rosmer's child. It was this that drove Beata to suicide.

After confessing the truth to Rosmer, Rebecca says she has come to love him, no longer erotically, but spiritually, for his high aspirations have transformed her into a nobler person. To prove this love, she consents to die in the same manner as Beata. Rosmer's sense of guilt is stronger than his will to live. He joins Rebecca in a suicide pact, and together they plunge into the same mill-pond that claimed Beata.