La Dame Blancheby Eugene Scribe
Genre: Comedy, Operetta, Romance
Format of Original Source:
Recommended Adaptation Length: Two Hours
Candidate for Adaptation? Promising
The story of this favorite opera, adapted from Walter Scott’s novels “The Monastery” and “Guy Mannering,” runs as follows. The Laird of Avenel, a Stuart partisan, upon the eve of going into exile after the battle of Culloden, entrusts his estate and a considerable treasure concealed in a statue, called “the White Lady,” to Gaveston, his steward. The traditions affirmed that the White Lady was the protectress of the Avenels, and the villagers declared they had seen her in the neighborhood. Gaveston, however, who puts no faith in the legend, announces the sale of the castle, hoping that the superstition may keep others from bidding and that he may get it for a low price. The steward decides to sell, because he has heard the Laird is dead and knows there is no heir.
A woman fobs herself off as local legend “the White Lady.” Not quite a ghost story, because the White Lady legend isn’t a spooky one, but rather one of benevolence…but you could tweak the legend to be spookier, if that’s your bent. Or you might get a comic twist on this structure. The story itself is a little creaky and very old-fashioned, but sturdy enough, and you might wrench something interesting out of it if you find the right angle to the legend, and the reason for the woman to taken on the initial pretense.
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