Scherz, List und Rache(Jest, Cunning and Revenge) (1858)
Libretto by J.W.v.Goethe (shortened version by Ludwig Bischoff) (G)
S, T, Bar;
Piano (overture four hands, opera two hands)
Anton J. Benjamin / Simrock
Company: performers unknown
France, 17th century
Scapin and Scapine, whom a tricky, greedy doctor has cheated out of an inheritance, hatch a plot in order to wrest their money back from the doctor. Scapine, allegedly suffering from melancholy and madness, urges the doctor to help her, who soon sets about producing a curative elixir. While the old quack is creating his mixture, his servant – who is none other than Scapine, disguised as a cripple – sounds the fire alarm. Quickly Scapine swaps the mixture with arsenic and, on the doctor's return, pretends to be dying from poisoning. The doctor, not a little confused, gives Scapin 50 ducats to get the corpse away. Still worse, Scapine appears as if wakened from the dead to the doctor at night and extorts another 50 ducats from him. "Thus cheating fails,/ if cunning with cunning,/ daring with prudence competes."