El Mayor Encanto, Amor

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El Mayor Encanto, Amor ("Love the Greatest Enchantment") is a festival play by Calderón (Pedro Calderón de la Barca, 1600-1681)[1]

The original text

First performed for the Spanish King on St John's Night (Missummer Nighets Eve) 1835 and published in Madrid by María de Quiñónez, 1637.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Dutch as De Toveres Circe by A. Leeuw (Adriaen Bastiaensz de Leeuw), published by Erven Jacob Lescailje, Amsterdam 1690.

It was the source for the libretto of Ulysses und Circe , a three-act German "singspiele" by Berhardt Romberg, performed and published in Berlin, 1807.

Translated into verse as Love the Greatest Enchantment by Denis Florence MacCarthy (1817-1882)[2] in 1861.

Performance history in South Africa

1809: Performed in Cape Town as a ballet in two acts, apparently announced as Ulysses op het Eiland van Circé, by a company of young people from the colony, probably adapted by their teacher. The presentation, on 23 October, accompanied by the three act tragedy Le Comte de Comminge, ou Les Amans Malheureux (D'Arnaud), was done as a benefit for local Widow in straitened circumstances.

1809: Repeated by the same company, but now expanded to a ballet in three acts, though still with the title Ulysses op het Eiland van Circé, as another benefit for the same Widow. Most probably with the same accompanying play.


Kristiaan Aercke. 1994. Gods of Play: Baroque Festive Performances as Rhetorical Discourse. SUNY Press: pp. 139-158.[3]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy.[4]: pp. 127

"Calderon" in Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Calder%C3%B3n_de_la_Barca

Facsimile copy of A. Leeuw. 1690. De Toveres Circe. De Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren (DBNL)[5]

Facsimile copy of Arien und Gesänge aus dem Singspiele: Ulysses und Circe by Bernhard Romberg. Libretto Portal[6]

Mary Parker. 1998. Spanish Dramatists of the Golden Age: A Bio-bibliographical Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group: pp. 41-2.[7]

Judith Yarnall. 1994. Transformations of Circe: The History of an Enchantress. University of Illinois Press: pp. 158ff.[8]


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