Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1867−1942)

Ran. En dramatisk dikt (i tre akter) [Rán. A dramatic poem (in three acts)]

  • Year of composition: 1899-1900 (according to Henrik Karlsson's list of compositions by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger [2004])
  • Work category: Opera
  • Text author: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger
  • Dedication: To Fredrik Vult von Steijern (according to the libretto)
  • First performed: 20 May 1903 at the Royal Opera (cond. Richard Henneberg, director: the composer) Liva Edström (née Järnefelt) (Rikissa), Anna Hellström (née Thulin, married Oscár) (Ingrid), Arvid Ödmann (Waldemar), Åke Wallgren (Ulf Tufveson), Matilda Jungstedt (Rán), Axel Sellergren (Sten Folkeson), Carl August Söderman (Mårten Prest), Fredrik Ericson (Bengt), Sofie Lindegrén (A lady-in-the-waiting), Bror Arrhenius (A servant) et. al (according to Henrik Karlsson's list of works, 2004)
  • Duration: Approx. 120-180 min


3*.3*.3*.3* / / timp (2 par), perc, 2 hp / str:
(picc, cor angl, bass clar, dbn)
perc: glockenspiel, triangle, large drum, tam-tam, symbal, tamburine
Note in the autograph: 'Instrumentiation, intended for the Stockholm Opera.'

Solo voices/choir

Sten Folkesson, master of Solö (bass)
Rikissa, his housewife (soprano)
Ingrid, their daughter (soprano)
Waldemar, Ingrid's fiance, knight (tenor)
Ulf Tuvesson, knight (baritone)
Mårten Prest [sic] (baritone)
Bengt, Waldemars squire (baritone)
Rán (alto)

Wedding guests (mixed choir)
Swordsmen and people at Solö (male choir)
Ran's bridesmaids (female choir, sopranos)
Invisible choir (female choir, sopranos)

Solo voices: 2 sopranos (Rikissa, Ingrid), 1 alto (Ran), 1 tenor (Waldemar), 3 baritones (Ulf, Mårten, Bengt), 1 bass (Sten)
Choir: Female choir (S.S.S.), Male choir (T.T.B.B.), Mixed choir (S.S.A.A.T.T.B.B.)

Examples of printed editions

• Ran. Förkortadt klavérutdrag (Scener och motiv ur Ran. Handling i 3 akter för soli, chör och orchester. Piano solo) [Ran. Abbreviated piano reduction (Scenes and motifs from Ran. The plot is divided into three acts for soli, choir and orchestra. Piano solo.]
• Abraham Lundquists Kungl. Hof-Musikhandel, Georg Abrahamson Lundquists Förlag. Abr. L. 3641

  • Location autograph: Musik- och teaterbiblioteket
  • Possible call no. and autograph comment: Z/Sv (piano vocal score with orchestral instrumentation etc.)


• Abraham Lundquists Förlag, Stockholm, has published the libretto (printed by Iduns Kungl. Hofboktryckeri, Stockholm, 1898)
Karlsson, Henrik: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Verkförteckning [List of works] (2004) [available at the Musik- och teaterbiblioteket]

Description of work

Overture: Heavy. Tranquil, not too slow, alternating keys 4/4 (C)

Act I

Scene 1 (a): Summer morning, at dawn. Rán’s maids.
Scene 1 (b): Rán emerges from the deep. Waldemar’s voice can be heard at a distance. Rán, Rán’s maidens, Waldemar

Scene 2: Sunrise. Waldemar and Bengt come riding. Waldemar goes to the shore, pushes out the boat and enters. He looks down into the deep. Rán’s maidens sing, his voice sounds from the deep. Waldemar, Bengt, Rán’s maidens, Rán

Scene 3: Rán and his Maidens appear. Waldemar throws himself into the arms of Rán. They all slowly slide down into the deep. Rán, Waldemar, Rán’s maidens

Scene 4: A horn signal is heard from the island of Solö. The signal is heard once more, now closer than before. Bengt with foot soldiers and estate workers arrive with urgency from Solö. Horn signal is heard at a distance. Guests, Bengt, Foot soldiers, Estate workers, A woman

Scene 5: Ulf Tuvesson alone, pensive. Ulf

Scene 6: Wedding guests from Solö, knights and ladies in pairs. Lord Ulf joins them. Ulf, A lady, A knight, Another knight, A third knight, One of the younger ladies, Several ladies

Scene 7: Ingrid at Lord Sten’s arm, after whom Lady Rikissa and Mårten Prest [Priest] arrive from Solö, followed by a large number of guests and estate workers. Bells can be heard at a distance. Ingrid suddenly stops, even more conscious about her unhappiness, and continues out. All follow her, except Lord Ulf. Ingrid, Sten, Rikissa, Mårten, Ulf, Guests, Estate workers, Foot soldiers
[According to an annotation in the autograph, the bell-ringing should continue during the rest of this act]

Scene 8: The Guests can are heard at a distance. Lord Ulf walks in the direction of Solö while the curtain closes at the last chord. Guests, Ulf

Act II
A year later

Prelude: Slow E-flat major alla breve

The curtain opens.

First image

Scene 1: At Solö. Ingrid, dressed in black, is sitting sewing at the window. She looks out of the window, rises violently, and then sits down again, hiding the face in her hands. Ingrid

Scene 2: Lady Rikissa slowly enters. Ingrid, Rikissa

Scene 3: Lord Sten enters without Ingrid noticing. An esquire enters, announcing the arrival of Ulf Tuvesson with entourage. Ingrid, Rikissa, Sten, An esquire

Scene 4: The esquire leaves, as does Lord Sven. Ingrid, Rikissa, Sten, An esquire

Scene 5: The door is opened by esquires. Ulf Tuvesson enters, takes Ingrid’s hand, lets her know that one day, she will be queen, and puts a ring on her hand. Medan Ingrid ännu står halft försjunken i sin syn, sätter Herr Ulf, utan att hon gör motstånd, ringen på hennes hand, som han därpå höfviskt kysser. Lady Rikissa embraces Ingrid. The curtain quickly closes. Ingrid, Rikissa, Ulf, Sten, Knights (Esquires)

(Change of scene)

The curtain opens again.

Second image

Scene 1: At Rán’s. Rán and Waldemar are sitting together under a baldachin, watching the Maidens dancing. Rán gives them a sign that they should stop. Rán, Waldemar, Rán’s maidens

Scene 2: Waldemar drinks the wine Rán has offered him. – Paus.
Rán kisses Waldemar on the lips. A maiden offers him another beverage. [According to an annotation in the autograph, the Maidens resume dancing] On receiving the cup, Waldemar suddenly notices a gold ring on her hand and snatches it, recognising it as the one he had given Ingrid. Two maidens escort Waldemar, who is devastated, out and up a staircase. The bell-ringing is heard again. On the throne, Rán looks at Waldemar, secretively smiling at him. Rán, Waldemar, A Maiden, The other Maidens

The curtain closes

[According to an annotation in the autograph regarding the time signature, the 7/4 should be understood as a contraction of two bars in 4/4 (C) where the last crotchet of the first bar slides into and merges with the first crotchet of the second bar]

Ingrid and Ulf Tuvesson’s wedding

Prelude: Lively and festive C major 3/4

The curtain opens.

Scene 1: The knights’ hall on Solö. Ingrid is pale and motionless. Fanfares accompany the toast to the bride and groom. Ingrid, Ulf, Sten, Rikissa, Mårten, Esquires, Bridesmaids, Bridal esquires

Scene 2: Lord Ulf thanks the bridal entourage. Lady Rikissa thanks the Priest. All enter the hall. Ingrid, Ulf, Sten, Rikissa, Mårten, Esquires, Bridesmaids, Bridal esquires

Scene 3: The younger set up a dance game, in which also Ingrid and Lord Ulf participate. Ingrid, Ulf, Sten, Rikissa, Esquires, Bridesmaids, Bridal esquires

Scene 4: A scream is heard among the guests and the dance stops. A door opens and Waldemar, pale, enters. He approaches Ingrid, who has detached herself from Lord Ulf. Lady Rikissa and some other women escort Ingrid out. Desperate, Waldemar draws his sword and attacks Lord Ulf, who also draws his sword. Duel. [An annotation in the autograph indicates ’one stab a crotchet’] Lord Ulf is wounded. The men storm against Waldemar. The women flee. The men also leave the hall. Waldemar looks at the fleeing men and women. Waldemar, Ulf, Rikissa, Ingrid, Sten, Women, Men

Scene 5: Waldemar slumps down on a bench, moaning. He then screams. He bends down, hiding his head in his hands, shakes. Waldemar

Scene 6: Ingrid slowly enters. Waldemar throws himself on his knees. Ingrid kisses his forehead. Waldemar wants to rush out to rejoin Rán’s world in order to save her from Rán’s revenge. Ingrid stops him. Waldemar takes her in his arms. Ingrid, Waldemar

Scene 7: Rán’s voice is heard from the sea. Ingrid tears off Ulf Tuvesson’s ring and throws it into the sea, then puts Waldemar’s ring on her finger and triumphantly holds it towards the sea. Rán appears, stretches herself towards Waldemar. In unison, Waldemar and Ingrid burst out in jubilant rapture. Rán disappears with a scream. Waldemar and Ingrid kiss and follow her into the sea. Ingrid, Waldemar, Rán

Final scene: On the sea floor. Waldemar and Ingrid are dead. An invisible Choir is heard from above. Waldemar, Ingrid, Choir

The curtain slowly closes.

The end.