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"El Retablo De Maese Pedro", is based on an incident from "Don Quixote" in which the Knight of the Woeful Countenence happens upon a puppet show in a small village. He and Sancho Panza are drawn into the little play of noble cavaliers, damsels in distress, and nasty Moorish kidnappers. The real people who present the puppet show and make up it's audience are represented by enormous puppets, while smaller puppets enact the little show.

The setting is the courtyard of an inn. Master Peter, the puppeteer, announces the performance of "The Tale of Milisendra", a story about the daughter of Charlemagne who has been abducted by the Moors and taken to Saragossa. Don Quixote, like so many theatregoers today, can't distance himself from the violence onstage. Objecting as he would to real violence, he leaps in to help a young puppet couple fight off a pack of villains. The show ends in pandemonium, with Don Quixote invoking the name of his beloved Dulcinea and poor Master Peter bemoaning the beheading of his favorite puppet. A delightful introduction to opera for all ages!

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