Beautiful Princess Available for Rescue: Synopsis

Act One

Scene 1: The opera opens inside the castle of Bullstrode, a battle-scarred warrior so hideous that many people view him as a monster. Alone, Bullstrode’s maid Polly complains about taking orders from Bullstrode’s ward Bronwen, whom Polly calls a “psycho witch.” Polly also detests having to constantly flatter hopelessly vain Princess Primrose, whom Bullstrode holds captive.

Bronwen enters, furious that a prince she turned into a pig has ruined her daisies. Polly mocks Bronwen’s inability to deal with men, and Bronwen responds by threatening to turn Polly into a sow. Entering, Bullstrode overhears this and berates Bronwen for frightening Polly. Left alone, Bronwen broods and imagines creating some hidden garden where she could shut out the world.

Returning, Bullstrode tells Bronwen he is losing patience and that she has to learn to control her temper. (Bronwen’s mother was the wife of Bullstrode’s friend, and Bullstrode took them both in when his friend was killed in battle.) After exchanging heated words, Bronwen storms out. Bullstrode reflects on Bronwen’s anger and his own sense of loss since Bronwen's mother died. Bullstrode is beginning to lose hope that Princess Primrose might somehow grow to love him, but he takes morbid pleasure in killing all the noblemen who come seeking to rescue her.

Scene 2: In a nearby kingdom in Queen Anne’s castle, Prince Edmund celebrates winning another sword fighting tournament. His younger brother Prince Wilbur lost again in an early round.

Wilbur reveals to Edmund and his mother that he has been distracted by dreams that a young woman is calling to him. His mother says it’s hormones, but Edmund insists it’s a sign. Edmund checks the personal ads and sees that a princess is available for rescue. Edmund talks Wilbur into trying to save her.

Queen Anne worries whether Wilbur can manage to come home safe, and she sends her counselor Jeffrey along to advise him.

Scene 3: Wilbur finally locates Princess Primrose, who assumes he has come to rescue her. When Wilbur asks about the ransom, she tells him there is no ransom. To her it is obvious that she is being held because she is “the fairest in the land, the one they fight the wars for.”

After Primrose exits, Jeffrey suggests that Primrose seems “high maintenance, and advises Wilbur to leave. Just then Polly enters and flirts suggestively with Wilbur. After she exits, getting Jeffrey to assist her carry a trunk, Wilbur wishes he had never come, realizing that he has no interest in rescuing this “airhead Princess.”

Bronwen enters and tries to persuade Wilbur to leave, telling him Bullstrode has killed dozens of would-be rescuers already. When Wilbur asks Bronwen about her magic, she confesses that when angry she casts magic spells she can’t undo.

When Primrose returns, she and Bronwen argue about whether Wilbur should stay or go. Finally Wilbur insists it is his knightly duty to try to rescue Primrose.

Scene 4: Primrose bores Wilbur by showing him poems and songs written about her. When Bronwen enters, Primrose huffily retires for the evening. Bronwen tells Wilbur she has decided to help him. Wilbur responds that relying on magic would mar his honor. Instead, Bronwen tries to help Wilbur improve his combat skills.

Awakened by the noise, Primrose enters, furious that they have interrupted her sleep. Bronwen and Primrose each accuse the other of being completely selfish.

As Primrose shows Wilbur to his room, Bronwen realizes that Wilbur has no chance in combat against Bullstrode. She debates whether to use her magic without Wilbur’s knowledge.

Act Two

Scene 1: Wilbur waits to meet Bullstrode in combat. While Bronwen and Wilbur worry about his fate, Primrose fantasizes about how awesome she will look in her wedding dress. After they exit, Polly complains about the stupidity of men, who will go into combat for honor, while ignoring a willing maiden.

Bullstrode finally returns, too late for combat. Meeting Wilbur, Bullstrode tells him that Primrose “is a poison that seeps in through men’s eyes and slowly strangles their souls.” Later Primrose tells Bullstrode that he will soon be dead because Bronwen is helping Wilbur, which Polly later confirmed when asked. Thinking that Bronwen will use magic against him, Bullstrode decides he must kill her.

Scene 2: As she prepares for bed, Bronwen is still debating whether to use her magic to help Wilbur. She falls asleep and Bullstrode enters, determined to kill her. She binds her hands, tells her he knows she is helping Wilbur, and attempts to kill her with his sword. Forced to defend herself, Bronwen calls on the spirits to help her, and her magic kills Bullstrode, which leaves her distraught and confused.

Scene 3: Wilbur has returned home, and the castle prepares for a visit from Primrose. Bronwen is also there, and she confesses to Queen Anne that she has lied. After she killed Bullstrode in self defense, she made it look like he died in his sleep. Now Bronwen is upset because Primrose still expects Wilbur to marry her.

Edmund overhears all of this and tells Wilbur that Bronwen killed Bullstrode and then lied about it. Thinking that Bronwen broke her promise about using magic, Wilbur confronts her. This conversation goes badly, and Wilbur now believes Bronwen has no feelings for him beyond friendship. Left alone, Bronwen realizes how much she loves Wilbur.

Primrose is about to arrive, expecting Wilbur to propose marriage. Wilbur has no interest in Primrose. Edmund finds this short-sighted, considering what he’s heard of Primrose's beauty and wealth. When Primrose arrives, he greets her with extravagant charm.

Wilbur enters, and his lack of interest in Primrose is obvious. Bronwen enters to say goodbye just before Polly arrives to announce that Bullstrode’s will bequeaths Bronwen his castle and treasures.

At first Bronwen has no interest in this inheritance. But Wilbur persuades her that it would allow her to create her dream garden and to travel as well. When she asks if he would travel with her, Princess Primrose erupts in rage, and there are some final twists before things sort themselves out.