Opera in one act by Gustav Holst
Ask most people if they've heard of Gustav Holst, and if they answer "Yes", ask what he wrote. Almost without exception they will have heard of the "Planets" Suite and little else. I was the same regarding J.D. Salinger - all I'd ever heard of was Catcher in the Rye.
It's a shame, because Holst was no fool - as a music teacher and composer, he produced a wide variety of work. The lesser-known works are often superb, as is this parodic opera. Light in tone, it takes a gentle swipe at Wagner's opera Parsifal. Despite the slight dig, the Fool of the title is not Wagner, but the antihero, married off by his mother to a princess. His folly is in failing to take advantage of the situation he finds himself in, to his mother's chagrin.
In spite of the composer's libretto, the piece is best known for its ballet music - the opera itself never achieved much acclaim or success. Few performances have been given since its first at Covent Garden in 1923, and it is usually heard as a companion to recordings of the better-known Planets Suite.
Alas, poor Holst is seemingly condemned by many as a "one-hit wonder", like so many bands, and poor Mr Salinger.