As we prepare to begin composition of the 3rd Act (in about 2 weeks) it’s becoming time to address the one character in the entire Opera who is in all 4 Acts, present in all 4 generations the show encompasses. Jasper. Who, ironically, died before the opera even begins.
At the moment i’m leaning towards 3 of the 4 generations being in love with him (Annabel, Byron and Priscilla). In any case, who is he?
Jasper comes from a family with a very respected name who was once extremely well off, but who has, within the past few generations, watched their fortune ebb away. The family name is still worth something, but there is not much behind it anymore.
Because of this, Jasper has been raised with a great deal of pressure to rescue the family name and fortune and restore the once proud line to the status they deserve. Unfortunately, Jasper really doesn’t care about all of this. He is quite content to settle down on the family’s country estate far outside of New Camden and pursue his passion for horticulture. He is interested in creating small scale food forests on limited land which can produce massive amounts and varieties of food which a family or individual can live off of indefinitely.
This is all well and good, but his family still wants their fortune back, while he argues that he can feed them and future generations and money need not be so great of an issue. These discussions never go well, and despite his convictions, he has been raised from birth to shoulder the family expectations, and so cannot just walk away. His mother uses a potent blend of guilt and pity which Jasper, although aware of and despises, is unable to emotionally resist.
His marriage was carefully arranged while he was still in his early teens, something that he resents. He met Annabell shortly before the wedding and was quite taken with her, although he only saw her one night. He forgot her soon afterwards.
The marriage is an unhappy one. He sees his wife as vain and shallow. She is actually quite industrious and focused, however she too is from a family with good name but waining fortune and has fully bought into the need to make as much money as possible over the course of her life in order to restore the two families’ greatness. She has less than no interest in Jasper’s interests and is disgusted with him for his reluctuance to go out and make his fortune.
He finds himself able to spend less and less time on his life’s passion, and is pushed into being a stockbroker. Interestingly enough, he has a sharp mind for it, the same logic that makes him a brilliant horticulturalist also makes him capable for being a successful stockbroker, but instead, he is complete failure at it. This is because he subconsciously sabotages himself. His resentment for his mother and wife comes out in his deliberate attempts to fail at the money making business.
The only good aspect of his otherwise miserable life is the birth of his daughter, Fay, who he loves deeply. Alas, while she is still a young child he is involved in the accident that kills him.
He is naturally somewhat surprised and not particularly pleased when he finds himself brought back from the dead by Annabel, and far less so when he is brought back later by Edgar, but the notion of seeing his daughter again calms him somewhat. Thus he remains trapped once again in the mortal coil.