Nielsen’s opera Maskarade is based on the 1724 comedy by Ludvig Holberg. Known as the Danish national opera, the light-hearted comedy centers on the titular masked ball, where rigid societal constraints are abandoned for the Enlightenment ideals of liberty and equality. The story revolves around Leander and Leonora, two young lovers who meet fortuitously and exchange rings. When Leander tells his valet of his newfound love, complications arise due to arranged marriages and meddling fathers. Though revelry at the night’s masquerade has been forbidden, naturally all slink off to enjoy dancing and delights. In the end, all is revealed to everyone’s mutual satisfaction. The final scene of the opera shows a bittersweet recognition of human mortality, and the importance of finding happiness to brighten it. As the servant Henrik (a forebear of Beaumarchais’ Figaro) notes, the masquerade offers a sense of joie de vivre in a land where life is often cold and gloomy.