Universal Edition - Luciano Berio – Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio


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Luciano Berio
Un re in ascolto

Work Details

Year of composition: 1979-1983
Subtitle: Azione musicale in 2 parti
Composer: Luciano Berio
Librettist: Italo Calvino
Original Language: Italienisch
Translator: Burkhart Kroeber
Parts: Prospero, bass-baritone
Regisseur, tenor
Freitag, actor
Protagonist, soprano
Soprano I and II
3 Singers: tenor, baritone, bass
some small parts
Choir: SATB
Soloinstruments/Soloists: soprano; mezzo-soprano; tenor; Bassbariton
Instrumentation: 3 3 4 3 - 3 3 3 1 - perc(2), acc, pno(2 players), t.sax, keyb, str
Instrumentation details: 1st flute; 2nd flute; 3rd flute (+picc); 1st oboe; 2nd oboe; cor anglais; clarinet in Eb; 1st clarinet in Bb; 2nd clarinet in Bb; bass clarinet in Bb (+3rdcl(Bb)); tenor saxophone in Bb; 1st bassoon; 2nd bassoon; contrabassoon; 1st horn in F; 2nd horn in F; 3rd horn in F; 1st trumpet in C; 2nd trumpet in C; 3rd trumpet in C; 1st trombone; 2nd trombone; 3rd trombone; bass tuba; percussion(2); accordion; piano on stage (2 players); keyboard/celesta (1 player); violin I; violin II; viola; violoncello; contrabass
Scenery: 1
Duration: 90′
Dedication: A Margherita Kalmus
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Audio Excerpt

Un re in ascolto

World Première

Location: Salzburg / Austria
Date: 07.08.1984
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Conductor: Lorin Maazel
Scenery: Götz Friedrich
Main Soloists: Theo Adam, Heinz Zednik, Helmut Lohner, Patricia Wise, Karan Armstrong, Sylvia Greenberg, Rohangiz Yachmi, Samy Molcho, Thomas Moser, Alfred Muff, Georg Tichy, Wildhaber, Gonda, Ionescu, Sima

Work Introduction

Un re in ascolto is not an opera; it is a phase in Berio’s long farewell to the genre. He describes it in a talk with himself as follows: “The story depicts the experiences of a king who attentively learned of the calamity building up all around him and who powerlessly witnessed the progressive disintegration of his kingdom and his might.”

The king bears the name Prospero; he is distantly related to the hero of Shakespeare’s last tragedy The Tempest. The music seems to be constantly at an emotional peak, the characters singing and crying out their desperation and loneliness into the world. Only at the end does the music become calmer, resigned and bereft of illusions.

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