Luciano Berio: Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio Un re in ascolto
Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio: Un re in ascolto

Year of composition:
1979-1983
Subtitle:
Azione musicale in 2 parti
Composer:
Luciano Berio
Original language:
Italian
Translator:
Burkhart Kroeber (17.01.1984)
Librettist:
Italo Calvino
Writer of pre-existing text:
Wysan Hugh Auden; F. W. Gotter; William Shakespeare
Roles:
Prospero, bass-baritoneഀ Regisseur, tenorഀ Freitag, actorഀ Protagonist, sopranoഀ Soprano I and IIഀ Mezzo-sopranoഀ 3 Singers: tenor, baritone, bassഀ some small partsഀ ballet
Choir:
SATB
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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Audiosamples

Un re in ascolto
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

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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Special prints

Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio: Un re in ascolto

piano reduction
, 90’
Cast: 3 3 4 3 - 3 3 3 1 - perc(2), acc, pno(2 players), t.sax, keyb, str

Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio: Un re in ascolto

study score
, 90’
Cast: 3 3 4 3 - 3 3 3 1 - perc(2), acc, pno(2 players), t.sax, keyb, str

Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio: Un re in ascolto

study score
, 90’
Cast: 3 3 4 3 - 3 3 3 1 - perc(2), acc, pno(2 players), t.sax, keyb, str

Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio: Un re in ascolto

full score
, 90’
Cast: 3 3 4 3 - 3 3 3 1 - perc(2), acc, pno(2 players), t.sax, keyb, str

Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio: Un re in ascolto

study score
, 90’
Cast: 3 3 4 3 - 3 3 3 1 - perc(2), acc, pno(2 players), t.sax, keyb, str

Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio: Un re in ascolto

study score
, 90’
Cast: 3 3 4 3 - 3 3 3 1 - perc(2), acc, pno(2 players), t.sax, keyb, str

Un re in ascolto

Luciano Berio: Un re in ascolto

full score
, 90’
Cast: 3 3 4 3 - 3 3 3 1 - perc(2), acc, pno(2 players), t.sax, keyb, str

Première

Location:
Salzburg
Date:
07.08.1984
Orchestra:
Wiener Philharmoniker
Conductor:
Lorin Maazel

Press reviews

Whether or not Un Re in ascolto will travel in its present over-elaborate and extravagant form, it is an exuberant piece of music-theatre which defies the idea that the opera house is only a museum. (Edward Greenfield, The Guardian, 9 August 1984)

Unlike many other present-day composers, Berio has grasped that the theatre demands a certain boldness of gesture. His subtle and highly variegated orchestral writing testifies to a characteristically Italian gift for texture and colour, but this elaborate instrumental writing is never for a moment allowed to flounder in its own complexity. (Peter Heyworth, The Observer, 12 August 1984)

Is it permissible to enjoy an opera that defiantly does away with the narrative thread of a plot? I very much hope so, because I certainly did enjoy Luciano Berio’s Un Re in ascolto […] In the many large ensembles and choruses too, Berio’s fascinating score keeps the interest alive through a novel personal kind of harmonic atonality, and also through the effects of his inventive instrumentation. (Peter Stadlen, Daily Telegraph, 9 August 1984)

Other works by Luciano Berio

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