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Sir Harrison Birtwistle: The Mask of Orpheus

  • Opera in 3 acts (1973-1984)
  • 4 4 4 4 - 4 4 6 2 - perc(7), hp(3), sop.sax(3), e.guit, bass guit, e.mand, tape
  • Duration: 210’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1. fl (+picc), 2. fl (+picc, Afl), 3. fl (+picc, Afl), 4. fl (+Afl, bass fl), 1. ob (+ob.d'a), 2. ob (+c.a), 3. ob (+c.a), bassoboe (+c.a), 1. Kl (+cl(Eb)), 2. Kl (+cl(Eb), bass cl), 3. Kl (+bass cl), bass cl (, 1. bs, 2. bs (+cbsn), 3. bs (+cbsn), cbsn, 3 soprano sax, 4 hr, 4 tpt, 6 tbn, 2 tuba, perc (7), 3 hp, e-guit, bass guit, e-mand, tape
  • Choir: SATB (16-stimmig)
  • Roles: Orpheus - The Man, 1st tenor Orpheus - Hero, mime Orpheus - The Myth, Hades, 2nd tenor Euridice - The Woman, 1st lyric mezzo-soprano Euridice - The Heroine, mime Euridice - The Myth, Persephone, 2nd lyric mezzo-soprano Aristaeus - The Man, 1st high baritone Aristaeus - The Hero, mime Aristaeus - The Myth / Charon, 2nd high baritone The Oracle of the dead / Hecate, high soprano The Caller, bass-baritone 1. Priest, heroic tenor 2. Priest, baritone 3. Priest, low bass 1. Woman, soprano 2. Woman, mezzo-soprano 3. Woman, alto The troupe of the passing clouds, mimes Apollo, tape
  • Composer: Sir Harrison Birtwistle
  • Librettist: Peter Zinovieff
  • Dedication: for Kay Wadey
  • Commission: Commissioned by English National Opera with the help of funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain and the RVW Trust

Sample pages

World première

Coliseum, London (GB)
Elgar Howarth
Main soloists:
Philip Langridge, Nigel Robson, Jean Rigby, Ethna Robinson, Tom McDonnell, Rodney Macann, Marie Angel, Richard Angas

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