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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

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

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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