Colonel Jonathan the Saint
Composer: Dominick Argento
Librettist: John Olon-Scrymgeour
Other Artistic Personnel: John Olon-Scrymgeour (Director)
Norman Johnson (Conductor)
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: December 31, 1971
Producing Company: Denver Lyric Opera
Description: During the American Civil War, Lyonesse, a house in Maryland, was partially burned during a Union raid. After the war, Allegra Harper and her niece Daisy are trying to convert the house into a hotel. Helping them is Colonel Jonathan Gilourin, the leader of the soldiers who set fire to the house during the war. Daisy’s sister Sabrina, the owner of Lyonesse, arrives after searching for three years for news about the death of her Confederate husband. Jonathan looks amazingly like Sabrina’s husband, although Sabrina doesn’t notice. He expresses interest in Sabrina romantically, but she rejects him. Jonathan enlists Daisy’s help, and asks her to describe Sabrina’s husband more fully. Reluctantly, she shares a letter from Sabrina that describes her husband’s last words and farewell. Jonathan utters the words Sabrina’s husband said to her upon his departure. As if in a fantasy state, Sabrina embraces Jonathan. Jonathan and Sabrina marry, but the Colonel is tormented by Sabrina’s inability to let go of her husband’s memory. Alone at night, Sabrina begins to extinguish the lamps in the house. The lights mysteriously come up to reveal her dead husband calling to her. They embrace and pledge everlasting love.
Character List (Major): HENRY, a negro servant (bar)
CLEOPATRA, a negro servant (s)
ALLEGRA HARPER, aged 60 (lyr-s)
DAISY, Allegra's niece, aged 18 (s)
COLONEL JONATHAN GILOURIN of the Union Army, a guest (t)
MARY CHAIRS, aunt to Cleopatra, aged 80 (s)
Sabrina, widow of a Confederate soldier; Daisy's sister (dram-s)
CAPTAIN MULLIKIN, skipper of the packet steamer Bay Belle (b-bar)
The Confederate Soldier (t)
Length: 02:15
Total Acts: 4
Chorus: 1st Lady (s)
2nd Lady (s)
3rd Lady (contralto)
Plain Girl (s)
Pretty Girl (contralto)
A Servant (bar)
The Confederate Soldier (t)
Orchestration: 2 fl(II=picc), 2 ob(II=corA), 2 cl(II=bcl), 2 bsn - 3 hrn, 2 tpt, 1 tbn, - timp.perc:tgl/cyms/ susp.cyms/t.bells/glsp/SD/BD/tamb-cel - harp - pft - strings
Musical Style: A comedy of Reconstruction in four acts and an interlude of waltzes, comic, dramatic, romantic; subjects - magic/mystery, relationships, society
Contact: Boosey & Hawkes
Address: 229 W 28th Street, Floor 11
New York, NY 10001
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-358-5300
Publisher Web Site:
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

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