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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
North American Works Directory Listing
Lord Byron
Virgil Thomson
Virgil Thomson (November 25, 1896 – September 30, 1989) was an American composer and music critic. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri and was a prodigious child, later studying the piano work of Erik Satie at Harvard. After studying for a year in Paris on a fellowship he returned to the city from 1925 – 1940 where he became friends with many prominent figures including James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, e.e. cummings, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso, Orson Welles, and others. He studied with Nadia Boulanger. After publishing his book The State of Music he lived in New York working as a critic and composer for theatre and film. He became a mentor to a new generation of tonal composers including Ned Rorem, Paul Bowles, and Leonard Bernstein though pointedly ignored female composers. He received many awards during his life and was known as a modernist and neoclassical composer.
Jack Larson
John Houseman, Director; Gerhard Samuel, Conductor; Alvin Ailey, Coreographer
Original cast: Lord Byron, Grayson Hirst; Thomas Moore, Lenus Carlson; John Hobhouse, Walter Hook; John Murray, Frederick Schoepflin; Count Gamba, Frederick Burchinall; John Ireland, David Wilder; Augusta Leigh, Carolyn Val-Schmidt; Lady Byron, Lynne Wickenden; Countess Guiccioli, Hari Katz; Lady Melbourne, Barrie Smith
April 20, 1972
Juilliard Theater, Lincoln Center
Set in London in 1824, the work begins with Dean Ireland's refusal to allow Byron a burial in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. Using the poet's denied burial as a framework for the piece, the work deals with significant episodes in Byron's life and introduces the three women who played pivotal roles in it: his wife, Annabella; his half-sister, Augusta Leigh; and his mistress, Countess Teresa Guiccioli. The opera is partly a series of flashbacks about Byron's scandalous sex life and partly about his friends' decision to burn the memoirs he sent to Thomas Moore.
The Wall Street Journal, Mark Swed, 9-18-91; The New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 2-24-86; The New York Times, John Rockwell, 12-9-85; The New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 1-17-77; The New York Times, Harold C. Schonberg, 4-22-72; The New York Times, Allen Hughes, 4-16-72; The New York Times, John Gruen, 4-9-72; The New York Times, Donal Henahan, 3-21-71; The New York Times, Allen Hughes, 11-28-65 (interview)
Not Available
SATB chorus; male madrigal group of 6; boy's chorus
2 fl(picc), 2 ob(Eng horn), 2 cl(bcl), 2 bsn - 4 hrn, 3 tpt, 2 tbn, tba - timp, perc, hp, org (off stage) - str
Tonal; lyrical; masterfully-written concerted music, duets, and trios; clear, spare orchestration of unmixed colors with an interplay of verbal and musical rhythms that is both intricate and subtle; minimalist use of small, well-crafted melodic cells that have elements of American folk music; simple melodic style; the use of pastiche; some citing of popular tunes such as Auld Lang Syne and Ach du lieber Augustine.
Peermusic Classical
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Fall 2014 Magazine Issue
  • Are Women Different?
  • Preparing for Klinghoffer
  • Emerging Artists: Act One

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