Antony and Cleopatra
Composer: Samuel Barber
Composer Bio: Samuel Barber's music, masterfully crafted and built on romantic structures and sensibilities, is at once lyrical, rhythmically complex, and harmonically rich. Born 9 March 1910 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Barber wrote his first piece at age 7 and attempted his first opera at age 10. At the age of 14 he entered the Curtis Institute, where he studied voice, piano, and composition. Later, he studied conducting with Fritz Reiner.

At Curtis, Barber met Gian Carlo Menotti with whom he would form a lifelong personal and professional relationship. Menotti supplied libretti for Barber's operas Vanessa (for which Barber won the Pulitzer) and A Hand of Bridge. Barber's music was championed by a remarkable range of renowned artists, musicians, and conductors including Vladimir Horowitz, John Browning, Martha Graham, Arturo Toscanini, Dmitri Mitropoulos, Jennie Tourel, and Eleanor Steber. His Antony and Cleopatra was commissioned to open the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in 1966.

Barber was the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including the American Prix de Rome, two Pulitzers, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His intensely lyrical Adagio for Strings has become one of the most recognizable and beloved compositions, both in concerts and films ("Platoon," "The Elephant Man," "El Norte," "Lorenzo's Oil").
Librettist: Franco Zeffirelli
Other Artistic Personnel: Thomas Schippers (Conductor)
Franco Zeffirelli (Director/Set Designer)
Alvin Ailey (Choreographer)
Original Cast: Leontyne Price (Cleopatra)
Justino Diaz (Antony)
Rosalind Elias (Charmian, servant to Cleopatra)
Belén Amparan (Iras)
Jess Thomas (Octavius Caesar)
Mary Ellen Pracht (Octavia)
Ezio Flagello (Enobarbus)
John Macurdy (Agrippa)
Andrea Velis (Mardian)
Clifford Harvuot (Clown)
Paul Franke (Messenger)
Lorenzo Alvary (Soothsayer)
Robert Nagy (Lepidus)
Russell Christopher (Maecenas)
Gene Boucher (Dolabella)
Robert Goodloe (Thidias)
Louis Sgarro (Decretas)
Raymond Michalski (Alexas)
Ron Bottcher (Scarus)
Dan Marek (Captain)
Gabor Carelli (Soldier of Caesar)
Robert Schmorr, Edward Ghazal, Norman Scott (Guards)
Norman Giffin (Demetrius)
Lloyd Strang (Canidius)
John Trehy (Soldier of Antony)
Paul De Paola, Luis Forero (Watchmen)
Peter Sliker (Sentinel)
Bruce Scott (Eros)
Premiere Date: September 16, 1966
Producing Company: Metropolitan Opera
Description: Antony leaves Egypt and his mistress, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. He returns to Rome and is pressed to marry Octavia, the sister of Caesar. When Antony chooses Cleopatra instead, Caesar declares war and defeats Antony. Antony, hearing that Cleopatra has died with his name on her lips, falls on Eros's sword. An attendant to Cleopatra enters and informs Antony that the queen is still alive. As he dies from his wound, he begs to be taken to Cleopatra, where he bids her farewell. Cleopatra, realizing that she is a captive of Caesar, sends for a poisonous asp, concealed in a basket of figs. She and her two handmaidens die when bitten by the snake.
Character List (Major): Antony(bar)
Character List (Minor): Maecenas(non-singing)
Bit Parts: Soothsayer(b)
First Guard(bar)
Second Guard(t)
Third Guard(b)
Fourth Guard(b)
First Soldier(b)
Second Soldier(b)
Soldier of Caesar(bar or b)
Rustic(bar or b)
Reviews: Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein, 10-27-91; The New Yorker, 10-21-91; USA Today, David Patrick Stearns, 10-14-91; The Star (Kansas City), Michael Fleming, 10-6-91; The New York Times, Edward Rothstein, 9-29-91; Chicago Sun Times, Wynne Delacoma, 9-27-91; The New York Times, Tim Page, 11-4-84; The New York Times, Bernard Holland, 5-30-83; The New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 2-24-75; The New York Times, Donal Henahan, 2-8-75; The New York Times, Donal Henahan, 12-11-71; The New York Times, John Gruen, 10-3-71; The New York Times, Emily Coleman, 9-11-66; The New York Times Magazine, Howard Klein, 8-28-66; The New York Times, Theodore Strongin, 5-7-64 (announcement of Met's plans)
Length: 02:00
Total Acts: 3
Chorus: SSATB Chorus
Orchestration: 2 fl(picc), 2 ob(Eng Hrn), 2 cl(bcl), 2 bsn(cbn) - 4 hrn, 3 tpt, 3 tbn, 1 tba - timp, 5 perc - hp, pf, cel - str / alternate: 2 fl(afl, pic) 2 ob(Eng Hrn), 2 cl(bcl), 2 bsn(cbn) - 4 hrn, 2 tpt, 3 tbn - timp, 5 perc - hp, pf, cel - str
Ballet/Dance: Ballet
Musical Style: Through-composed; use of recurring motives; exotic orchestral timbres; driving rhythms; sensuous and soaring lyrical melodies; some declamation; unusual instrumental combinations; tonally-based with a rich harmonic language
Contact: G. Schirmer, Inc.
Address: 257 Park Avenue South, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10010
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-254-2100
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
Antony and Cleopatra (Barber)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - Opera Philadelphia
Antony and Cleopatra (Barber)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - Curtis Institute of Music Opera Theatre
Antony and Cleopatra (Barber)
Thursday, January 15, 2009 - New York City Opera
Antony and Cleopatra (Barber)
Wednesday, September 25, 1991 - Lyric Opera of Chicago
Antony and Cleopatra (Barber)
- Curtis Institute of Music Opera Theatre
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