Composer: Samuel Barber
Librettist: Gian Carlo Menotti
Other Artistic Personnel: Gian Carlo Menotti (Director)
Cecil Beaton (Scenic Designer)
Original Cast: Eleanor Steber (Vanessa)
Rosalind Elias (Erika)
Regina Resnik (The Old Baroness)
Nicolai Gedda (Anatol)
Giorgio Tozzi (The Old Doctor)
George Cehanovsky (Nicholas)
Robert Nagy (Footman)
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: January 15, 1958
Producing Company: Metropolitan Opera
Description: Vanessa has lived as a shut-in-with her mirrors covered for 20 years since her lover Anatol deserted her. Her mother, the Old Baroness, will not speak to her and her only companion is her niece, Erika. As the opera opens, they are preparing for Anatol's return. When he arrives at the door, Vanessa declares her love for him-then faints when she discovers that it is not he, but his son, also named Anatol. Anatol explains that his father has died, but he wanted to meet the woman that haunted his father for so many years. Meanwhile, Erika has fallen in love with Anatol. He seduces her. When he turns his attentions toward Vanessa, Erika discovers that she is pregnant. Vanessa and Anatol announce their plans to marry while Erika flees from the house, causing her to miscarry. Vanessa and Anatol depart from the house as Erika covers all the mirrors.

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Character List (Major): Vanessa (s)
Erika (mz)
Anatol (t)
The Old Baroness (con)
The Doctor (bar)
Character List (Minor): The Major-Domo (bb)
Bit Parts: A Footman (t) The Young Pastor (mute)
Reviews: The New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 7-11-88; The New York Times, Michael Kimmelman, 6-14-88; Chicago Sun-Times, Robert C. Marsh, 2-6-84; The New York Times, John J. O'Connor, 1-31-79; The New York Times, Donal Henahan, 1-28-79; The New York Times, Harold C. Schonberg, 5-29-78
Video Clip:
Length: 02:00
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: SSAATTBB (AGMA minimum 24)
Orchestration: 2 fl(picc), 2 ob(Eng Hrn), 2 cl(bcl), 2 bsn - 4 hrn, 3 tpt, 3 tbn, 1 tba - timp, perc - hp - str, stage band: 1 fl, 1 ob, 2 cl, 2 bsn - 2 hrn, 1 tpt - perc - pf, cel, org, can - str, Alt Red Ver: 1 fl(pic), 1 ob(Eng Hrn), 2 cl(bcl), 2 bsn - 3 hrn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn(btbn), 1 tba - syn - timp, perc - hp - str, stage band: 1 fl, 1 ob, 1 cl, 1 bsn - 2 hrn, 1 tpt - snare dm - str
Musical Style: Predominantly neo-romantic; metric flexibility; some dissonance; accessible, lyrical melodies
Contact: G. Schirmer, Inc.
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-254-2100
Composer Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
Vanessa (Barber)
Saturday, September 21, 2013 - West Edge Opera
Vanessa (Barber)
Saturday, March 10, 2012 - Sarasota Opera
Vanessa (Barber)
Friday, February 11, 2011 - Nevada Opera Association
Vanessa (Barber)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - Boston University - CFA
Vanessa (Barber)
Sunday, November 4, 2007 - New York City Opera
Vanessa (Barber)
Friday, February 23, 2007 - Academy of Vocal Arts Opera Theatre
Vanessa (Barber)
Friday, August 4, 2006 - Chautauqua Opera
Vanessa (Barber)
Saturday, July 2, 2005 - Central City Opera
Vanessa (Barber)
Saturday, April 16, 2005 - San Diego Opera Association
Vanessa (Barber)
Saturday, November 27, 2004 - Los Angeles Opera
Vanessa (Barber)
Saturday, June 30, 2001 - Des Moines Metro Opera
Vanessa (Barber)
Thursday, April 26, 2001 - Curtis Institute of Music Opera Theatre
Vanessa (Barber)
Saturday, February 27, 1999 - Seattle Opera
Vanessa (Barber)
Friday, October 30, 1998 - PITTSBURGH OPERA CENTER
Vanessa (Barber)
Saturday, May 10, 1997 - Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Vanessa (Barber)
Friday, January 7, 1994 - Dallas Opera
Vanessa (Barber)
Wednesday, December 11, 1991 - Juilliard Opera Center
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