The Furies
Composer: Andrew Earle Simpson
Librettist: Sarah Brown Ferrario
Other Artistic Personnel: Michael Scarola (New York City Opera), Director; Adam Turner, Conductor; Patrick O'Neill, Choreographer; Andrew Simpson, Vocal Coach; Diana Bryan and Noreen Hughes, Stage Managers; Andrew Berry, Set Designer; Andrew Griffin, Lighting Designer; Elanor Dicks, Costume Designer
Original Cast: Principal roles: Bridgid Eversole as Athena (soprano, 3 arias); James Rogers as Apollo (baritone, 2 arias); Alexander Kugler as Orestes (tenor, 1 aria); Charmaine Sims-McGilvary as the Ghost of Klytemnestra (dramatic soprano, 1 aria); Pythia (mezzo-soprano, 1 scena); 6 soprano Furies, 6 alto Furies; SATB Chorus
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: February 09, 2006
Producing Company: The Catholic University of America Opera Theater
Description: Orestes, son of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra, has killed his mother and is thus pursued by the Furies. In a trial at Athens presided over by Athena, Orestes is tried for his crime and is acquitted. Athena placates the Furies by offering them places of honor in Athens. The action is based on Aeschylus' ancient Greek tragedy, "Eumenides." The opera begins at Delphi, at Apollo's temple. The Pythia, priestess of Apollo, discovers Orestes and the sleeping Furies inside the temple. Apollo tells Orestes to go to Athens and seek the protection of Athena. Orestes leaves. The Ghost of Klytemnestra appears, rouses the Furies and urges them to continue the chase. The Furies sing of their hatred of Orestes; Apollo drives them from his temple. Orestes arrives at Athens and takes refuge in Athena's temple, where the Furies discover him. As they are about to kill him, Athena appears. She places Orestes under her protection, but honors the justice of the Furies' claim by instituting a trial to determine Orestes' guilt. The trial is held at Athens, with Apollo as Orestes' defense attorney, the Furies as the prosecutors, and Athena as the presiding judge. Orestes is acquitted, and leaves to take up the throne of Argos. The Furies violently protest what they see as an unjust verdict, and threaten to destroy Athens. Athena persuades them to accept a place of honor in her city instead, and be worshipped forever by the citizens of Athens. The joyful closing chorus escorts the Furies (now the "Eumenides," or "kindly ones") to their new home under the Acropolis.
Comments: The third opera of a trilogy of one-act operas on Aeschylus' "Oresteia."
Length: 01:30
Total Acts: 1
Chorus: SATB Chorus
Orchestration: fl, ob, vn, va, vc, pno, 1 perc
Musical Style: Tonal/modal with chromatic inflections; number-opera structure, with arias for each principal role; performable by colleges/universities
Contact: Andrew Earle Simpson
Phone: 202-319-5564 or 301-330-5408
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

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