Christopher Sly
Composer: Dominick Argento
Librettist: John Manlove
Other Artistic Personnel: John Manlove (Director)
William Johnson (Conductor)
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: May 31, 1963
Producing Company: University of Minnesota
Description: Christopher Sly is the story of a drunken tinker pursued by his creditors. Found sleeping off his liquor by a Lord and his hunting party, Sly is carted off to the castle where the Lord and his entourage decide to play an elaborate practical joke on him: They try to convince the tinker that he is a nobleman gone mad, and his past life is merely a dream. When Sly wakes up, his every need—especially for drink—is catered to. The Lord even provides his own Page to masquerade as Sly’s young wife. He then sees his creditors arrive at the castle and realizes that a joke has been played on him. He resolves to get even with a joke of his own. He makes off with as many of the Lord’s valuables as he can stuff in his sack, pays off his creditors, and lives happily ever after. In fact, he comes before the curtain with the Lord’s mistresses on each arm and points to the moral of the story: Pleasure is of the moment and should be enjoyed to the full.
Character List (Major): PETER TURPH, a tailor (t)
HENRY PIMPERNELL, a smith (b-bar)
CHRISTOPHER SLY, a tinker (b-bar)
MARION HACKET, hostess of the ale-house (mz)
Character List (Minor): 3 Huntsmen (later, 3 Servants) (bar, t, b)
A Lord (t)
2 Ladies (lyr-s)
A Page (Soprano)
Bit Parts: An officer of the law, musicians (non-singing roles)
Length: 01:10
Total Acts: 2
Orchestration: 1 fl, 1 ob, 1 cl, 1bsn - 2 hrn, 1 tpt, - perc(1):SD/tgl/tamb/wdbl/cyms/susp.cym/xyl- hpd or pft-string quintet( on stage (optional)
Contact: Boosey & Hawkes
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-358-5300
Composer Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
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