The Dream of Valentino
Composer: Dominick Argento
Librettist: Charles Nolte
Other Artistic Personnel: Ann-Margret Pettersson (Director)
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: January 15, 1994
Producing Company: Washington National Opera
Description: Rudolph Valentino, just arrived from Italy, is the most popular dancer at a Broadway dance palace, though he aspires to be a great stage actor. June Mathis, a film researcher, meets and becomes infatuated with him and predicts that he will have a career in Hollywood. The Mogul examines the film of a bit actor in a B-movie, Rudolph Valentino, and makes a note to watch him in the future even though he is on contract with Metro, a rival studio. Valentino signs a personal contract with the famous actress Alla Nazimova and afterwards proposes what turns out to be a disastrous marriage to the actress Jean Acker. Valentino becomes an overnight sensation with the release of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the Mogul buys out Valentino's Metro contract. In the course of filming of The Sheik, the beleaguered Mogul finds out about both Valentino's personal contract with Nazimova and his potentially scandalous marriage with Acker. As a result, Valentino is forced against his will into his next film, Monsieur Beaucaire, which fails miserably at the box office. Valentino suddenly feels as though he has no control of his career, and drops out of Hollywood, taking up the life of an itinerant actor and dancer. Valentino dies in a New York hospital as headlines proclaim his passing. In the end, the great legend of the tragic actor inspires those who attend his funeral in different ways.
Character List (Major): RUDOLPH VALENTINO (t) JUNE MATHIS, a screenwriter (s) THE MOGUL (b-bar) MARVIN HEENO, the Mogul's nephew and assistant (lyr t)
NATACHA RAMBOVA, a Hollywood director and designer (mz)
JEAN ACKER, a young actress (lyr col-s)
Alla Nazimova, a celebrated movie star (contralto)
Character List (Minor): Ballroom manager (bar)
Woman in Red (mz)
4 Yes-men (2 t, 2 b) 3 Reporters (t, bar, b)
3 Secretaries (s, 2 contraltos)
Dialogue Coach (s)
6 (or 3) Photographers (2 t, 2 bar, 2 b)
Makeup Woman (contralto)
Publicity Man (bar)
Costumer (t)
Lawyer (b)
Man with arrest warrant (t)
Reviews: The Washington Post, Joseph McLellan, 1/17/1994; New York Times, Edward Rothstein, 2/12/1995; Nelly VALTAT-COMET, « From Novella to Opera: Dominick Argento’s The Aspern Papers », E-rea, 3.2 | 2005, [En ligne], mis en ligne le 15 octobre 2005.
Length: 02:15
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: Yes
Orchestration: 2 fl(II=picc), 2 ob(II=corA), 2 cl(I=asax, II=bcl), 2 bsn(II=dbn) - 3 hrn, 2 tpt, 1 tbn, 1 tba - timp.perc(2): BD/bell tree/cast/chimes/choke cym/claves/cyms/glsp/maracas/SD/ steel plate/susp.cym/tamb/tam-t/ - harp - synth (Yamaha DX7), pft(=cel) - strings
Contact: Boosey & Hawkes
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-358-5300
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
The Dream of Valentino (Argento)
Saturday, March 1, 2014 - Minnesota Opera
The Dream of Valentino (Argento)
Friday, January 6, 1995 - Dallas Opera
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