The Greater Good
Composer: Stephen Hartke
Librettist: Stephen Hartke after Philip Litte
Other Artistic Personnel: Stewart Robertson, Conductor; David Schweizer, Director; David Zinn, Costume Designer; Mark Wendland, Set Designer; Chris Akerlind, Lighting Designer; Charles G. Laponte, Hair and Makeup Designer; Michael Shell, Assistant Director
Original Cast: Caroline Worra, John David Dehaan, Jill Gardner, Christopher Burchett, Christine Abraham, Seth Keeton, Andrew Wntzel, Elaine Alvarez, Liam Moran, Jeanine Thames, Katherine Calcamuggio
Premiere Date: July 22, 2006
Producing Company: Glimmerglass Opera
Description: Act I. In the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war, a group of largely well-off French citizens flee enemy-occupied Rouen in a stagecoach bound for Dieppe. The passengers are outraged to discover the well-known prostitute Boule de Suif in their midst, but ultimately befriend her when it turns out that she is the only one to have remembered to bring food for the journey. When the coach reaches the village of Tôtes, the travelers are detained without explanation by Prussian soldiers at the inn.

Act II. The travelers learn that the Prussian commandant will not let them continue on their way unless Boule sleeps with him. At first, the others support Boule in rejecting his demand, but soon their impatience leads them to play elaborate psychological games to make her give in. Eventually, she does, for "the greater good". In the final scene, the passengers re-embark, Boule joining them, worn and bedraggled from a hard night’s work. They snub her: a common whore. The coach rumbles on.
Character List (Major): Elisabeth Rouseet or Boule de Suif(s), Mme Carre-Lamadon(mz); Mme. Follenvie(mz); M. Loiseau(t); Coachman(bar); Count de Breville(b-bar)
Character List (Minor): Old Nun(col s); Countess de Breville(s); Mme Loiseau(s); M. Carre-Lamadon(bar); Cornudet(b); M. Follenvie(b)
Bit Parts: Young Nun(mz), Young Prussian Officer(t)
Reviews: Charles Ives Opera Award (for Best American Opera produced in the previous 5 years) from the American Academy of Arts and Letters – 2008
Length: 02:20
Total Acts: 2
Orchestration: 2 fl(2 picc, afl), 2 ob(Eng Hrn), 4 cl in A(pcl, bcl, Bbcbcl), 2 bsn(cbn) - 3 hrn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn, 1 tba - 3 perc(xyl, vib, tamb, cast, vibrslp, sm shaker, guiro, 2 wdblk, bowl tree, whip, jing stick, tam-tam, 2 sus cym, cr cym, 2 sm gong, practice pad, cow bell, brake dr, bongos, 2 timp, b drum) - hp - str(min 8 vln1, 6 vln2, 5 vla, 4 vc, 2 db); Onstage: 10 tuned Soup bowls (available from publisher)
Musical Style: Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker: “Hartke seizes control with a subtle riot of sprung rhythms, colliding tunes, jazzy rave-ups, onomatopoeia, musical in-jokes, and, at the end, a delicately shattering anthem of despair. Hartke is celebrated for his
Contact: Keiser Classical
E-mail Address:
Phone: 203-560-9436
Composer Web Site:
The Opera Fund Awardee Information
Award Category: 2003 Repertoire Development Consortium
Project Name: THE REFUGEES
Awardee: Glimmerglass Opera
Designer: John Conklin
Award Category: 2002 Partnership Consortium
Project Name: THE REFUGEES
Awardee: Glimmerglass Opera
Conductor: Stewart Robertson
Schedule of Performances Listings
The Greater Good (Hartke)
Saturday, July 22, 2006 - Glimmerglass Festival
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