April 20, 1972 | Juilliard School
Lord Byron
Composer:Virgil Thomson
Librettist:Jack Larson
Synopsis
Set in London in 1824, the work begins with Dean Ireland's refusal to allow Byron a burial in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. Using the poet's denied burial as a framework for the piece, the work deals with significant episodes in Byron's life and introduces the three women who played pivotal roles in it: his wife, Annabella; his half-sister, Augusta Leigh; and his mistress, Countess Teresa Guiccioli. The opera is partly a series of flashbacks about Byron's scandalous sex life and partly about his friends' decision to burn the memoirs he sent to Thomas Moore.

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)
02:00

Musical Style
Tonal; lyrical; masterfully-written concerted music, duets, and trios; clear, spare orchestration of unmixed colors with an interplay of verbal and musical rhythms that is both intricate and subtle; minimalist use of small, well-crafted melodic cells

Vocal & Musical Forces
Two flutes (piccolo), 2 oboes (English horn), 2 clarinets (bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, organ (off stage), strings; SATB chorus; male madrigal group of 6; boy's chorus; 5 sopranos, 3 mezzos, contralto, 4 tenors, 5 baritones, bass-baritone, 2 basses

Original Cast
Original cast: Lord Byron, Grayson Hirst; Thomas Moore, Lenus Carlson; John Hobhouse, Walter Hook; John Murray, Frederick Schoepflin; Count Gamba, Frederick Burchinall; John Ireland, David Wilder; Augusta Leigh, Carolyn Val-Schmidt; Lady Byron, Lynne Wickenden; Countess Guiccioli, Hari Katz; Lady Melbourne, Barrie Smith


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