March 5, 1974 | Houston Grand Opera
The Seagull
Composer:Thomas Pasatieri
Librettist:Kenward Elmslie
Synopsis
In the garden of Sorin's estate, the private premiere of an avant-garde theater piece takes place. It is written by Constantine and performed by Nina, the woman with whom he is in love, but who loves Trigorin, a successful writer who is having an affair with Constantine's mother, Arkadina. Arkadina disrupts the performance and Constantine, humiliated, runs off. Masha, Shamrayeff's daughter, confesses her love for Constantine to Dr. Dorn. At a picnic, Constantine appears with a seagull he has shot and lays it at Nina's feet. He is bitter about the failure of his play as well as Nina's coolness towards him. He leaves upon seeing Trigorin, who then tries to deflect Nina's adoration. In Sorin's dining room, a drunken Masha confesses to Trigorin that she has decided to marry Medvedenko, a schoolteacher. Trigorin decides to leave. Arkadina, alone with Constanine, helps bandage a wound on his head from a suicide attempt. Constantine berates his mother about her involvement with Trigorin, who is too cowardly to accept Constantine's challenge to a duel and who is becoming more involved with Nina. Trigorin, cowed by Arkadina, agrees to leave with her immediately. Nina, too, announces that she is leaving for Moscow. Several years pass. In Sorin's study, Masha quarrels with Medvedenko. Arkadina returns from the station with Trigorin in tow. Constantine meets them cooly and brings them to Sorin's place. Nina arrives secretly and Constantine tells her he still loves her. She is still in love with Trigorin even though he abandoned her years ago. Alone, Constantine feeds his manuscripts into the fire and leaves. As the rest of the dinner party sits down to a game of Lotto, a shot is heard outside. Dr. Dorn goes outside to investigate and tells them it is only a bottle of ether that has exploded. Quietly, he pulls Trigorin aside and tells him what Arkadina has already sensed: that Constantine has killed himself.

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)
02:00

Number of Acts
3

Musical Style
Lush, romantic score; lyrical, singable melodies

Vocal & Musical Forces
Two flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, strings; 2 sopranos, 2 mezzos, 2 tenors, 3 baritones, bass

Original Cast
Patricia Wells (Masha)
Michael Best (Medvedenko)
Richard Stilwell (Constantine)
David Rae Smith (Sorin)
Frederica von Stade (Nina)
Evelyn Lear (Irina Arkadina)
John Reardon (Boris Trigorin)
Jon Enloe (Shamrayeff)
Dana Krueger (Pauline)
Jack Trussel (Doctor Dorn)


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