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Our Man in Havanalocked

  • Roger Covell

Extract

Opera in three acts by Malcolm Williamson to a libretto by Sidney Gilliatt after Graham Greene’s novel; London, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, 2 July 1963.

Set in pre-revolutionary Havana, the opera follows Greene’s novel in highlighting violent comedy in an uneasy society in which the simple materialistic ambitions of a not-very-successful dealer in vacuum cleaners, Bramble (Greene’s Wormold; tenor), on behalf of his spoilt, pretty, horse-riding daughter Milly (soprano), can exploit the gullibility of official espionage. Recruited as a British agent, Bramble invents journeys, agents and information for his expense accounts and submits the working drawings of a vacuum cleaner as the plan of a military installation. His private comedy of incompetence blundering into prosperity brings him an admirer in Beatrice (soprano), a London-dispatched assistant (whose sensational ...

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