- John Rockwell
Opera in three acts by Virgil Thomson to a libretto by Jack Larson; Juilliard Theater, New York, 20 April 1972.
Set in Westminster Abbey in 1824, Act 1 opens with mourning for the poet and freedom-fighter, whose body has just been returned from Greece. Dead poets including Shelley (baritone) lament their colleague. A committee led by John Hobhouse (bass-baritone) and including Thomas Moore (baritone), Byron’s sister Mrs Leigh (soprano) and his estranged wife (mezzo-soprano) petition for Byron’s burial in the Abbey. The ship bringing the corpse also contains a statue as well as Byron’s memoirs, both accompanied by Byron’s last love, the Contessa Guiccioli (soprano) and her brother (baritone). The statue arrives and as the stage freezes in admiration, Byron (tenor) enters as a shade and sings a ‘satirical apostrophe’ to the city of London....