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Tale of Two Cities, Alocked

  • Noël Goodwin

Extract

Romantic melodrama in six scenes by Arthur Benjamin to a libretto by Cedric Cliffe after Charles Dickens ’s novel; London, Sadler’s Wells Theatre (New Opera Company), 23 July 1957.

The opera is a skilful condensation of the Dickens novel. The first scene forms a prologue in the Paris wine shop owned by Defarge where Lucie Manette (lyric soprano) recovers her father (tenor) after his release from the Bastille. Scene 2 finds Lucie at her engagement party in Soho, with Charles Darnay (tenor) and Sydney Carton (baritone). Scene 3 is concerned with the storming of the Bastille, and Scene 4 with the Revolutionary Tribunal at which Darnay is condemned Scene 5 is the condemned cell and Scene 6 the foot of the guillotine. Madame Defarge (dramatic soprano) becomes the dominant character....

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