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date: 14 October 2019

Agamemnonlocked

  • Thérèse Radic

Extract

Opera in one act by Felix Werder to his own libretto after Aeschylus’ play, translated by Gilbert Murray; Melbourne, Grant Street Theatre, 1 June 1977 (broadcast of earlier version, The Agamemnon of Aeschylus, ABC, 1967).

The plot follows precisely the words of Gilbert Murray’s translation of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. On his return from the Trojan wars, King Agamemnon of Mycenae (bass) is greeted by his wife Clytemnestra (soprano) and her lover, Aegisthus (countertenor), who together plot the king’s murder. Warned of the plot against him by the prophetess Cassandra (soprano), a princess of Troy and concubine of Agamemnon, the king ignores all advice. The lovers kill him, fulfilling the destiny predicted not only for themselves but for their doomed House of Atreus.

Composed in 1967, the opera, then titled The Agamemnon of Aeschylus, was performed for a radio broadcast in the same year; the composer reworked and retitled the piece shortly thereafter. Through-composed in 25 sections and serially constructed, with the first 12-note row having strong tonal implications, ...

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