Story of Vasco, The
- Gerald Larner
Opera in three acts, op.29, by Gordon Crosse to a libretto by Ted Hughes after Georges Schehadé’s play L’histoire de Vasco; London, Coliseum, 13 March 1974.
Set in the midst of war, vaguely in the 19th century and somewhere in Europe perhaps, the subject is war and its absurdity and poignancy. Vasco (lyric tenor), a timid village barber who is the unwitting centre of the military action and ultimately its hero, is actually no more in evidence than Caesar (high tenor), a crazy self-styled scholar and father of Marguerite (lyric soprano), who dreams she is engaged to Vasco and who follows him as far as she can on his mission. Her ecstatically amorous visions inspire an elaborate vocal line and the most lyrical music of a score which, while reflecting the influence of Britten and Messiaen in particular among the composer’s contemporaries, is entertainingly resourceful in meeting the harsh realism, broad comedy, and surreal poetry of an extravagantly imaginative text....