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date: 11 December 2019

Bassarids, Thelocked

  • Andrew Clements

Extract

Opera seria with intermezzo in one act (four movements) by Hans Werner Henze to a libretto by W(ystan) H(ugh) Auden and Chester Kallman after Euripides’ The Bacchae; Salzburg, Grosses Festspielhaus, 6 August 1966.

Henze’s second collaboration with Auden and Kallman, after the successful première of Elegy for Young Lovers, was commissioned by the Salzburg Festival. The libretto was prepared in 1963, but Henze did not begin work on the score until more than a year later, after he had completed Der junge Lord. The first performance (in German) was conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi with a cast led by Ingeborg Hallstein, Kerstin Meyer, Vera Little, Loren Driscoll, Helmut Melchert, Kostas Paskalis, William Dooley and Peter Lagger; the première of the original English-language version took place at Santa Fe in 1967, conducted by the composer. In 1974 it was staged by the ENO at the London Coliseum, with a cast that included Josephine Barstow, Katherine Pring, Anne Collins, Gregory Dempsey, Kenneth Woollam, Norman Welsby and Tom McDonnell; Henze conducted and directed the performances. A concert performance at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin in ...

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