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date: 19 October 2019

Postcard from Moroccolocked

  • Virginia Saya

Extract

Opera in one act by Dominick Argento to a libretto by John Donahue; Minneapolis, Cedar Village Theater, 14 October 1971.

From an abstract libretto by the children’s theatre director John Donahue (with lines in no set sequence, assigned to no particular character), Argento created a symbolic fantasy based on the guarded interactions of seven people waiting for a train. Their activities are interrupted by abrupt leaps of time and strange entertainments (a cabaret song to nonsense syllables, a puppet show with lifelike puppets, a Viennese operetta duet). Each character performs an aria of minimal self-revelation and carries an item of luggage, the contents of which he or she symbolically protects from the prying of the others. When Mr Owen (tenor), the only named character, is forced to reveal that his suitcase is empty, he is cut off from the group and, in heroic style, sets out on a voyage of self-discovery in a ship built by the puppets....

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