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Music Text

Libretto by Henry W Butler after the play by Eugene O'Neill (E,G)


dramS,lyrS,S,heldBar,Bar,lyrBar,BBar,B; chorus

ORCHESTRA:2.picc.2.corA.2.bcl.2.dbn-4.3.2.btrbn.1-timp-perc**(3-4):BD/tpl.bls/ratchet/tam-t/sleigh bells/TD/tgl(L)/whip/susp.cym/tom-t/sizzle cyms/SD/chimes/bongos/tamb/crash cyms/roto-toms(6",8",10")/wdbl(S)/guiro/chinese bell tree-harp-gtr-ekybd samplers*-strings:(


electronic keyboard*: Kurzweil K2000 or K2500SX w/ Orchestral ROM updates. Other samplers acceptable, but pre-programmed disk, providing cues in consecutive order to facilitate players' immediate accessibility to one cue after another w/o having to search for the patch number, is available only for the Kurzweil.

percussion**:with some doubling and, depending on space and budget and some instrument duplication, the part can be performed by 3/4 players

production notes: 8 Characters (plus Supernumeraries), 4 Stage sets: facade of Mannon house, bedroom, parlor with adjoining study, upper and lower decks of Brant's ship, 1998. Chicago Lyric sets and costumes, rental available; Seattle and New York City Operas, 2003-2004 new co-production sets and costumes rental available.

NOTE: This work requires additional technological components and/or amplification.

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere
Metropolitan Opera House, New York, New York
Michael Cacoyannis , director
Conductor: Zubin Mehta
Company: The Metropolitan Opera

World premiere of version
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle
Bartlett Sher, director
Conductor: Richard Buckley
Company: Seattle Opera


LAVINIA MANNON Soprano dramatic/spinto
ORIN MANNON High Baritone/Dramatic Tenor
CAPTAIN ADAM BRANT Dramatic Baritone
HELEN NILES Lyric Soprano
JED Bass
Soldiers, Servants, Townspeople, Sailors, Dockworkers, Fieldworkers
Time and Place

spring and summers of 1865-66, a small town in New England


Ezra Mannon returns from the Civil War. His wife Christine has been having an affair with Adam Bryant.  Lavinia, Ezra's daughter, hates her mother and knows about the affair. Later, Christine tells Brant that she means to kill Ezra. When Ezra and Christine are alone that night, she exposes her affair, hoping Ezra will have a heart attack. He asks for his medicine, but she gives him poison instead. As he dies, Lavinia hears him accuse Christine of poisoning him.  Orin, Lavinia's brother, returns home from war, and Lavinia draws Orin aside and tells him about the poison. Orin vows to avenge his father's death. They secretly follow Christine to a rendezvous with Brant aboard his ship and hear her describe Ezra's murder to him. Once Christine is ashore, Orin stabs Brant to death. The next morning, Orin tells his mother of Brant's death and she shoots herself. Lavinia offers herself to her brother. After a year, Orin and Lavinia return from a long holiday in the tropics. Lavinia comes back rested, but Orin is consumed by guilt.  Lavinia drives Orin mad, and he shoots himself with the gun she hands him. Lavinia also goes mad, and she retreats into her house, alone.


Dramatic, Tragic


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