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Music Text

Libretto by Thornton Wilder; German version by Herbert Herlitschka (E,G)


fl.cl-hn-perc(1):2susp.cym(sm,lg)/sizzle cym/flexatone/crot/glsp/3wdbl(sm,med,lg)/BD/tam-t-gtr(ampl)-pft-vla.vlc.db

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes / Bote & Bock

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

World Premiere
Theater (Concordia), Bremen
Mark Daniel Hirsch, director
Conductor: Catherine Rückwardt
Company: Bremer Theater


Van, the Undercook Tenor
Minna, the captain's widow Soprano
Sam, an old member of the crew Baritone

Three survivors are drifting on the wreck of a ship. They make the figurehead into the god of the Atlantic, pray to him that they will be saved, and gradually confess all their sins. When a ship appears on the horizon, they quickly throw the great god Lilli into the sea.

Der Engel auf dem Schiff is the third of the Three Water Plays (Drei Wasserspiele) by Detlev Glanert, three chamber operas based on the ‘Three-Minute Plays’ by Thornton Wilder, to be performed separately or as a trilogy.

Press Quotes

"Jazzy overtones and song forms rose to the top as Wilder’s shipwrecked trio sought salvation by worshipping their figurehead, only to abandon her once rescue loomed. This was fun.”
The Times


Dramatic, Poetic


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