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Music Text

Libretto by Paul Griffiths (E)


lyrS,dramS,A,T,Bar, boy alto

thundersheet/6brake dr/cowbell/marimba; II=cym/tamb/5cowbells/3metal
pipes/washboard/vib; III=tam-t/hammer/lion's roar/gong/tom-t/cym/SD;

Abbreviations (PDF)

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

World Premiere
Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin
Nicholas Brieger, director / Lynne Dawson, Simone Nold, Hilary Summers, William Joyner, Hanno Mueller-Brachmann
Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
Company: Staatsoper Unter den Linden


ROSE Lyric Soprano
MAMA Dramatic Soprano
STELLA Low Contralto
ZEN Tenor
KID Boy Alto
Time and Place

Now, the scene of an accident


There has been an accident of some kind, involving six “victims,” five adults and a child. They emerge from the wreckage dazed but apparently unhurt. The five adults – Harry or Larry (who is always called by both names), Mama, Rose, Stella, and Zen – are unable to remember how they are related, where they were going when the accident occurred, or how they came to be in the same place at the same time. Rose, a diva, vocalizes and treats the others as admiring fans; Zen, a would-be seer, dispenses cryptic aphorisms; Harry or Larry cracks absurd jokes; Stella, an astronomer, is fixated on the stars. Mama tries to bring order to the situation. The Kid, on the other hand, is preoccupied with a more pressing matter: his empty stomach. A pair of street workers arrive to survey the damage but in spite of their pleas for attention, the victims are ignored; after a while the street workers guide the adults off the stage. It falls to the Kid to ask the question that might save them all.


Dramatic, Poetic

Recommended Recording

Valdine Anderson / Sarah Leonard / Hilary Summers / William Joyner / Dean Elzinga / Emauel Hoogeveen / Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra / Peter Eötvös
ECM 1817

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