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Gian Carlo Menotti

Publisher: G. Schirmer

The Egg (1976)
Text Writer
Libretto by the composer.
G Schirmer Inc
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Chamber Opera
Year Composed
1 Hour 0 Minutes
SATB chorus
Solo Instrument(s)
high Baritone, 2 Tenors, Dramatic Soprano, 2 Baritones, Bass, Mezzo soprano, Soprano, silent role
Programme Note
Gian Carlo Menotti The Egg (1976)
Cast List:

Manuel: high baritone
Saint Simeon Stylites: tenor
The Basilissa, Empress of Byzantium (Pride): (dramatic) soprano
Areobindus, favorite of Basilissa (Lust): baritone
Gourmantus, the cook (Gluttony): bass
Eunoch of the Sacred Cubicle (Sloth): tenor
Pachomius, the treasurer (Avarice): baritone
Sister of the Basilissa (Envy): mezzo
Julian, Captain of the Guard (Anger): silent role
Beggar Woman: soprano
Members of the Basilissa’s Court: chorus


An allegory on the meaning of life set in the Byzantine Empire, 5th century AD: an egg was given to St. Simeon of Stylites, who lived on top of a 60-foot-high pole for 30 years. The egg is found by Manuel, St. Simeon’s nephew and given to the Empress of Byzantium who, with her court, cannot open the egg to learn its meaning. Only after Manuel is thrown out of court and presents the egg to a mother and her starving child, can the egg be opened; it saves the child’s life.

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