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Philip Glass

Publisher: Chester Music

Appomattox (2007)
Commissioned by San Francisco Opera
Work Notes
Libretto (English) by Christopher Hampton.
Text Writer
Libretto by Christopher Hampton
Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc
Opera and Music Theatre
Year Composed
1 Hour 45 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Principals - 4 Sopranos, 2 Mezzo-Sopranos,3 Tenors, 4 Baritones, Bass-Baritone, 2 Bass
Programme Note
Philip Glass Appomattox (2007)

Soprano Julia Dent Grant/Viola Liuzzo
Soprano Mary Custis Lee
Soprano Julia Agnes Lee
Soprano Mary Todd Lincoln/Lady Bird Johnson
Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Keckley/Coretta Scott King
Mezzo-soprano Mrs. Dorsey/Viola Jackson
Tenor T. Morris Chester/Cager Lee
Tenor Edward Alexander/Cartha DeLoach
Tenor Ely S. Parker
Baritone Gen. Ulysses S. Grant/Nicholas Katzenbach
Baritone Gen. Robert E. Lee/Edgar Ray Killen
Baritone John Rawlins/George Wallace
Baritone Wilmer McLean/J. Edgar Hoover
Bass-baritone Abraham Lincoln/Lyndon B. Johnson
Bass Gen. Howell Cobb/James Bonard Fowler
Bass Douglass/Martin Luther King

Chorus of union and conf. soldiers; citizens of Richmond & Appomattox; slaves and women

Roles from the chorus:

Tenor A young man
Tenor & Bass Two freed slaves,
Tenor A brigadier
Bass A naval officer
Baritone Voice of a confederate soldier
Bass A captain
Bass Old Man in Richmond
SATB Four civil rights marchers

The brutal American Civil War is drawing to a close. Three scenes unfold simultaneously as Julia (Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant), Mary Custis (Mrs. Robert E. Lee) with her daughter Agnes, and Mary Todd Lincoln with her seamstress Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave, separately express their anxieties, then jointly voice their foreboding about the suffering that is imminent.

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  • 08 JUL 2009
    Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds
    Leeds Youth Opera
    Michael Williamson, conductor

    Other Dates:
    9-11 July - Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds
  • 05 OCT 2007
    San Francisco, USA
    San Francisco Opera

    Other Dates:
    10,14,16,18,20,24 October - San Francisco, USA

Where Glass' music shines is in the details of its text setting, especially during the narrative stretches that dot the opera. Here, the composer's simple rhythmic motifs, instead of trying to hold the spotlight, serve as a sort of musical trellis around which he can wind the phrases of Hampton's libretto with the naturalness and careful pacing of a speaking actor
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle,08/10/2007
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