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Kirke Mechem

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Pride and Prejudice (2017)
Text Writer
Libretto by the composer after the novel by Jane Austen.
Publisher
G Schirmer Inc
Category
Opera and Music Theatre
Year Composed
2017
Duration
2 Hours 19 Minutes
Language
English
Solo Instrument(s)
4 Soprano, 2 Mezzo-soprano, Contralto, Tenor, 2 Baritone, Bass-Baritone, Bass
Availability
Unavailable Explain this...
Programme Note
Kirke Mechem Pride and Prejudice (2017)
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Cast List:

   ELIZABETH BENNET, second daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Bennett: Mezzo
   MR. DARCY, fiend of Mr. Bingley: Baritone
   JANE BENNET, eldest daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Bennet: Soprano
   MR. BINGLEY: Tenor
   MRS. BENNET: High soprano
   MR. BENNET: Bass
   MR. COLLINS, a clergyman: Bass-baritone
   LADY CATHERINE DE BOURGH, Darcy's aunt: Contralto
   LYDIA, youngest daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Bennet: Soprano
   MR. WICKHAM, an officer in the militia: Baritone
   CHARLOTTE LUCAS, Elizabeth's intimate friend: Soprano
   MISS BINGLEY, sister of Mr. Bingley: Mezzo

Background:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." So begins Jane Austen's novel, but 21st-century audiences may need to be reminded that in Austen's time, it was also true that a woman with no fortune needed to marry well, as there were few opportunities for her to make a living herself. The Bennets must find husbands for their daughters, who have no dowry. By law, Mr. Bennet's estate can be inherited only by the nearest male heir, the ridiculously pompous vicar Mr. Collins. We must also remind ourselves that in the England of 200 years ago, social classes were more distinct and immutable than they are today.

Story:

A wealthy and single young man from London, Richard Bingley, has just moved into the Netherfield estate. At a ball he gives for his neighbors, Mrs. Bennet is overjoyed to see that Bingley is attracted to her eldest daughter, Jane. But her second daughter, the witty and independent Elizabeth, is slighted by Bingley's even wealthier friend, the proud and aristocratic Darcy. The spirited courtship between Darcy and Elizabeth — who at first cannot abide one another — is the main story of the opera. They not only misjudge each other, but are both victims of their own pride and prejudices. Only after much sparring and indignant misunderstandings do they come to recognize their own faults and true feelings, and can forgive themselves and each other.



View Full Score - Act II
View Vocal Score

Performances
Date
Title
  • 20 NOV 2019
    Friedberg Hall, Baltimore, MD
    The Johns Hopkins University, Peabody
    Joseph Young, conductor

    Other Dates:
    21-23 November - Friedberg Hall, Baltimore, MD

Reviews
This is the very stuff of opera. [Mechem’s] libretto is ingeniously written, efficiently condensing the plot, often using Austen’s own words and filling in gaps intelligently. [His] music is not only attractive, it’s busy and evocative. Vocal lines often reveal character, as with Mrs. Bennet erupting in peals of ornamental notes at words she wishes to emphasize. The orchestra . . . is an active participant in the plot..
David Bratman, San Mateo Daily Journal,12/04/2019
. . . does justice to Austen’s classic. The orchestration [is] most exciting, boldly accentuating the drama evolving in Act Two. The score here is sparked by Darcy’s solo aria, a duettino of Darcy and Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s expansive soliloquy. There’s a poignant duet of clarinet with cello; and, at the other extreme, a true operatic finale complete with festive music and chorus bringing down the curtain. . . . Could anyone serve as a greater inspiration than Mechem for creativity . . . ?
Paul Hertelendy, ARTSSF,07/04/2019
. . . It turns out that Austen’s Pride and Prejudice practically begs to be set to music—not slavishly, not without edits and rearrangements, but in a way that explores the text in a new and totally entertaining light. Most striking was the way in which the music coordinated with and then illuminated each character in his or her turn—a spot-on aural representation of the people and universe of the novel. Mrs. Bennet as high (not to say shrill) soprano? Check. Darcy as graceful yet manly baritone? Also check. Mr. Collins as hilariously imperious bass baritone? Check check check check. . If you think Jane Austen is funny, you’ll think her opera’s funny, too. . . . consider this the Austenacious stamp of approval: we loved what we saw and heard.
Liz Ball, Austenacious,23/03/2010
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