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Philip Glass

Publisher: Chester Music

The Juniper Tree (1985)
commissioned by the American Repertory Theater, Cambridge, MA
Work Notes
Opera in three acts; music by Philip Glass and Robert Moran Libretto (English) by Arthur Yorinks based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm.
Text Writer
Arthur Yorinks based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm
Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Operetta / Musical Theatre
Year Composed
1 Hour 30 Minutes
mixed chorus, children's voices
English, German
Solo Instrument(s)
4 Sopranos, Mezzo soprano, Tenor, 2 Baritones, Bass
Programme Note
Philip Glass The Juniper Tree (1985)
The husband - lyric baritone
His wife - lyric soprano
The son/the juniper bird - boy soprano
The stepmother - mezzo-soprano
Her daughter - soprano
The goldsmith - bass
The cobbler - baritone
The miller - tenor
Village folk - chorus
Mama bird - soprano
Baby birds - children's voices

This opera may be unique in that Glass and fellow composer Robert Moran collaborated in virtually equal degree on its composition. A glass scene is followed by a Moran scene, with transitions composed by each. The result is fascinating hybrid, each composer holding to his own identity while melding with the other.

The famous Grimm fairy tale tells of a Wicked Stepmother who murders her stepson and serves him up in a stew to his unsuspecting father. The boy’s sister buries her brother’s bones under a Juniper Tree, and the child’s spirit returns as a singing bird who wreaks vengeance on the evil Stepmother before being restored to life in the bosom of his family. Despite its somewhat savage themes (infanticide and cannibalism!), The Juniper Tree is a warm-hearted, if eerie work that leaves a distinctly poetic, happy impression. And it is one of the most tuneful operas in the Glass repertory.

  • Soloist(s)
    Jayne West, soprano / Sanford Sylvan, baritone/ Lynn Torgove, soprano / Valerie Walters, mezzo-soprano / Janet Brown, soprano / David Stoneman, baritone / Thomas Derrah, tenor / William Cotten, tenor
    Richard Pittman
    Orange Moutain Music:
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