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Philip Glass

Publisher: Chester Music

White Raven (1991)
commissioned by the Commissão Nacional para as Comemoraçôes dos Descobrimentos Portugueses
Work Notes
Opera in five acts in collaboration with Robert Wilson. Libretto (Portugese) by Luisa Costa Gomes.
Publisher
Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc
Category
Opera and Music Theatre
Year Composed
1991
Duration
2 Hours 20 Minutes
Chorus
SATB
Soloist
4 Sopranos, 3 Mezzo sopranos, 3 Tenors, 2 Baritones, 2 Bass-baritones, Bass, Speaking role
Programme Note
Philip Glass White Raven (1991)
CAST
Queen, Scientist 1 - soprano
Raven 1, off-stage voice Act 4-B - soprano
Raven 2, Scientist 2 - mezzo
Da Gama, Traveler 1 - bass-baritone
King - baritone
Native Queen, Miss Universe, Dragon - mezzo
Sailor 1, Scientist 3, Traveler 2 - tenor
Sailor 3, Traveler 3 - baritone
Sailor 2, Traveler 4 - bass-baritone
Judy Garland, Siamese Twin 1 - soprano
Siamese Twin 2 - soprano
Barcelos Clock, Dogman - mezzo
Spoonman - tenor
Tin Man, Ocephalus - tenor
Native King, Elephant Foot - bass
Mixed Chorus
Writer - speaking only

SYNOPSIS
The opera touches upon discoveries throughout time, beginning with the expeditions of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, "The work is not concerned with historical accuracy. It pursues, rather, an open reflection on the concept of discovery of commencement (of what does not exist but comes into being) and the concept of beginning (as Aristotle writes, 'a beginning is that which does not come necessarily after something else, but after which it is natural for another thing to exist or to come to be'). The title "White Raven" alludes to the myth in which Apollo turns a white crow black for denouncing Cronis' infidelity - in the opera the crow is the messenger of the misfortune, the symbol of lost innocence."
© Luísa Costa Gomes

Performances
Date
Title
  • 10 JUL 2001
    White Raven Country Premiere
    "A Glass Celebration" / Lincoln Center Festival
    Lincoln Center
    American Composers Orchestra
    Robert Wilson, stage director; Dennis Russell Davies, conductor

    Other Dates:
    12-14 July - Lincoln Center

Reviews
“Philip Glass is a musician of extraordinary ability, and chooses his collaborators well: Cocteau, Wilson, Freyer…he swims like a fish through the waters of the marketplace that contemporary society has become. Building on a foundation of serious music, and with more than a light flirting with light music, Glass has done his bit to attract a new audience to opera. His minimalism has been a crucial reference point for musical aesthetics over the past few decades, and in The White Raven is put at the service of a poetic and ironic text by the Portuguese writer Luisa Costa Gomes. It’s music with more tunes than we’re used to from Glass, and here receives strong support from the production’s visual element…An all-around success for the Teatro Real.”
Juan Angel Vela del Campo, El Pais,11/1/1998
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