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*Deutsch

Schwertsik, Kurt

Der lange Weg zur Großen Mauer (1974)

(The Long Way to the Great Wall)
Duration: 90 minutes
Opera in two acts

Libretto by Richard Bletschacher (G)

Scoring
S,2M,3T,4Bar,9speakers; chorus; 2(=picc).1.corA.1.Ebcl.bcl.1.dbn-4.3.3.1-timp.perc(2):3tom-t/2cym/ susp.cym/whip/large tam-t/BD/bell-vib-harp-strings.
Abbreviations (PDF).


Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.



World Premiere
5/13/1975
Ulm
Peter Borchardt, director
Conductor: Friedrich Pleyer
Company: Ulm Opera

Roles

WANG SI-LANG, a young landownerBaritone
MENG TJANG-NU, his wifeLyric Soprano
NEIGHBOURMezzo Soprano
NEIGHBOUR'S SONSpoken role
A YOUNG WOMANSpoken role
CHUAN, an old man from the villageBass
INNKEEPERMezzo Soprano
A PEASANTSpoken role
A BALLAD SINGERTenor
1ST SOLDIERBaritone
2ND SOLDIERTenor
4 OLD AND 5 YOUNG WORKERSSpoken roles
AN OLD WOMANSpoken role
THE SUPERVISORBaritone
SHI HUANG-TI, the emperorTenor
THE ORACLEBaritone
Workers, Peasants, Soldiers, Bigshots, Court officials and Imperial womenChorus


Time and Place
China, in ancient times


Synopsis

A young woman from the southern part of the Chinese empire bids farewell to her husband, who is part of the town’s quota to be forcibly taken off to the North during the building of the Great Wall. He hopes to return the following Autumn, but the omens are not good. She starts work on a jacket to keep him warm and when it is ready she sets out on the ‘Long Way’ to the North in search of her husband. The progressive long journey reveals the woman’s devotion for her husband. After many difficulties she reaches the building site and discovers that he has been accidentally killed and lies buried beneath the stones of the Wall. Her tears cause part of the wall to collapse and the young Emperor takes an interest in this unusual woman. She succeeds in persuading the Emperor to allow her to look for the body of her dead husband and arrange to have it buried. The Emperor orders the Wall to be pulled down and the dead man is found. At his burial, the woman throws her husband’s jacket upon his body in the grave and embraces eternity.


Moods
Poetic, Tragic


Subjects
Ethics, History, Relationships, Politics, Society





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