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Photo: Illustration: Alex Tamkin

Tamkin, David

The Dybbuk (1928-31)

Duration: 135 minutes
Music drama in three acts

Libretto by Alex Tamkin after S Ansky (E)

Scoring
Major roles: S,M,2A,2T,2Bar,BBar,B minor roles: S,7T,4Bar,speaker,4mimes; chorus 3.3.4.3-4.4.3.1-timp.perc(2):tam-t/susp.cym/tgl/xyl/SD/tambour/tamb/ BD-2harp-cel-pft-strings.
Abbreviations (PDF).


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



World Premiere
10/4/1951
City Center, New York, New York
Conductor: Joseph Rosenstock
Company: New York City Opera Company

Roles

CHANNONTenor
LEAHSoprano
THE MESSENGERBaritone
RABBI ASRAELTenor
MEYERBass Baritone
SENDERBass
CHENNOCHBaritone
FRADEContralto
ELDERLY WOMANContralto
GITTALMezzo Soprano
BASSIAContralto
FIRST BATLONTenor
SECOND BATLONBass
THIRD BATLONTenor
MENASHETenor
RABBI MENDELTenor
RABBI SCHMELKEmime
A POOR MANmime
A RICH MANmime
MICHOELBass
FIRST CHASSIDTenor
SECOND CHASSIDTenor
THIRD CHASSIDBaritone
A WEDDING GUESTTenor
THE OLD WOMANSoprano
Chorus of Beggars
Ballet of Beggars
Seven Students
Chassidim
Minyen (group of 10 people)


Time and Place
time and place not specified


Synopsis
A poor Talmudic student, Channon, and a young girl named Leah are passionately in love.  Unfortunately, Leah’s father, Sender, has plans for her to wed a wealthy man. In order to gain enough riches to win Leah, Channon studies the Kabala and masters the power to call upon the Evil One, but the knowledge kills him. With Channon dead, Leah prepares for her wedding day, knowing that she doesn’t love her father’s arranged bridegroom. She visits the grave of her mother but falls into complete despair at the site of Channon’s grave. As the chosen bridegroom places the veil over her face, the spirit of Channon takes possession of her body to find fulfillment through her. This is the Dybbuk. Distraught, her father takes her to Azrael, a “wonder-working” rabbi, who summons the spirit of Channon's father. Azrael learns that Sender had promised Channon’s father, when they were both young, that their children would be married when they reached maturity. Sender has broken the pledge, and he accepts his punishment. An exorcism releases the Dybbuk from Leah’s body and Azrael orders Sender to prepare the marriage. But Leah, calling upon Channon, dies and is united with her lover.


Moods
Dramatic, Romantic


Subjects
Magic/Mystery, Relationships, Society





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