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*Deutsch

Maconchy, Elizabeth

The Birds (1967-68)

Duration: 40 minutes
Extravaganza in one act after Aristophanes

Libretto by the composer (E)

Scoring
Tr,T,2Bar,BBar,3speakers; chorus 2(II=picc).2.2.2-2.2.3.1-timp.perc(2):cel/xyl/tgl/cyms/SD/BD-harp-pft-strings offstage: up to 12 recorders.
Abbreviations (PDF).


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



World Premiere
6/5/1968
Bishop's Stortford College for Boys, Bishop's Stortford
Company: Students from Bishop's Stortford College for Boys

Roles

PITHETAERUSSpoken role
EUELPIDESSpoken role
THE HOOPOE, King of the BirdsTenor
ROBIN, Leader of the BirdsBaritone
NIGHTINGALETreble
BEAT-POETBaritone
SCHOOLMASTERBass-Baritone
SPECULATORSpoken role


Time and Place
An open space between earth and sky.


Synopsis

Pithetaerus and his friend Euelpides have come in search of the kingdom of the birds. On meeting the King, the Hoopoe, they advise him to build a great future for the birds by founding a city and dominating mankind. Eventually they persuade all the feathered company to build a wall around the new domain. Three visitors come to disturb the peace: the first is a beat-poet, who is swiftly driven out, the second a schoolmaster, in whom the birds are totally uninterested. The last visitor (who can be altered according to the individual production) is a speculator, who wants to use the birds' territory as an airport. Pithetaerus backs his project, emphasising the power it will give the bird community. They want nothing to do with it, however, and throw the speculator and the would-be dictator Pithetaerus out. As they say goodbye to the audience, they advise them to have nothing to do with dictators.


Moods
Comic, Poetic


Subjects
Politics, Society, Literary





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