Bertha (1968)Duration: 25 minutes
One act opera
Libretto by Kenneth Koch (E)
M,5singers doubling roles; small chorus (optional); pft.
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY
Beverley Wolff and a cast of ten
Conductor: James Holmes
|BARBARIAN CHIEFTAIN||Medium-High voice|
|THIRD SCOTCHMAN||Low voice|
|SECOND SCOTCHMAN||Medium voice|
|NORWEGIAN CITIZEN||Medium voice|
|COMMON NORWEGIAN SOLDIER||Medium voice|
|OLD MAN||Medium-Low voice|
|SECOND NORWEGIAN CITIZEN||Medium-Low voice|
|Chorus (optional)||Sopranos, Altos, Tenors, and Basses|
Time and Place
Medieval times, in and around the royal residence in Oslo, Norway
The opera depicts the rise, decline, and ultimate triumph of a distinctly looney monarch. As her garrison is surrounded by barbarians, the mad and bloodthirsty Queen Bertha of Oslo directs an attack. She appears in a ring of white eagles, frightening the barbarians off. A teacher questions her, "Are not the people themselves barbarians?" She has him beheaded and higher learning thereby "disreinstated". Once the country is at peace, the dissatisfied Bertha declares war on Scotland. The Counselor objects to such ceaseless wars, so Bertha dismisses the Council. When young lovers meet in Bertha’s garden they are shot dead – Bertha does not approve of lovers' trysts. As she grows older, her madness increases. She longs for new adventures. Bertha gives Norway to the barbarians in order to reconquer it. She succeeds, but falls dead on her regained throne. All the people hail her as a great queen.
Items on Sale
|Bertha||(Vocal Score)||> Details|