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*Deutsch

Rorem, Ned

Bertha (1968)

Duration: 25 minutes
One act opera

Libretto by Kenneth Koch (E)

Scoring
M,5singers doubling roles; small chorus (optional); pft.
Abbreviations (PDF).


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



World Premiere
11/26/1973
Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY
Beverley Wolff and a cast of ten
Conductor: James Holmes

Roles

BERTHAMezzo Soprano
NOBLEMedium-High voice
TEACHERMedium-High voice
SCOTCHMANMedium-High voice
MANMedium-High voice
BARBARIAN CHIEFTAINMedium-High voice
COUNSELLORLow voice
THIRD SCOTCHMANLow voice
OFFICERMedium voice
SECOND SCOTCHMANMedium voice
NORWEGIAN CITIZENMedium voice
COMMON NORWEGIAN SOLDIERMedium voice
OLD MANMedium-Low voice
SECOND NORWEGIAN CITIZENMedium-Low voice
MESSENGERHigh voice
GIRLHigh voice
Chorus (optional)Sopranos, Altos, Tenors, and Basses


Time and Place
Medieval times, in and around the royal residence in Oslo, Norway


Synopsis
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.


Moods
Comic, Dramatic


Subjects
Politics, Society






Items on Sale

Bertha(Vocal Score)> Details
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