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Photo: Thomas Huther
Opernhaus Staatstheater Kassel 1998/99

Argento, Dominick

The Dream of Valentino (1993)

Duration: 135 minutes
Opera in two acts

Libretto by Charles Nolte (E,G)

colS,S,M,A,lyrT,T,BBar; chorus 2(II=picc).2(II=corA).2(I=asax, II=bcl).2(II=dbn)- BD/bell tree/cast/chimes/choke cym/claves/cyms/glsp/maracas/SD/ steel plate/susp.cym/tamb/tam-t/tpl.bl/timbales/tgl/xyl-harp-synth (Yamaha DX7).pft(=cel)-strings.
Abbreviations (PDF).

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

World Premiere
The Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
Ann-Margret Pettersson, director
Conductor: Christopher Keene
Company: Washington Opera


JUNE MATHIS, a screenwriterSoprano
THE MOGULBass-Baritone
MARVIN HEENO, the Mogul's nephew and assistantLyric Tenor
NATACHA RAMBOVA, a Hollywood director and designerMezzo-soprano
JEAN ACKER, a young actressLyric coloratura soprano
Alla Nazimova, a celebrated movie starContralto
Ballroom managerBaritone
Woman in RedMezzo Soprano
4 Yes-men2 tenors, 2 basses
3 ReportersTenor, Baritone, Bass
3 SecretariesSoprano, 2 Contraltos
Dialogue CoachSoprano
6 (or 3) Photographers2 Tenors, 2 Baritones, 2 Basses
Makeup WomanContralto
Publicity ManBaritone
Man with arrest warrantTenor

Time and Place
the 1920s, New York and Los Angeles

Rudolph Valentino, just arrived from Italy, is the most popular dancer at a Broadway dance palace, though he aspires to be a great stage actor. June Mathis, a film researcher, meets and becomes infatuated with him and predicts that he will have a career in Hollywood. The Mogul examines the film of a bit actor in a B-movie, Rudolph Valentino, and makes a note to watch him in the future even though he is on contract with Metro, a rival studio. Valentino signs a personal contract with the famous actress Alla Nazimova and afterwards proposes what turns out to be a disastrous marriage to the actress Jean Acker. Valentino becomes an overnight sensation with the release of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the Mogul buys out Valentino's Metro contract. In the course of filming of The Sheik, the beleaguered Mogul finds out about both Valentino's personal contract with Nazimova and his potentially scandalous marriage with Acker. As a result, Valentino is forced against his will into his next film, Monsieur Beaucaire, which fails miserably at the box office. Valentino suddenly feels as though he has no control of his career, and drops out of Hollywood, taking up the life of an itinerant actor and dancer. Valentino dies in a New York hospital as headlines proclaim his passing. In the end, the great legend of the tragic actor inspires those who attend his funeral in different ways.

Dramatic, Romantic, Tragic

Contemporary, Relationships, Society, Music/Arts

Items on Sale

Dream Of ValentinoLibretto> Details
Dream Of Valentino(Vocal Score)> Details
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