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Philidor, François-André

Tom Jones (1765, rev.1766)

Duration: 150 minutes
Opera in three acts in the version edited by Nicolas McGegan and Adrian Salter (1971, pub 1980)

Libretto by Antoine Alexandre Poinsinet after the novel by Henry Fielding, translated by Adrian Salter (E)

Abbreviations (PDF).

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

World Premiere
Théâtre de l'Hotel de Bourgogne, Paris
Company: Comedie-Italienne

World premiere of version
ADC Theatre, Cambridge
Nicholas Reynold, director
Conductor: Nicholas McGegan
Company: Cambridge University Opera Society


SOPHIA, daughter to Mr WesternSoprano
MRS HONOUR, companion to SophiaSoprano
MRS WESTERN, sister to Mr WesternMezzo Soprano
MR WESTERN, a country squireBass Baritone
TOM JONES, Mr Allworthy's WardTenor
BLIFIL, nephew and heir to Mr AllworthyTenor
ALLWORTHY, a wealthy neighbourBaritone
DOWLING, a Quaker resident in Allworthy's householdSpoken role
Huntsmen and Drunkardsmale chorus or 4 soloists (2 Tenors and 2 Basses)

Time and Place
Mr Western's country house


Squire Western's daughter Sophia is secretly in love with Tom Jones, the foundling brought up by the Westerns’ neighbour, Mr Allworthy. Her companion, Mrs Honour, guesses her attachment, and repeats to Sophia the avowals of love she has heard Tom himself make with regard to Sophia. But Sophia’s aunt Mrs Western has misread the situation, and believes Blifil, Allworthy’s nephew and heir, to be the object of Sophia’s affection. For this reason, she tells her brother that Sophia is in love with Blifil. Somewhat surprised – since Blifil is a poor huntsman, certainly when compared to Tom Jones – Western quickly grasps the financial advantage of the situation and has Allworthy summoned to make the necessary arrangements. When Mrs Western informs Sophie of the matter, however, the latter is horrified but her pleas are in vain. Blifil is her appointed betrothed, and Tom is banished from the Allworthy house. Together with Mrs Honour, Sophia flees, taking shelter for the night at a nearby inn, where they are rescued from some drunken oafs by Tom, who has also lodged there. So too has Dowling, a Quaker member of the Allworthy household, who knows (as does Blifil) that Tom is in reality the latter’s elder half-brother, and therefore rightful heir to the Allworthy fortune. The arrival of Western and his neighbour brings about a happy dénouement for all but Blifil: Dowling reveals Tom’s parentage, and he is welcomed back into the Allworthy fold and granted his dearest wish – the hand of Sophia in marriage.

Comic, Romantic

Relationships, Literary

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