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Schwertsik, Kurt

Der lange Weg zur Großen Mauer (1974)

(The Long Way to the Great Wall)

Duration: 90 minutes

Opera in two acts


English   Deutsch  

Libretto by Richard Bletschacher (G)


Scoring

S,2M,3T,4Bar,9speakers; chorus; 2(=picc).1.corA.1.Ebcl.bcl.1.dbn-4.3.3.1-timp.perc(2):3tom-t/2cym/ susp.cym/whip/large tam-t/BD/bell-vib-harp-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)


Territory

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


World Premiere
13/05/1975
Ulm
Peter Borchardt, director
Conductor: Friedrich Pleyer
Company: Ulm Opera


Roles

WANG SI-LANG, a young landowner Baritone
MENG TJANG-NU, his wife Lyric Soprano
NEIGHBOUR Mezzo Soprano
NEIGHBOUR'S SON Spoken role
A YOUNG WOMAN Spoken role
CHUAN, an old man from the village Bass
INNKEEPER Mezzo Soprano
A PEASANT Spoken role
A BALLAD SINGER Tenor
1ST SOLDIER Baritone
2ND SOLDIER Tenor
4 OLD AND 5 YOUNG WORKERS Spoken roles
AN OLD WOMAN Spoken role
THE SUPERVISOR Baritone
SHI HUANG-TI, the emperor Tenor
THE ORACLE Baritone
Workers, Peasants, Soldiers, Bigshots, Court officials and Imperial women Chorus

Time and Place

China, in ancient times


Synopsis

A young woman from the southern part of the Chinese empire bids farewell to her husband, who is part of the town’s quota to be forcibly taken off to the North during the building of the Great Wall. He hopes to return the following Autumn, but the omens are not good. She starts work on a jacket to keep him warm and when it is ready she sets out on the ‘Long Way’ to the North in search of her husband. The progressive long journey reveals the woman’s devotion for her husband. After many difficulties she reaches the building site and discovers that he has been accidentally killed and lies buried beneath the stones of the Wall. Her tears cause part of the wall to collapse and the young Emperor takes an interest in this unusual woman. She succeeds in persuading the Emperor to allow her to look for the body of her dead husband and arrange to have it buried. The Emperor orders the Wall to be pulled down and the dead man is found. At his burial, the woman throws her husband’s jacket upon his body in the grave and embraces eternity.


Moods

Poetic, Tragic


Subjects

Ethics, History, Politics, Relationships, Society




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