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Argento, Dominick

Colonel Jonathan the Saint (1958-60)

Duration: 135 minutes
A comedy of Reconstruction in four acts and an interlude of waltzes

Libretto by John Olon-Scrymgeour (E)

Major roles: lyr/colS,dramS,S,2M,lyrT,hT,Bar,BBar; minor roles: narrator,3S,2A,T,Bar; chorus 2(II=picc).2(II=corA).2(II=bcl).2- susp.cyms/t.bells/glsp/SD/BD/tamb-cel-harp-pft-strings
Abbreviations (PDF)

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

World Premiere
Loretto Heights College, Denver, Colorado
John Olon-Scrymgeour, director
Conductor: Norman Johnson
Company: Denver Lyric Opera


HENRY, a negro servantBaritone
CLEOPATRA, a negro servantSoprano
ALLEGRA HARPER, aged 60Lyric-Soprano
1st Lady*Soprano
2nd Lady*Soprano
3rd Lady*Contralto
DAISY, Allegra's niece, aged 18Soprano
COLONEL JONATHAN GILOURIN of the Union Army, a guestTenor
MARY CHAIRS, aunt to Cleopatra, aged 80Soprano
Old Gentleman*Lyric-Tenor
Sabrina, widow of a Confederate soldier; Daisy's sisterDramatic-Soprano
CAPTAIN MULLIKIN, skipper of the packet steamer Bay BelleBass-Baritone
Plain Girl*Soprano
Pretty Girl*Contralto
A Servant*Baritone
The Confederate SoldierTenor
Guests, excursionists, dancers, etc.
*these characters are also part of the chorus

Time and Place
The years following the American Civil War, Maryland, USA

During the American Civil War, Lyonesse, a house in Maryland, was partially burned during a Union raid.  After the war, Allegra Harper and her niece Daisy are trying to convert the house into a hotel.  Helping them is Colonel Jonathan Gilourin, the leader of the soldiers who set fire to the house during the war.  Daisy’s sister Sabrina, the owner of Lyonesse, arrives after searching for three years for news about the death of her Confederate husband. Jonathan looks amazingly like Sabrina’s husband, although Sabrina doesn’t notice.  He expresses interest in Sabrina romantically, but she rejects him.  Jonathan enlists Daisy’s help, and asks her to describe Sabrina’s husband more fully.  Reluctantly, she shares a letter from Sabrina that describes her husband’s last words and farewell.  Jonathan utters the words Sabrina’s husband said to her upon his departure.  As if in a fantasy state, Sabrina embraces Jonathan.  Jonathan and Sabrina marry, but the Colonel is tormented by Sabrina’s inability to let go of her husband’s memory.  Alone at night, Sabrina begins to extinguish the lamps in the house.  The lights mysteriously come up to reveal her dead husband calling to her.  They embrace and pledge everlasting love.

Comic, Dramatic, Romantic

Magic/Mystery, Relationships, Society

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