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Oedipus Rex

Photo: Eric Thorburn, The Glasgow Picture Library

Scottish Opera

Stravinsky, Igor

Oedipus Rex (1926-27, rev.1948)

Duration: 53 minutes

Opera-oratorio after Sophocles


English   Deutsch  

Libretto by Cocteau based on Sophocles (L-F,L-E,L-G)


Scoring

M,2T,Bar,3(or 2)B,narrator; male chorus 3(III=picc).2.corA.3(III=Ebcl).2.dbn-4.4.3.1-timp-perc(2):tamb/ t.mil/BD/cyms-harp-pft-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)


Territory

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


World Premiere
30/05/1927
Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt, Paris
Conductor: Igor Stravinsky
Company: Russian Ballet Orchestra

World stage premiere
23/02/1928
Vienna
Company: Vienna Staatsoper


Roles

OEDIPUS, King of Thebes Tenor
JOCASTA, his wife Mezzo Soprano
CREON, Jocasta's brother Bass Baritone
TIRESIAS, a soothsayer Bass
THE SHEPHERD Tenor
THE MESSENGER Bass Baritone
SPEAKER spoken role
Chorus Tenors, Basses

Time and Place

Ancient Greece


Synopsis

A speaker appears, to narrate each episode of the story before it happens. He warns us we will watch Oedipus falling into a trap waiting for him since his birth. The city of Thebes is afflicted by plague. In despair, the inhabitants turn to their king, Oedipus, who promises help. His ambitious brother-in-law, Creon, has learnt from the oracle that the plague has been sent because the murderer of the previous king, Laius, is still living in the city. Oedipus vows to find this man. He consults with the blind Tiresias who unwillingly tells him: ‘The murderer of the king is a king’. Jocasta, the widow of Laius and now the wife of Oedipus, tells her husband that Laius met his death twelve years before at a crossroads. Oedipus realises he himself is the murderer. News arrives of the death of Oedipus’s supposed father, Polybus, and the king discovers that he was adopted after being found abandoned as a baby on Mount Cithaeron. Hearing this, Jocasta realises that Oedipus, her husband and the murderer of her former husband, is their long-lost son. Off-stage, Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus, taking her pin of gold, puts out his own eyes. Blinded, he reappears once more in front of the citizens, before turning away and leaving Thebes forever.


Moods

Dramatic, Tragic


Subjects

Literary, Mythology, Relationships, Society


Recommended Recording

Vinson Cole, Anne Sofie von Otter, Simon Estes, Hans Sotin, Nicolai Gedda, Swedish Radio Chorus, Ericson Chamber Choir, Orphei Drängar, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen
Sony SK48057

Click here to purchase this CD set from Amazon


Oedipus Rex


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