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Maconchy, Elizabeth

The Birds (1967-68)

Duration: 40 minutes

Extravaganza in one act after Aristophanes


English   Deutsch  

Libretto by the composer (E)


Scoring

Tr,T,2Bar,BBar,3speakers; chorus 2(II=picc).2.2.2-2.2.3.1-timp.perc(2):cel/xyl/tgl/cyms/SD/BD-harp-pft-strings offstage: up to 12 recorders

Abbreviations (PDF)


Territory

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


World Premiere
05/06/1968
Bishop's Stortford College for Boys, Bishop's Stortford
Company: Students from Bishop's Stortford College for Boys


Roles

PITHETAERUS Spoken role
EUELPIDES Spoken role
THE HOOPOE, King of the Birds Tenor
ROBIN, Leader of the Birds Baritone
NIGHTINGALE Treble
BEAT-POET Baritone
SCHOOLMASTER Bass-Baritone
SPECULATOR Spoken role

Time and Place

An open space between earth and sky.


Synopsis

Pithetaerus and his friend Euelpides have come in search of the kingdom of the birds. On meeting the King, the Hoopoe, they advise him to build a great future for the birds by founding a city and dominating mankind. Eventually they persuade all the feathered company to build a wall around the new domain. Three visitors come to disturb the peace: the first is a beat-poet, who is swiftly driven out, the second a schoolmaster, in whom the birds are totally uninterested. The last visitor (who can be altered according to the individual production) is a speculator, who wants to use the birds' territory as an airport. Pithetaerus backs his project, emphasising the power it will give the bird community. They want nothing to do with it, however, and throw the speculator and the would-be dictator Pithetaerus out. As they say goodbye to the audience, they advise them to have nothing to do with dictators.


Moods

Comic, Poetic


Subjects

Literary, Politics, Society




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