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Beeson, Jack

Doctor Heidegger's Fountain of Youth (1978)

Duration: 42 minutes

Chamber opera in one act


English   Deutsch  

Libretto by Sheldon Harnick after the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne (E)


Scoring

S,M,T,Bar,BBar,speaker(female) 1.0.2.0-0.0.0.0-timp.perc(1):glsp/tgl/tom-t(3 or 4)/tam-t/bamboos (percussionist also plays piano strings)-pft(=cel,harm)-1.1.1.1.1

Abbreviations (PDF)


Territory

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


World Premiere
17/11/1978
New York, New York
Jack Eddelman, director
Conductor: Thomas Martin
Company: National Arts Club


Roles

RACHEL LOCKHART, a widow Lyric Soprano
HANNAH MOODY, a spinster Mezzo-Soprano
REUBEN WATERFORD Tenor
COLONEL KILLIGREW Baritone
DR. HEIDEGGER Bass or Bass-Baritone
A Maid speaking role

Time and Place

Mid-nineteenth century, Dr. Heidegger's study


Synopsis

Dr. Heidegger invites four friends to his home to test one of his new experiments. The friends - Colonel Killigrew, Reuben Waterford, Rachel Lockhart, and Hannah Moody - are very old. When they inquire as to the nature of the evening's experiment, Dr. Heidegger produces a flask which, he proclaims, contains water from the Fountain of Youth. He pours some of the water onto a dried rose, and it springs back to life. Impressed, the four friends agree to drink from the flask. They are instantly more youthful; however, old feelings are rejuvenated. Rachel becomes the coquette she had been as a young woman and begins to flirt with Killigrew and Waterford, who respond as passionately as they had when they were young men. Hannah Moody, who had been in love with Waterford in her youth, finds that her feelings of unrequited love have been revived. The two men begin to fight, and they accidentally knock over the flask of water. The rose withers and the four friends age. They vow to go in search of the Fountain of Youth. Dr. Heidegger declines to accompany them, saying that he is grateful to have left the delirium of youth behind.


Moods

Dramatic


Subjects

Literary, Magic/Mystery, Relationships, Society




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