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Libretto by John Olon-Scrymgeour (E)

Scoring

S,M,4T,2Bar,B; chorus; 4dancers
0.2(II=corA).0.1-0.2.1.0-timp.perc(1):cyms/susp.cyms/t.bells/glsp/
tamb/sleigh bells/tgl-harp-strings(0.0.2.1.0)

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
1/9/1964
Tyrone Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota
John Olon-Scrymgeour, director
Conductor: Thomas Nee
Company: Minnesota Center Opera Company

Roles

METATRON, the officer in charge Baritone
SANDOLFON, his aide de camp Tenor
SADRIEL, the company clerk Tenor
Jeremiel, a Principality Tenor
RAGUEL, another PRINCIPALITY Baritone
JOHN, a young man Tenor
ANN, a young woman Soprano
THE SPINSTER Mezzo-Soprano
THE PROFESSOR Bass
Time and Place

The present, in a church

Synopsis

A few angels, led by Sandolfon, enter an empty church to inspect the sanctuary.  Sandolfon tells them that their leader, Metatron, has been displeased with their work.  Suddenly, Metatron appears, accompanied by Jeremiel and Raguel.  Metatron criticizes the group and reminds the angels of their purpose for gathering: “To encourage one mortal love.”  A mortal, John, who cannot see or hear the angels, arrives in the church.  Metatron summons the presence of the Spinster and the Professor to prevent John from leaving the church.  John confesses to the Spinster that he is there to meet Ann, whom he would like to marry, but he has his doubts.  The Professor encourages Ann.  Ann enters, and John hesitantly asks her to marry him.  They both discuss their doubts as Metatron and Raguel urge the chorus to lend some encouragement.  Time is suspended for the two lovers, and Metatron delivers a sermon, encouraging John and Ann to face the difficulties of life.  For a fleeting moment, Ann seems to see the angels surrounding her, and her beatitude is transferred to John.  They accept the imperfections of human love, and the angels go on to their next assignment.

Moods

Dramatic, Poetic, Romantic

Subjects

Mythology, Relationships, Religion

Recommended Recording
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