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Libretto by the composer, after the story by Robert Louis Stevenson (E)

Scoring

S,2T,BBar; chorus 2(II=picc).2(II=corA).2(II=bcl).2-4.2.2.1-timp.perc(2):chimes/vib/ xyl/glsp/gong/susp.cym/cyms/wdbl/whip/SD/TD/BD/tamb-harp-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
31/03/1966
New Orleans, Louisiana
Carlisle Floyd, director
Conductor: Knud Anderson
Company: New Orleans Opera

Roles

JOSIAH CREACH Tenor
MARKHEIM Bass-Baritone
TESS Soprano
A STRANGER Tenor
Carolers (off stage) Mixed Chorus
Time and Place

1880- London

Synopsis

Floyd conceived Markheim, a one-act dramatization of a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, as a vehicle for the bass Norman Treigle, who sang the lead role in the premiere.
Markheim, a decadent aristocrat, tries to obtain money from a pawnshop on Christmas Eve.  When he is refused a loan – and taunted beyond endurance- by Josiah Creach, the pawnbroker, he kills Creach and searches for his cashbox.  A mysterious stranger enters the pawnshop and reveals supernatural knowledge of Markheim and his actions.
The stranger tells Markheim that if he forswears guilt and conscience, he will show him where the pawnbroker kept his money.  He also says that Creach’s servant girl Tess will soon return and find her employer’s body.  During an argument between Markheim and the stranger, Tess does return and the stranger urges Markheim to kill her also.
Markheim cannot murder the terrified girl and asks her to call the police.  The infuriated stranger vanishes.  Markheim hears Christmas carolers offstage.  Now, redeemed and in tears, he joins them in singing and awaits his arrest.

 

Moods

Dramatic

Subjects

Ethics, Literary, Magic/Mystery, Society

Recommended Recording

Norman Treigle, Alan Crofoot, Audrey Schuh and William Diard, New Orleans Opera, Knud Andersson
Video Artists International VAI 1107

Click here to purchase this CD from Amazon

Markheim


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