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Photo: Eric Thorburn, The Glasgow Picture Library
Scottish Opera

Stravinsky, Igor

Oedipus Rex (1926-27, rev.1948)

Duration: 53 minutes
Opera-oratorio after Sophocles

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
5/30/1927
Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt, Paris
Conductor: Igor Stravinsky
Company: Russian Ballet Orchestra



World stage premiere
2/23/1928
Vienna
Company: Vienna Staatsoper

Roles

OEDIPUS, King of ThebesTenor
JOCASTA, his wifeMezzo Soprano
CREON, Jocasta's brotherBass Baritone
TIRESIAS, a soothsayerBass
THE SHEPHERDTenor
THE MESSENGERBass Baritone
SPEAKERspoken role
ChorusTenors, 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
Mythology, Relationships, Society, Literary


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


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Items on Sale

Oedipus RexSATB (Vocal Score) (Latin)> Details
Oedipus Rex & Symphony Of Psalms(Full score - Masterworks)> Details
Oedipus Rex (rev 1948)(Full score)> Details
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