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Libretto by the composer, based on the novel by John Steinbeck (E)

Scoring

S,4T,2Bar; male chorus
2(II=picc).2(II=corA).2(II=corA).2(II=bcl).2-4.2.2.1-timp.perc(3):vib/glsp/xyl/tgl/tamb/gong/SD/BD/TD/susp.cym/crash cym/whip-harp-cel-strings

Reduced orchestration by Jim Medvitz:
1(=picc).1(=corA).1(=bcl).1-2.1.1.1-timp.perc(2):vib/glsp/xyl/tgl/tamb/gong/SD/BD/TD/susp.cym/crash cym/whip-cel-harp-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
22/01/1970
Seattle Opera House, Seattle, Washington
Frank Corsaro, director
Conductor: Anton Coppola
Company: Seattle Opera

Roles

LENNIE SMALL Tenor
GEORGE MILTON Baritone
CURLEY Tenor
CANDY Bass
CURLEY'S WIFE Soprano
SLIM Baritone
CARLSON Tenor
Ballad Singer Tenor
Ranch Hands (at least 8) Male Chorus
Time and Place

1930s, an agricultural valley in northern California

Synopsis

Of Mice and Men is based on John Steinbeck’s tragic tale of two migrant ranch workers in pursuit of a simple dream: to own a small house and farm of their own.


George and his traveling companion Lennie, who has the physique and strength of a giant, a child’s mind, and a love for soft things he can stroke and pet, have constant problems with their employers, as Lennie unknowingly creates difficulties for George and himself.  George is frequently exasperated, but forgives Lennie and is sustained by their dream.


Hired by contentious ranch-owner Curley, who is frequently at jealous odds with his wife, George and Lennie are joined in their plans for a home by the old ranch hand Candy, whose savings bring them near their goal.  Suddenly, however, they lose all prospects: Curley’s wife invites Lennie to stroke her soft hair, but when he does not stop she begins to scream in terror.  Fearing he will get into trouble again, Lennie tries to stifle her screams and unwittingly kills her.  George, while placating Lennie with thoughts of their long-held dreams, shoots his friend to save him from a brutal lynching.

Moods

Dramatic, Tragic

Subjects

Literary, Relationships, Society




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