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Copland, Aaron: The Second Hurricane (1936) 53'


A play opera in two acts for school performance

Music Text  
Libretto by Edwin Denby (E)

Scoring
2S,A,2T,Bar,B,3adult speakers; mixed chorus 1(=picc).1.2.asax(=tsax).1-0.2.1.0-timp.perc:susp.cym/cyms/SD/BD/ glsp/xyl/tgl/tam-t-pft-musical saw (theremin)-strings
Abbreviations (PDF)

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


For full details on this stagework, including synopsis and roles, please visit our Opera section.


World Premiere
4/21/1937
At The Playhouse, 466 Grand Street, New York, New York
Orson Welles, director / Music School of the Henry Street Settlement / Lehman Engel


Programme Note  
 In the years following the Great Depression, artists turned to socialist ideals of reaching the Masses. Copland was no exception. When the Henry Street Settlement Music School asked for an opera for children, he was eager to face a new challenge. "There's a certain excitement in hearing your music sung and played by an enthusiastic group of youngsters that no highly trained organization of grown-up professionals can produce," Copland wrote. He chose his friend, the noted dance critic and poet Edwin Denby to write the libretto. They created a simple and natural stage work that American youngsters could relate to in their lives using their own language. Hurricane has a simple plot with a moral. It tells the story of high school students stranded in a hurricane learning tolerance, courage and the spirit of freedom in a time of danger. For the premiere in 1937, a young Orson Welles was responsible for the staging. The opera has had several productions through the years, among them a staging by Leonard Bernstein in Boston in 1942, and his version for television in 1960.

-Vivian Perlis, 1998

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