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Birtwistle, Harrison: The Last Supper (1998-99) 110'
Dramatic tableaux for 14 soloists, small female chorus and chamber orchestra

Music Text

Robin Blaser (E-L)


Main roles: S,T,Bar Secondary roles: 2CT,4T,2Bar,BBar,2B Chorus*: 3S,3M,3A; pre-recorded female chorus; pre-recorded mixed chorus 2(=picc,afl).2(=corA).2(I=Ebcl,bcl,II=bcl,dbcl).2(I,II=dbn)- 2.2.2(I=btpt,btrbn,II=btrbn).*1-timp.perc(2):2tgl/mark tree/4wdbl/ cabaca/tamb/4bongos/2tom-t/2military dr/TD/2BD(sm,lg)/2hi-hats/ 3susp.cym(+bow)/tam-t(lg)/tam-t*/nipple gong(lg)/nohharp*-synth.sampler+kbd or laptop+kbd-accordion*-strings(

* amplified

Abbreviations (PDF)


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

Staatsoper, Berlin
Martin Duncan, director / Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin / Daniel Barenboim

Press Quotes

"...a magnificent and enthralling work... Birtwistle has created a powerfully melancholic soundworld, at once richly lyrical and hieratic."
The Observer

""Who is the betrayer? What has been betrayed?" Christ taunts his disciples. And with those words he forces the 11 to re-admit Judas to the circle of apostles... Ultimately Christ and the apostles enter the olive garden. The cock crows. The end. What hardly seems like musico-dramatic material is transformed into an utterly gripping uninterrupted two hours of music theatre thanks to a compelling libretto by Blaser and the unyieldingly riveting music of Birtwistle."
Die Welt

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