Libretto by Martin Esslin after Shelley's verse drama 'The Cenci' (E)
S,M,A,3T,2Bar,2B; small roles; chorus;
Goldschmidt’s second opera was one of four prize-winning works in the British Arts Council’s ‘Festival of Britain’ competition in 1949, but it never received the promised performance and had to wait forty years for its concert premiere in London in 1988 and its staged premiere in Magdeburg in 1994. Consciously written in a modern ‘bel canto’ idiom, Beatrice Cenci is a more opulent and romantic opera than its predecessor and contains some of Goldschmidt’s most passionate and eloquent music.
"Its story is moving, its framework taut and its web of themes individually memorable."
"...disturbing, allusive and pungently beautiful."
"Goldschmidt's opera music deserves a firm place in the repertoire: written so that the text is truly sung, the music is rich and colourful, stimulating and touching; the singers are helped by its easy vocal lines, and the listener held spellbound by its graphic, illustrative power..."