• Find us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on Instagram
  • View Our YouTube Channel
  • Listen on Spotify
  • View our scores on nkoda
Music Text

Libretto by Béla Balász; English version by Chester Kallman (H,E,G)


S,B, 3mimes, speaker (optional)
small dr/tam-t/cyms/susp.cym/xyl/tgl-2harp-cel-org-strings
On-stage: 4tpt.4trbn

Abbreviations (PDF)

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

Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the USA only.


Repertoire Note

Often now well paired with Schoenberg’s Erwartung or Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Bartók’s opera was originally performed as a companion work to his ballet, The Wooden Prince. His librettist, Béla Balázs, wanted “to depict a modern soul in the primary colours of folksong”. The partnership worked better here, dramatically and musically, than in their balletic collaboration a few years later. As the opera lasts for under one hour, involves only two singing voices, and is a psychological drama, concert performances are also highly effective.

Note by Malcolm Gillies

Recommended Recording

László Polgár, Jessye Norman, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez
Deutsche Grammophon 447 040-2

Click here to purchase this CD from Amazon


Stay updated on the latest composer news and publications