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Music Text

Libretto adapted from the Book of Revelation by D E Sattler (G)

Scoring

Major roles: S,A,T,Bar,B; minor roles: 3S,3A,CT,T,Bar,B;
boys' chorus; dancers
1.afl.1.corA.Ebcl.bhn.1.dbn-2.2.atrbn.ttrbn.0-timp.perc(2):glsp/xyl/
tubular bells/tgl/sleigh bells/cowbells/large cowbell/susp.cym/cyms/
tam-t/2 pairs of bongos (large and small)/tamb/SD/TD/BD/2wdbl/
2tpl.bl/2maracas (different sizes)/guiro-harp-strings(5.0.4.3.1)

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
4/28/1990
Munich Biennale
Ruth Berghaus, director
Conductor: Adam Fischer
Company: Staatstheater Kassel

Roles

JOHANNES I Tenor
JOHANNES II Baritone
X Bass
ANGELUS NOVUS Soprano
ANGELUS ANTIQUUS Contralto
TERZETT I 3 Sopranos
TERZETT II 3 Altos
QUATUOR (THE FOUR BEASTS) Countertenor/Tenor/Baritone/Bass
CHILDREN'S CHOIR (the 24 eldest) 12 Sopranos, 12 Altos
2 CHILDREN'S VOICES FROM THE CHOIR Soprano/Alto
SPEAKING CHOIR Players in the orchestra
Angel with incense/The Wife/Fiance of the Lamb/Babylonian Whore Female Dancer
The Lamb/Michael/Angel with scythe Male Dancer
The Dragon/Angel with the heavenly host Male Dancer
First Beast Male Dancer
Second Beast Male Dancer
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 1-4 Male Dancers
The four Angels of the Wind 1-4 Male Dancers
The seven Angels of the Plague 1-4 Male Dancers
Synopsis

According to the old Jewish calendar, the sixth millennium of our history is just beginning its last quarter, its ‘evening hour’. The advanced state of civilisation on our planet enables us to foresee the plagues and ruin to come – it even compels us to think of the end. Here we stand, looking back hopelessly across the generations and the millennia at the chances lost, the teachings neglected, and the prophetic spirit shunned or betrayed. That spirit informs a wonderful New Testament text that is about us and is our concern. The Apocalypse – the Revelation of St John the Divine – is at once a cultural critique and a penitential sermon. Both derive from the great tradition of the old Jewish prophecies, and spring directly from the early Christian era. Uniting them is a synoptic vision of finite history, with its metaphysical horizons vaulted above.

Wolfgang von Schweinitz

Moods

Poetic

Subjects

Literary, Religion, Society




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