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Libretto by Charles Nolte (E,G)

Scoring

colS,S,M,A,lyrT,T,BBar; chorus
2(II=picc).2(II=corA).2(I=asax, II=bcl).2(II=dbn)-3.2.1.1-timp.perc(2):
BD/bell tree/cast/chimes/choke cym/claves/cyms/glsp/maracas/SD/
steel plate/susp.cym/tamb/tam-t/tpl.bl/timbales/tgl/xyl-harp-synth
(Yamaha DX7).pft(=cel)-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
15/01/1994
The Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
Ann-Margret Pettersson, director
Conductor: Christopher Keene
Company: Washington Opera

Roles

RUDOLPH VALENTINO Tenor
JUNE MATHIS, a screenwriter Soprano
THE MOGUL Bass-Baritone
MARVIN HEENO, the Mogul's nephew and assistant Lyric Tenor
NATACHA RAMBOVA, a Hollywood director and designer Mezzo-soprano
JEAN ACKER, a young actress Lyric coloratura soprano
Alla Nazimova, a celebrated movie star Contralto
Ballroom manager Baritone
Woman in Red Mezzo Soprano
4 Yes-men 2 tenors, 2 basses
3 Reporters Tenor, Baritone, Bass
3 Secretaries Soprano, 2 Contraltos
Dialogue Coach Soprano
6 (or 3) Photographers 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones, 2 Basses
Makeup Woman Contralto
Publicity Man Baritone
Costumer Tenor
Lawyer Bass
Man with arrest warrant Tenor
Time and Place

the 1920s, New York and Los Angeles

Synopsis

Rudolph Valentino, just arrived from Italy, is the most popular dancer at a Broadway dance palace, though he aspires to be a great stage actor. June Mathis, a film researcher, meets and becomes infatuated with him and predicts that he will have a career in Hollywood. The Mogul examines the film of a bit actor in a B-movie, Rudolph Valentino, and makes a note to watch him in the future even though he is on contract with Metro, a rival studio. Valentino signs a personal contract with the famous actress Alla Nazimova and afterwards proposes what turns out to be a disastrous marriage to the actress Jean Acker. Valentino becomes an overnight sensation with the release of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the Mogul buys out Valentino's Metro contract. In the course of filming of The Sheik, the beleaguered Mogul finds out about both Valentino's personal contract with Nazimova and his potentially scandalous marriage with Acker. As a result, Valentino is forced against his will into his next film, Monsieur Beaucaire, which fails miserably at the box office. Valentino suddenly feels as though he has no control of his career, and drops out of Hollywood, taking up the life of an itinerant actor and dancer. Valentino dies in a New York hospital as headlines proclaim his passing. In the end, the great legend of the tragic actor inspires those who attend his funeral in different ways.

Moods

Dramatic, Romantic, Tragic

Subjects

Contemporary, Music/Arts, Relationships, Society




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