MICHAEL HALL’S LIBRETTI (August 2006)
Boudicca 1 act, approx 60 mins.
A demanding piece for solo soprano set on the last day in the life of Boudicca ( Boadicea ), queen of Iceni in 61 A.D. Recounts in flashback the events of the Boudicca uprising, the final battle,
her defeat by the Romans, her escape and final hours. (A 45 min version has been composed in New Zealand by Clive Cockburn under the title BOADICEA)
2 acts, approx 1 hour and 30 mins.
A fable for four animals, one dragon (Great Desmond, the dictator of the valley) and one man, an accidental visitor. The opera starts in bright sunshine where all
is friendship and light, but as dark approaches the shadow side of the valley and its inhabitants becomes markedly stronger. By sunrise the valley will be changed forever. An allegorical look at man, his shadow
side, and the very nature of paradise. BEING COMPOSED IN ISRAEL BY ERNEST LEB.
2 acts, approx 1 hour 30 mins.
A one woman piece inspired by the 68 year old Iraqi maqam singer, Sadiqa Mulayya, in the last year of her life (moved from 1968
to 1978 to allow for a reference to Saddam Hussein) now reduced to selling cigarettes on the streets of Baghdad. She tells a Western reporter who has tracked her down (the audience) her views on life, fate
and death, and remembers the occasions when both Golda Meir and Saddam Hussein heard her sing.
1 act, 4 scenes, approx 1hour, 10 mins.
A two hander for tenor and soprano or mezzo, extremely simple to stage with minimal set requirements, it deals with the aftermath of a serious terrorist attack in a city. Although not specified
by name, New York is implied though the location could be changed with minor alterations to the script. The woman suspects her Middle Eastern lover of knowing about the attack before it happened when he warned
her not to go downtown that day. He claims he had a premonition so naturally told her. The woman’s own recollection of exactly what he said to
warn her has been blurred by confusion, doubt and prejudice, and her search for the truth of what her lover knew is anything but straightforward. HAS BEEN COMPOSED BY WILLIAM MACSEMS IN CALIFORNIA.
The Suicide Bomber 1 scene, approx 7 mins.
A duet for two cockroaches with fridge motor
A humorous duet for two sopranos as the cockroaches find the disturbance of the on/off fridge motor unendurable, and so decide on a drastic solution.
Meditation on St. Anselm’s prayer 1 scene, approx 12 mins.
A blending of St. Anselm’s Latin prayer to his guardian Angel with a very free English translation
of the same prayer begin and end this short piece for two sopranos. In between are three short verses relevant to the guardian angel theme of the prayer. Suitable
for church performance. HAS BEEN COMPOSED IN COPENHAGEN BY HANNE ORVAD. 3 PERFORMANCES SO FAR.
An Angel Piece
1 scene, approx 10 mins.
Written for the soprano Anne Aaen. The singer tells how a few hundred years
ago, everyone believed in angels; their existence was an accepted truth, and invites the audience to see if, for just a moment, they can re-live the mindset of that time. Suitable for church
performance so needs only piano or organ accompaniment. HAS BEEN COMPOSED IN AUSTRALIA BY JOHN SUMMERS.
My icon 1 scene, 8 mins.
For soprano and string quartet or piano.
In four short verses the singer, a soprano, expresses the vital role her icon plays in supporting and guiding her life. Suitable for church performance.
1 act, approx 45 mins.
A very different look at the
Faust theme using a female Faust (treated as a kind of everywoman) and a Mephisto Lee who is very different from the traditional Mephistophele. Lots of direct audience contact from the Fausta role. Designed to be simple and economical to stage with a cast of only one soprano and one tenor. Would suit a cabaret style approach. Made for touring or as a "one off" entertainment.
BEING COMPOSED IN NEW YORK BY BRUCE WOLOSOFF.
The light, the light 1
act, approx 25 mins.
A one woman piece for soprano
or mezzo. A 40 year old librarian tells of how her two contacts with aliens (and the light) have totally changed her vision of the world and humankind, a story she has withheld for too long from her mental
health point of view. With no set required would cost almost nothing to stage. Suitable for small venues so would need only a single instrument accompaniment (possibly viola).
(HAS BEEN COMPOSED IN AUSTRALIA BY JOHN SUMMERS FOR MEZZO, OBOE AND CELLO)
Cleopatra´s Scribe 1
act, approx 50 mins.
A two hander for mezzo and soprano. March, 30 B.C. and the 39 year old Cleopatra, just months before her suicide, plans with her new scribe, a
slave, how to deal with Octavian´s Roman army which has just landed in Egypt intent on conquest and taking Cleopatra back to Rome in chains. An ever changing engagement between two strong female roles reveal a
2000 year old society on the verge of collapse.
act, approx 30 mins.
A solo piece for a cello playing tenor. Late 1963 and the aged Pablo Casals prepares for a performance in Auckland, N.Z. The action takes place backstage as Casals shares with some cello
students and admirers (the audience) his views on Bach, fingering, performance and various composers from Popper to Brahms, interspersed with reminiscences of his life and musical thought, with many opportunities to demonstrate on the cello.
(Being composed by the Danish composer Kim Helveg )
"....and not a melody in sight"
1 scene, approx 10 mins.
An "impossible" piece for solo percussionist in which he or she is invited to invoke "the wonders of the universe through beaten skin, cowbell and vibraphone, through pattern and motif....and
not a melody in sight".
Death of Gesualdo 1
scene, approx 25 mins.
A huge dramatic scena along the lines of Berlioz "Death of Cleopatra" shows the last minutes in the life of the composer Carlo Gesualdo in Sept.1613 as, raddled with guilt over the murder of his first wife all
those years ago, attempts to make sense of his life and peace with his God. ACCEPTED FOR COMPOSITION BY BRUCE WOLOSOFF IN NEW YORK. (PART OF A LARGER GESUALDO PROJECT)
The Arcadia Seminar
1 act, approx 35 mins.
Requiring no set at all and only one prop, an A1 flip chart, the scene is that of the Planet Arcadia Personal Development Seminar and the audience are those who've signed up for the seminar.
In three distinct sections, the first part is the facilitator introducing the seminar and all aspects of the ARCADIA empire, the second part is the entertainment created by the seminar assistants which is in the the form of three animal fables, and the last
part occurs in a coffee break in the seminar when Death enters. For two soloists and a choir of about ten who play the seminar assistants, the 'team', and all the animals in the animal fables. A piece designed to be great fun for
performers and audiences alike. BEING COMPOSED IN ITALY BY ALBERTO SCHIAVO FOR THE ORPHEUS COMPOSITION PRIZE 2005 - 2006.
Ambrosia, nectar of the gods
1 act, approx 25 mins.
A wry comedy set in a courtroom in modern rural Italy. An elf is charged with drunkenness and for selling wine and strong liquor without a licence. Part of his defence is that he
sells Ambrosia because the gods wish mankind to taste this nectar which "opens doors that we, within our normal lives, keep closed". He, Arturo Elf, is a bringer of ecstasy. Requires two soloists: the
elf is a tenor and the magistrate a mezzo. Also needs a mixed chorus of 10 - 12 who play the other roles. BEING COMPOSED BY LEONARDO SCHIAVO IN ITALY FOR THE ORPHEUS 2005 - 2006 COMPETITION.
1act,approx 60 mins.
A two hander, one male, one female role, written from a starting point suggested by the composer. A woman buys a moble phone from a salesman who offers a contract whereby the phone
company pays her each time she makes a call. Too good to be true ? Sure is, especially when the mobile phone company is Satrurn Rings. BEING COMPOSED BY SIGMUND LILLEBJERKA IN NORWAY.
Do please contact me if you'd like a piece written for you; six of the above pieces were written in response to particular requests. When writing for a composer or performer I require no payment until the
piece gets performed when I ask for one third of royalties, the composer taking two thirds. If, when completed, you find the libretto not to your liking it simply joins the list above with no liability to the requesting composer or performer.
My overriding goal as a librettist is to secure as many performances as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
All good wishes.