|The English Cat Die englische Katze|
|Opera by Hans Werner Henze|
The composer in 1960
|Based on||Les peines de coeur d'une chatte anglaise|
by Honoré de Balzac
|Premiere||2 June 1983|
The English Cat (in German, Die englische Katze) is an opera in two acts by Hans Werner Henze to an English libretto by Edward Bond, based on Les peines de coeur d'une chatte anglaise (The heartbreak of an English cat) by Honoré de Balzac. The opera was first performed in a German translation by the Stuttgart Opera at the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen at the Schwetzingen Festival on 2 June 1983. The French premiere was at the Opéra-Comique, Paris in 1984. The first performance using the original English text was at Santa Fe on 13 July 1985. The UK premiere was at the Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, on 19 August 1987. A revised version was performed at Montepulciano in 1990 and this was given in London in 1991.
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
Hans Werner Henze was a German composer. His large oeuvre of works is extremely varied in style, having been influenced by serialism, atonality, Stravinsky, Italian music, Arabic music and jazz, as well as traditional schools of German composition. In particular, his stage works reflect "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life".
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 2 June 1983 |
(Conductor: Dennis Russell Davies)
|Lord Puff||tenor||Martin Finke|
|Minette, Lord Puff's wife||soprano||Inga Nielsen|
|Tom, Minette's lover||baritone||Wolfgang Schöne|
|Babette, Minette's sister||mezzo-soprano||Elisabeth Glauser|
|Miss Crisp||soprano||Melinda Liebermann|
|Lady Toodle||mezzo-soprano||Ursula Sutter|
The opera is set in London in the 1890s.
A group of bourgeois cats has formed the Royal Society for the Protection of Rats. Avowed pacifists as well, the society has been raising a young orphan mouse, Louise. There is a love triangle between Lord Puff, his wife Minette, and Tom.
Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments within the more general category of wind instruments. There are two main types of woodwind instruments: flutes and reed instruments. What differentiates these instruments from other wind instruments is the way in which they produce their sound. All woodwinds produce sound by splitting an exhaled air stream on a sharp edge, such as a reed or a fipple. A woodwind may be made of any material, not just wood. Common examples include brass, silver, cane, as well as other metals such as gold and platinum. Occasionally woodwinds are made out of earthen materials, especially ocarinas. Common examples include flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone.
The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel–Sachs, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones. A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flautist, flutist or, less commonly, fluter or flutenist.
The alto flute is a type of Western concert flute, a musical instrument in the woodwind family. It is the next extension downward of the C flute after the flûte d'amour. It is characterized by its distinct, mellow tone in the lower portion of its range. It is a transposing instrument in G, and uses the same fingerings as the C flute.
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In music, a decet—sometimes dectet, decimette, or even tentet —is a composition which requires ten musicians for a performance, or a musical group that consists of ten people. The corresponding German word is Dezett, the French is dixtuor. Unlike some other musical ensembles such as the string quartet, there is no established or standard set of instruments in a decet.
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