The English Cat

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The English Cat Die englische Katze
Opera by Hans Werner Henze
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F008277-0008, Koln, Schloss Bruhl, Meisterkurse Musik.jpg
The composer in 1960
Librettist Edward Bond
Based onLes peines de coeur d'une chatte anglaise
by Honoré de Balzac
2 June 1983 (1983-06-02)

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. [1] [2] The UK premiere was at the Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, on 19 August 1987. [3] A revised version was performed at Montepulciano in 1990 and this was given in London in 1991.

German language West Germanic language

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 in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are 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 Artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

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 1926-2012 German composer

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".



RoleVoice typePremiere Cast, 2 June 1983 [4]
(Conductor: Dennis Russell Davies)
Lord Puff tenor Martin Finke
Minette, Lord Puff's wife soprano Inga Nielsen
Tom, Minette's lover baritone Wolfgang Schöne
Arnold bass Roland Bracht
Babette, Minette's sister mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Glauser
Louisesoprano Regina Marheineke
Miss Crispsoprano Melinda Liebermann
Lady Toodlemezzo-soprano Ursula Sutter
Petertenor Helmut Holzapfel
Plunkettbass Arend Baumann
Jonesbaritone Karl-Friedrich Dürr


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 instrument Family of musical wind instruments

Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments within the more general category of wind instruments. Common examples include flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, and bassoon. 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.

Flute Musical instrument of the woodwind family

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.

Alto flute type of flute

The alto flute is an instrument in the Western concert flute family, the second-highest member below the standard C flute after the uncommon flûte d'amour in B or A. It is the third most common member of its family after the standard C flute and the piccolo. 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.


Markus Stenz German conductor

Markus Stenz is a German conductor. He studied at the Hochschule für Musik Köln with Volker Wangenhein and at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa.

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  1. John Rockwell, "In Santa Fe, Henze's 'English Cat'". New York Times, 29 July 1985.
  2. Michael Walsh (1985). "When the Style Is No Style". Time. Retrieved 2007-08-14.
  3. Dean, Winton, "Reports: Edinburgh" (November 1987). The Musical Times, 128 (1737): 642-643.
  4. Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Die englische Katze" . L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Schott Music music publisher

Schott Music is one of the oldest German music publishers. It is also one of the largest, and is the second oldest, music publishing houses in Europe. The company headquarters of Schott Music were founded by Bernhard Schott in Mainz, Germany, in 1770.