• Elizabeth Maconchy
  • The Departure (1961)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

One-act opera

  • 11(ca)112100perchpstr(1.1.1.1.1)
  • SATB (off-stage)
  • mezzo soprano, baritone
  • 30 min

Programme Note

The Departure is a brief and tragic opera, to a libretto by the poet Anne Ridler. There are only two characters, Julia and her husband Mark. She is at her dressing table - but everything seems strange to her.

We hear distant voices singing funeral music, and Julia looks from the window and sees Mark shaking hands with their friends - "But why am I not with you?"

When Mark comes in and cannot see her, she realises it was her own funeral, and when she meets his eyes she remembers the car crash in which she died.

She sings of their first meeting, and then Mark hears her voice and looks up. They recall scenes from their life together: the summer ball, the day by the river with their ‘new-minted boy’ - but Julia cannot stay, and as Mark desperately tries to keep her she recedes from him, singing ‘part, depart, depart’.

Elizabeth Maconchy

Reviews

Discography