• Judith Weir
  • Scipio's Dream (1991)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by BBC TV and AVRO Holland in association with RM Associates and the Dutch Stimulating Fund

Written in collaboration with Margaret Williams for a television film in the "Not Mozart" series

  • S,Mz,2T[II:Bar],B +
  • SATB (optional)
  • Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Tenor [=Baritone], Bass
  • 30 min
  • Judith Weir, after Metastasio
  • English

Programme Note


Scipio, a modern office worker, is spending a boring day when suddenly two of his colleagues transform themselves into the goddesses Fortune and Constancy. They insist that he choose between them: Fortune shows him the excitements of following chance and inclination while Constancy, taking him to heaven to meet his heroic ancestors, emphasises the satisfactions of obeying life's obligations dutifully. Scipio has some difficulty in deciding, but in the end chooses Constancy. Fortune is furious and throws him back to earth, where he makes an uncomfortable landing in his office, in the midst of a chorus singing the praises of those who choose rightly.

© Judith Weir


Scipio’s Dream is a radical re-composition of Mozart’s ‘azione teatrale’ Il Sogno di Scipione (1771) written to a libretto by Metastasio.

The basic story-line, and some of the melodies of the original Mozart remain. New recitatives and orchestrations have been composed. Most of the action of the original happened in the recitatives; in this version, action has spilled out into the arias. New arias have accordingly been composed, using and extending original melodies by Mozart.

Lasting just under 30 minutes, Scipio’s Dream is about a quarter of the length of Il Sogno di Scipione.

Scipio’s Dream was written in collaboration with Margaret Williams for a television film in the ‘NOT MOZART’ series, commissioned by BBC-AVRO-RM Associatis, produced by Artifax. The film was made during the Mozart Bicentennial in 1991.

© Judith Weir