• Philip Glass
  • The Juniper Tree (1985)

  • Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc (World)

Commissioned by the American Repertory Theater, Cambridge, MA

Opera in three acts; music by Philip Glass and Robert Moran
Libretto (English) by Arthur Yorinks based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm.

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  • mixed chorus, children's voices
  • 4 Sopranos, Mezzo soprano, Tenor, 2 Baritones, Bass
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • Arthur Yorinks based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm
  • English, German
    • 21st April 2024, OperaLab 840 W. 34th St. , Los Angeles, CA, United States of America
    • 10th May 2024, Orlando, FL, United States of America
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Programme Note

The husband - lyric baritone
His wife - lyric soprano
The son/the juniper bird - boy soprano
The stepmother - mezzo-soprano
Her daughter - soprano
The goldsmith - bass
The cobbler - baritone
The miller - tenor
Village folk - chorus
Mama bird - soprano
Baby birds - children's voices

This opera may be unique in that Glass and fellow composer Robert Moran collaborated in virtually equal degree on its composition. A glass scene is followed by a Moran scene, with transitions composed by each. The result is fascinating hybrid, each composer holding to his own identity while melding with the other.

The famous Grimm fairy tale tells of a Wicked Stepmother who murders her stepson and serves him up in a stew to his unsuspecting father. The boy’s sister buries her brother’s bones under a Juniper Tree, and the child’s spirit returns as a singing bird who wreaks vengeance on the evil Stepmother before being restored to life in the bosom of his family. Despite its somewhat savage themes (infanticide and cannibalism!), The Juniper Tree is a warm-hearted, if eerie work that leaves a distinctly poetic, happy impression. And it is one of the most tuneful operas in the Glass repertory.