• Philip Glass
  • White Raven (1991)

  • Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc (World)

Commissioned by the Commissão Nacional para as Comemoraçôes dos Descobrimentos Portugueses

Opera in five acts in collaboration with Robert Wilson.
Libretto (Portugese) by Luisa Costa Gomes.

  • 2+pic.2.2+Ebcl+bcl.2/4.3.2+btbn.1/4perc/hp.epf/str
  • SATB
  • 4 Sopranos, 3 Mezzo sopranos, 3 Tenors, 2 Baritones, 2 Bass-baritones, Bass, Speaking role
  • 2 hr 20 min
  • Luisa Costa Gomes
  • English, Portuguese

Programme Note

Queen, Scientist 1 - soprano
Raven 1, off-stage voice Act 4-B - soprano
Raven 2, Scientist 2 - mezzo
Da Gama, Traveler 1 - bass-baritone
King - baritone
Native Queen, Miss Universe, Dragon - mezzo
Sailor 1, Scientist 3, Traveler 2 - tenor
Sailor 3, Traveler 3 - baritone
Sailor 2, Traveler 4 - bass-baritone
Judy Garland, Siamese Twin 1 - soprano
Siamese Twin 2 - soprano
Barcelos Clock, Dogman - mezzo
Spoonman - tenor
Tin Man, Ocephalus - tenor
Native King, Elephant Foot - bass
Mixed Chorus
Writer - speaking only

The opera touches upon discoveries throughout time, beginning with the expeditions of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, "The work is not concerned with historical accuracy. It pursues, rather, an open reflection on the concept of discovery of commencement (of what does not exist but comes into being) and the concept of beginning (as Aristotle writes, 'a beginning is that which does not come necessarily after something else, but after which it is natural for another thing to exist or to come to be'). The title "White Raven" alludes to the myth in which Apollo turns a white crow black for denouncing Cronis' infidelity - in the opera the crow is the messenger of the misfortune, the symbol of lost innocence."
© Luísa Costa Gomes