Today, the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto presents the world première performance of Pyramus and Thisbe, composed by Barbara Monk Feldman, with a libretto based on Ovid's Metamorphosis and also including William Faulkner's The Long Summer, Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross and Rainer Maria Rilke's Die Sonette an Orpheus.
The libretto is a new version of the well-known story of Pyramus and Thisbe. The synopsis is the following, according to the score available from the Canadian Music Centre website (facsimile of the manuscript) :
The opera does not follow the traditional arrow of time and there is no break between the three main sections. There is little or no drama : this opera is about the subtlety of the unconscious which substitutes for the wall in Ovid's original, uniting as it separates the two lovers.
The opera should last about 45 minutes and is the evening will continue with performances of Monteverdi's Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Lamento d'Arianna.
The orchestra is the following :
- 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarintes, 2 Bassoons, 2 French Horns ;
- 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, 1 Bass Trombone, 1 Tuba ;
- 3 Percussionists ;
- Harp, Mandolin ;
- Chorus, String Quartet, and String Orchestra.
Mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó and Tenor Phillip Addis are accompanied by the COC Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Johannes Debus, with Christopher Alden directing.