Tobias and the Angel

The Young Vic (Keith Pattison)

The Young Vic (Keith Pattison)

“It’s a “community opera” in the very best sense of the word… the sense of communal striving, communal uplift was palpable.” Rodney Milnes | The Times

 

A Community Opera

Libretto by David Lan

Commissioned by Almeida Opera and St Matthew’s Church, Perry Beeches, Birmingham

World Premiere: Almeida Opera, Christ Church, London, 7 July 1999

The simple uplifting story of healing that Dove’s score expertly tells is suitable for theatre as well as church stagings. The tale is from the book of Tobit, in the Biblical Apocrypha. David Lan’s witty and direct libretto retains the character of a Jewish folk-legend, developing the journey of the young Tobias into a spiritual education: through learning to hear the song of the trees, of the mountains and of the river, Tobias is able to cure his father’s blindness and cast out Sarah’s demon.

The opera has proved very popular with performers and audiences. Its instrumentation is modest (nine instruments) but there are abundant vocal opportunities: alongside eight principals, children sing the birds who blind Tobit, and the fish that tries to eat Tobias; an adult community chorus plays the people of Nineveh and Ecbatana, while an offstage choir evokes Trees, River, Mountains and Angels.

Synopsis

The tale is from the book of Tobit, in the Biblical Apocrypha. David Lan’s witty and direct libretto retains the character of a Jewish folk-legend, developing the journey of the young Tobias into a spiritual education: through learning to hear the song of the trees, of the mountains and of the river, Tobias is able to cure his father’s blindness and cast out Sarah’s demon.

Production History

Almeida Opera, UK, July 1999. St Matthew’s Church Birmingham, UK, May 2000

English Touring Opera, UK, September to December 2004

The Young Vic Theatre Company, UK, October 2006

New Sussex Opera, UK, March 2007

Buxton Festival, UK, July 2007

Oundle International Festival, UK, July 2007

Opera Vivente, USA, February to March 2008

Bollington Festival, UK, May 2009

Highbury Opera Theatre, UK, October 2012

Carey Baptist Church, Hemel Hempstead, UK, September 2013

Cambridge University Opera Society, UK, June 2014

Princeton University, USA, January 2015

Csíkszerda, Hungary, November to December 2016

Duration, Technical Information and Resources

Tobias and the Angel (1999)

Community Opera in One Act | 75 minutes

Libretto by David Lan

S.2Mez.Ct.2T.2Bar Soli—3-6 Adult Men—Children’s Chorus—Adult Unison Chorus—Adult SATB Chorus

Fl(Picc).Cl—Acdn—Perc—Hp—Org—Vln.Vc

Commissioned by Almeida Opera and St. Matthew’s Church, Perry Beeches, Birmingham

First performed 7 July 1999, Christ Church, London, Almeida Opera

EP 7535

Recording: Jonathan Dove, Tobias and The Angel, Soloists, Choruses and Instrumental Ensemble of The Young Vic/David Charles Abell, Chandos CHAN 10606

Roles

Tobit Baritone
Anna Mezzo-soprano
Tobias Tenor
Sara Mezzo-soprano
Edna Soprano
Raguel Tenor
Raphael Countertenor
Ashmodeus Baritone
Raguel’s men 3 – 6 adult men
Sparrows/The Fish Children’s chorus
People in market/ The Mountain (men only)/ The River (women only)/ Guests Adult chorus (unison)
People in market (taunting)/ The Trees/Angels Adult chorus (SATB)

Photos

The Young Vic (Keith Pattison)

The Young Vic (Keith Pattison)

The Young Vic (Keith Pattison)

The Young Vic (Keith Pattison)

Audio

‘How hard is wood’

‘Time to get up!’

‘It’s better to give alms’

Jonathan Dove Tobias and the Angel Soloists, Choruses and Instrumental Ensemble of the Young Vic / David Charles Abell. CHAN 10606 • Courtesy of Chandos Records Ltd. www.chandos.net

Video

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9xDl86I8bc]
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hhFSn3fBGg]

Other

For further information

Contacts

General enquiries; commissioning, perusal and performance material; first point of contact UK and English-speaking territories outside Americas; principal composer contact:

Katie Tearle, Director of New Music
Tel: +44 (0)20 7553 4033   Email: katie.tearle@editionpeters.com

General enquiries; commissioning, perusal and performance material; first point of contact German-speaking territories:

Stefan Conradi, Neue Musik Promotion / Konzert, Bühne, Medien
Tel: +49 (0)69 63 00 99-41   Email: stefan.conradi@editionpeters.com

General enquiries, commissioning, perusal and performance material, first point of contact Americas:

Gene Caprioglio, Vice President for New Music and Rights
Tel: +1 (718) 416-7822   Email: gene.caprioglio@editionpeters.com

Media and rights enquiries:

Andrew Kemp, Head of Business Affairs
Tel: +44 (0)20 7553 4031   Email: andrew.kemp@editionpeters.com
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