Opera in two acts, op. 37
Period of composition: 23 Jan - 3 May 1946
Revised: Spring 1947

See individual movements for details of revisions [not yet available]

First performance: 12 Jul 1946 >>
Type of performance: Staged performance
Location: Glyndebourne, Sussex
Performance details:

Peter Pears Male chorus, Joan Cross Female chorus, Owen Brannigan Collatinus, Edmund Donlevy Junius, Kathleen Ferrier Lucretia, Anna Pollak Bianca, Margaret Ritchie Lucia, Glyndebourne Opera Orchestra

Eric Crozier prod, John Piper design, Ernest Ansermet cond

The second cast for this first production was Aksel Schiøtz Male chorus, Flora Nielsen Female chorus, Norman Walker Collatinus, Frederick Sharp Junius, Frank Rogier Tarquinius, Nancy Evans Lucretia, Catherine Lawson Bianca, Lesley Duff Lucia, Reginald Goodall cond

Other details as above.

Genre: Stage work
Text: Ronald Duncan, after ''Le viol de Lucrèce'' by André Obey
Performing forces:

Cast and orchestra

Cast: Male chorus ten, Female chorus sop, Collatinus bass, Junius bar, Tarquinius bar, Lucretia contr, Bianca mez, Lucia sop.

Orchestra: fl (=picc and alto fl), ob (=ca), cl in B flat and A (=bass cl), bn - hn - perc (timp, sd, td, bd, gong, susp cymb, trgl, whip, tambour) - harp, pf - string quintet (2 vn, va, vc, db)

Duration: 107'
Dedication: 'Dedicated to Erwin Stein'

Erwin Stein (1885-1958), Austrian musician and writer, and (from 1938) editor at Boosey & Hawkes.


  • Act I
    • Scene 1 >>

      (House curtain rises showing Male chorus and Female chorus reading from books.) . . . (Front cloth rises. The scene is a camp outside Rome, with the generals' tent in foreground.)

    • Interlude
    • Scene 2 >>

      (Front cloth rises showing the hall of Lucretia's home. Lucretia is sewing, while Bianca and Lucia work at their spinning wheels.)

  • Act II
    • Scene 1 >>

      (The house curtain rises showing Male chorus and female chorus reading as before.) . . . (The front cloth rises showing Lucretia asleep in bed, by the side of which a candle burns.)

    • Interlude >>

      (Tarquinius beats out the candle with his sword. The front cloth quickly falls.)

    • Scene 2 >>

      (The second curtain rises showing the hall of Lucretia's home flooded with the early sun. Enter Lucia and Bianca.)