The Last Supper (opera)
The Last Supper is an opera with music by Sir Harrison Birtwistle to an English and Latin libretto by Robin Blaser. Birtwistle composed the music over the period written in 1998-1999. The world premiere was given by the Berlin State Opera on 18 April 2000, with the production directed by Martin Duncan and conducted by Daniel Barenboim. It was subsequently performed by the Glyndebourne Touring Opera on 30 November 2000.
- Christ (baritone)
- Judas (tenor)
- Ghost (soprano)
- Little James (countertenor)
- James (countertenor)
- Thomas (tenor)
- Andrew (tenor)
- Simon (tenor)
- Bartholomew (tenor)
- Philip (baritone)
- John (baritone)
- Matthew (bass-baritone)
- Thaddeus (bass)
- Peter (bass)
- Chorus Mysticus (amplified); 3 sopranos, 3 mezzo-sopranos, 3 altos
- Chorus Resonus (pre-recorded); 3 sopranos, 3 mezzo-sopranos, 3 altos
- Chorus in Visions I-III (pre-recorded); 3 sopranos, 3 mezzo-sopranos, 3 altos, 3 tenors, 3 baritones, 3 basses
The story is a contemporary retelling of the "Last Supper" story. It involves a character (Ghost) who represents ourselves/the audience. Ghost invites Christ and his disciples to supper. The ensuing drama juxtaposes the old and new, Jewish and Christian to raise questions about the myth/story of the Last Supper and its meaning in our modern context. The opera ends in the Garden of Olives with Christ asking, "Whom do you seek?" and then a cock crows.
- Griffiths, Paul, "First Performances, Berlin: Birtwistle's The Last Supper" (July 2000). Tempo (New Ser.), 213: pp. 41-42.
- Boosey & Hawkes page on the opera
- Matthew Rogers, on-line essay on Glyndebourne performance of the opera
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