A Coffin in Egypt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A Coffin in Egypt is a chamber opera in one act by composer Ricky Ian Gordon. The work uses an English language libretto by Leonard Foglia which is based on a 1980 play by Horton Foote.[1] Set in Egypt, Texas, the work tells the story of Myrtle Bledsoe, an embittered 90-year-old woman who sifts through the memories of her past in a quest for self-forgiveness. The opera had its world premiere at the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) in March 2014.[2]

A Coffin in Egypt was jointly commissioned by the HGO, Opera Philadelphia, and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. The work was specifically written as a starring vehicle for mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade. While the work includes a cast of nine, it is essentially a monodrama in that the heroine is the only role with a substantial amount of singing. The other parts are spoken rather than sung lines apart from a few moments when a gospel quartet is used to "underscore key moments, rather in the manner of a Greek chorus".[2] Von Stade reprised the role of Myrtle for performances in Philadelphia in June 2014 and with the Chicago Opera Theater in April 2015.[3][4] The work was performed by von Stade in February 2016 in the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.[5]


  1. ^ George Loomis (March 19, 2014). "A Coffin in Egypt, Houston Grand Opera – review". Financial Times.
  2. ^ a b "A Coffin in Egypt: Houston". Opera News. 78 (12). June 2014.
  3. ^ Heidi Waleson. "Opera: A Diva Reclaims the Stage With Authority". The Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ John von Rhein (April 26, 2015). "Opera review: COT's 'Coffin' a moving star vehicle for von Stade". Chicago Tribune.
  5. ^ "A Coffin in Egypt: An Opera-in-Concert featuring Frederica von Stade", Lincoln Center

External links[edit]

Frederica von Stade about A Coffin in Egypt on YouTube, Chicago Opera Theater