Lizzie Borden (opera)

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Lizzie Borden is an opera composed by Jack Beeson. It is based on the real-life case of Lizzie Borden and was commissioned by the Ford Foundation.

It was premiered on March 25, 1965, by the New York City Opera conducted by Anton Coppola. The libretto is by Kenward Elmslie after a scenario by Richard Plant. The roughly two-hour opera is in three acts and an epilogue.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast,
March 25, 1965
(Conductor: – Anton Coppola)
Lizzie Borden mezzo-soprano Brenda Lewis
Margret Borden, Lizzie's sister soprano Anne Elgar
Captain Jason MacFarlane, Margret's love interest baritone Richard Fredricks
Abigail Borden, the stepmother soprano Ellen Faull
Andrew Borden. Lizzie's father baritone Herbert Beattie
Reverend Harrington tenor Richard Krause


The plot is a dramatic retelling of the famed double axe murders of the stepmother and the father of the title character in Fall River, Massachusetts. However a great deal of dramatic changes are made for effectiveness on the stage.

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