The Canterbury Pilgrims

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

The Canterbury Pilgrims is an opera by the American composer Reginald De Koven. It premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House on March 8, 1917. The libretto, written by Percy MacKaye, is loosely based on Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.


Role Voice type Premiere cast,
8 March 1917[1]
(Conductor: Artur Bodanzky)
Chaucer baritone Johannes Sembach
Alisoun, The Wife of Bath contralto Margaret Ober
The Prioress soprano Edith Mason
The Squire tenor Paul Althouse
King Richard II tenor Albert Reiss
Johanna soprano Marie Sundelius
The Friar tenor Max Block
The Knight baritone Robert Leonhardt[2]
Joannes tenor Pietro Audisio
Man of Law baritone Robert Leonhardt
The Miller bass Basil Ruysdael
The Host bass Giulio Rossi
The Herald bass Riccardo Tegani
Two Girls Marie Tiffany, Minnie Egener
The Pardoner tenor Julius Bayer
The Summoner baritone Carl Schlegel
The Shipman baritone Mario Laurenti
The Cook bass Pompilio Malatesta


Place: England. Time: April, 1387.[3]

The story has to do with the merry schemes of the Wife of Bath, who has fallen in love with Chaucer who in his turn loves the Prioress, and of her winning of a bet to gain possession of a certain brooch which carries with it Chaucer's promise of marriage. He is finally rescued by Richard II who decides that the Wife may marry a sixth time only on condition that she marry a miller. A devoted miller joyfully accepts the opportunity and the Prioress and Chaucer are reconciled.


  1. ^ List of singers taken from Gustav Kobbé: The Complete Opera Book (1919 ed.), p. 843.
  2. ^ "[Met Performance] CID:65390 World Premiere The Canterbury Pilgrims {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/8/1917.". The Metropolitan Opera Archives. The Metropolitan Opera. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ The synopsis is taken from Leo Melitz, The Opera Goer's Complete Guide, 1921 version.


  • The Opera Goer's Complete Guide by Leo Melitz, 1921 version.
  • The Complete Opera Book by Gustav Kobbé, 1919 version.

External links[edit]