The Dybbuk (opera)

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The Dybbuk is an opera in three acts by composer David Tamkin. The work uses an English libretto by Alex Tamkin, the composer's brother, which is based on S. Ansky’s Yiddish play of the same name. Composed in 1933, the work was not premiered until October 4, 1951 when it was mounted by the New York City Opera through the efforts of Laszlo Halasz. Prior to the premiere, excerpts from the work had been given in concert, both in Portland, Oregon (where Alex Tamkin lived) and in New York City. The opera was originally supposed to premiere at the New York City Opera in 1950 but was postponed for financial reasons.[1] The opera was also performed at the Jewish Community Center in Seattle in 1963.[2]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast,[3]
October 4, 1951
(Conductor: – Joseph Rosenstock)
Channon tenor Robert Rounseville
Leah soprano Patricia Neway
The Messenger baritone Lawrence Winters
Rabbi Azrael baritone Mack Harrell
Meyer bass-baritone Emile Renan
Sender bass Carlton Gauld
Chennoch baritone Arthur Newman
Frade mezzo-soprano Frances Bible
Elderly Woman contralto Eunice Alberts
Gittel soprano Shirley Russell
Bassia mezzo-soprano Edith Evans
1st Batlon tenor Nathaniel Sprinzena
2nd Batlon bass Richard Wentworth
3rd Batlon tenor Michael Pollock
Menashe tenor Armond Harkless
Rabbi Mendel tenor Luigi Vellucci


  1. ^ "The Dybbuk". TIME. October 15, 1951. Retrieved April 6, 2017.  (First sentences only, full text is paywalled)
  2. ^ Seattle Post Intelligencer, Jan 8, 1963, page 7
  3. ^ Olin Downes (October 5, 1951). "CITY OPERA OFFERS 'DYBBUK' PREMIERE; Performance of Tamkin Work Has Rounseville, Sprinzenza, Neway, Winters in Leads". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2009.