What Men Live By (opera)

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For the short story written by Leo Tolstoy on which this opera is based, see What Men Live By.

What Men Live By (Čím člověk žije in Czech) is an opera in one act by Bohuslav Martinů to an English[1] libretto by the composer, based on the story by Leo Tolstoy. It was composed in 1951-1952 when the composer was living in the U.S.A.[1]

Performance history[edit]

The opera was premiered as a television broadcast in New York in May 1953.[1] The first staged performance took place on 31 July 1954 in Interlochen, Michigan, by the National Music Camp company.[2]

Roles[edit]

Role[2] Voice type[2] Premiere Cast
31 July 1954
(Conductor: )
Martin Avdeitch, a cobbler baritone
An old peasant pilgrim bass
Stepanitch, an old soldier bass
A woman with a child soprano
An old woman contralto
A boy spoken role
Speaker (narrator) tenor

Instrumentation[edit]

The orchestral score requires 1 flute, 2 oboes, 3 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, timpani, percussion (various instruments), piano and strings (6 violins I, 6 violins II, 4 violas, 3 violoncellos, 2 double basses). Apart from the vocal soloists, a small chorus (or a vocal quartet or quintet) is also required.[2]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c Smaczny, Jan (1997) [1992]. "Martinů, Bohuslav". The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Vol. 3. London: Macmillan Reference Limited. p. 238. ISBN 1-56159-228-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Bohuslav Martinu - What Men Live By - Opera". Boosey & Hawkes. Retrieved 17 July 2011.