Thel (Opera)
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The Lamentations of Thel (or Thel) is a chamber opera in four scenes with Prologue by a Russian composer Dmitri N. Smirnov to his own libretto after William Blake. Composed in 1985-1986. Language:  English (also translated to Russian)

( )  .   , op45a, 1985, 4 , , 16 ,   52

The poster of the London Almeida Theatre premiere 1989 with Willow Winston's design (click to enlarge).
Contents:
Creation and performance history
Roles
Scoring
Publishers
Synopsis
Music and sound sample
Quotations
See also
External links
 
==Creation and performance history==

The opera was composed during 1985-1986 in Moscow. The opera is a sequel to another Blake opera Tiriel (1985).  Libretto was based on the very early poem by Blake The Book of Thel (1789),  in which he presented part of his immense mythology. Thel, so-called from the Greek word meaning "desire" or "will", is young girl complaining on her future death. There are points of dialogue between two works. And they are interconnected through the common idea of search for a meaning to life, through the place where the action is set, the Valleys of Har a creation of Blakes imagination and also through the similarity of the music material. In the first instance, however, we are dealing with a dramatic tragedy, an illustration of the forces of evil, which brings death and destruction to the world, whereas in the second we have an intimate and lyrical parable-pastoral.

==Performance history==

World Premiere June 9, 1989, Almeida Theatre, London with subsequent performances on June 10, and June 11, 1989.
*Annabel Arden, diector
*Willow Winston, designer
*Jane Davidson, soprano
*Lore Lixemberg, contralto,
*Conductor: Jeremy Arden
*Company: Theatre de Complicite

Second staging: May 29, 1993, Ballroom Students Union, Keele University, Staffordshire. 
*Director and soprano: Jane Davidson 
*Conductor: Rahmil Fishman

==Roles==

Thel Soprano
Clod of Clay Contralto
Lily of the Valley Boy or girl soprano
Cloud Coutertenor ( or soprano)
Worm Mime
Ghost Mixed chamber choir (SATB)

Time and Place: The Vales of Har, the Places of the Dead

Duration: 52 minutes

==Scoring==

*Singers: soprano, boy (or girl) soprano, countertenor, contralto, mime, mixed chamber choir
*Orchestra: flute (=piccolo) , oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, 2 percussion players (timpani, jingle bells, triangle, suspended cymbal, gong, bass drum, tam-tam, glockenspiel, tubular bells, xylophone, vibraphone) celesta, harp, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, double bass.

==Publishers==

This work is represented by Boosey & Hawkes in the UK, British Commonwealth (excluding Canada) and the Republic of Ireland
Internationale Musikverlage Hans Sikorski, Hamburg, for Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Netherlands, Portugal, Scandinavia, Turkey. 

==Music and sound example==
 
Sound sample: The beginning of the Scene 1
==Synopsis==

Scene I. The daughters of Mne Seraphim are all shepherdesses in the Vales of Har, apart from the youngest, Thel. She spends her time wandering on her own, trying to find the answer to the question that torments her: why does the springtime of life inevitably fade so that all things must end? She meets the Lily of the Valley who tries to comfort her. When Thel remains uncomforted, the Lily sends her on to ask the Cloud. 

Scene II. The Cloud explains that he is part of a natural process and, although he sometimes disappears, he is never gone forever. Thel replies that she is not like the Cloud and when she disappears she will not return. So the Cloud suggests asking the same question of the Worm. 

Scene III. The Worm is still a child and cannot answer. Instead it is the Worms mother, the Clod of Clay, who answers. The Clod explains that we do not live for ourselves, but for others. She invites Thel to enter into her underground realm and see the places of the dead where Thel herself will one day reside. 

Scene IV. Once there, at the places of the dead, however, Thel is assailed by mysterious voices asking a whole series of yet more terrible questions of existence. Uttering a shriek, she flees back to her home in the Vales of Har.

==Quotations==

The simple opposition between Tiriel , an enraged and exhausted old man, and Thel, a child from the Songs of Innocence has allowed Smirnov to create a pair of works quite different but complementary. (Gerard McBurney)
==See also==

Thel-Prologue op45a
Tiriel op41
Tiriel-Prologue op41a
MRCD22

 

==External links==

 Boosey & Hawkes
 Review
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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