Love and Other Demons

Love and Other Demons is an opera in two acts by Hungarian composer Péter Eötvös to a libretto by the Hungarian author Kornél Hamvai. It premiered on 10 August 2008 at the Glyndebourne Festival. The libretto is based on the novel Of Love and Other Demons (1994) by Gabriel García Márquez. The opera is the result of a commission by Glyndebourne and the BBC; it was broadcast in full on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday, 11 October 2008.

Love and Other Demons
Opera by Péter Eötvös
LibrettistKornél Hamvai
Based onOf Love and Other Demons
by Gabriel García Márquez
10 August 2008 (2008-08-10)


Maria is living with her father who is not taking care of her. She prefers to be with the servants and slaves. She is bitten by a dog with rabies. She suffers no reaction; nevertheless, she is brought to a convent where Father Delaura is supposed to take care of her. He is supposed to exorcise her of demons but falls in love with her. As this is recognized she is removed from the convent and the bishop himself will exorcise her demons. She dies in the process.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 10 August 2008
Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski[1]
Sierva Maria soprano Allison Bell
Don Ygnacio,
a marquis and father of Maria
tenor Robert Brubaker
Father Cayetano Delaura baritone Nathan Gunn
a doctor
tenor John Graham-Hall
Don Toribio,
the bishop
bass Mats Almgren
Dominga de Adviento,
a servant woman
mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson
Josefa Miranda,
the abbess
mezzo-soprano Felicity Palmer
Martina Laborde,
an insane woman
mezzo-soprano Jean Rigby
Orchestra London Philharmonic Orchestra
Director Silviu Purcărete
Dramaturgy Edward Kemp
Costume and lighting design Helmut Stürmer
Video projection Andu Dumitrescu
Chorus master
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Thomas Blunt

At Glyndebourne, the performance lasted for 3 hours 50 minutes, including a 1-hour 20 minutes interval. The staging is a co-production with the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre.


The instrumentation calls for:


Unusually, Love and Other Demons consistently uses multiple languages. The different levels of narration and action in the story have their own characteristic language: English is the 'everyday language' of the noblemen, Latin is the language of the church rites, Spanish is used by Delaura whenever his conversations with Sierva touch on personal feelings, and Yoruba is the 'secret' language of the slaves.


The Glyndebourne performance of Love and Other Demons was awarded four out of five stars by Andrew Clements of The Guardian, who stated that “if structurally it is his most conventional [opera] so far, it is also well made and musically rewarding.” Clements criticized Hamvai's libretto, writing that the removal of the 18th century Latin American context neutralizes “the power of Márquez's magic realism”. However, Clements also argued that Eötvös's score “is full of authentically magical things. His orchestral imagination is keen and he has simplified his musical language without ever making it simplistic. There are ravishing sounds here, combined with equally convincing vocal writing often spun over diaphanous textures, even though sometimes the drama needs more of a musical push.”[2]

German production, 2009Edit

The first German production was presented on 31 January 2009 at the Chemnitz Opera under the direction of Dietrich Hilsdorf and with Julia Bauer in the role of Maria.[3]


  1. ^ "Creative Team and Cast Members". Glyndebourne Festival Opera. 2008. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  2. ^ Clements, Andrew (11 August 2008). "Opera review: Love and Other Demons, Glyndebourne". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  3. ^ Chemnitz Opera announcement[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit