Maria egiziaca (Saint Mary of Egypt) is an opera in one act, in three episodes, by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi. The libretto, by Claudio Guastalla, is based on a Medieval life of Saint Mary of Egypt, contained in the translation into the vernacular of the Vitae Patrum written by Domenico Cavalca.

Maria egiziaca
Opera by Ottorino Respighi
Respighi in 1934
LibrettistClaudio Guastalla
Based onLife of Saint Mary of Egypt
10 August 1932 (1932-08-10)

The work was originally intended as a concert piece although it has been fully staged in some revivals. It was first performed at Carnegie Hall, New York City, on 16 March 1932. The first stage performance was at the Teatro Goldoni in Venice on 10 August 1932.[1] Both the language of the libretto and the music employ archaism; Respighi's score contains stylistic echoes of Gregorian chant, Renaissance music and Monteverdi.[2]

Roles edit

Trittico con angeli, set design for Maria Egiziaca (1931).
Roles, voice types, premiere cast
Role Voice type Premiere cast, 16 March 1932[3]
Conductor: Ottorino Respighi
Maria soprano Charlotte Börner
Abbate Zosimo (Abbot Zosima)/Pilgrim baritone Nelson Eddy
Sailor tenor Alfredo Tedeschi
The leper tenor
Second companion/Poor man contralto Myrtle Leonard
First companion/Blind woman/Voice of an angel soprano Helen Gleason

Instrumentation edit

Maria egiziaca is scored for the following instruments:[1]

flute , oboe, 2 clarinets, bassoon, 2 horns, trumpet, 2 trombones, harpsichord (or piano), strings.

Synopsis edit

The prostitute Mary suddenly feels an overwhelming longing to travel to Jerusalem. Here she repents her sins and an angel tells her to go to the desert where she lives in prayer until old age. She is found dying by Saint Zosimas, who digs her grave with the help of a lion.

Recordings edit

Year Cast: Maria,
opera house and orchestra
1980 Javora Stoilova,
Nazzareno Antinori,
Carlo Desideri
Ottavio Ziino,
Orchestra and Chorus of Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia
(Live recording at Respighi Festival, Assisi)
CD: Bongiovanni
Cat: GL 2008-2
(published 1999)
1989 Veronika Kincses,
Janos Nagy,
Lajos Miller
Lamberto Gardelli,
Choir of the Hungarian Radio and Television and Hungarian State Orchestra
CD: Hungaroton
Cat: HCD 31118

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Ottorino Respighi. Catalogo delle composizioni suddiviso per generi musicali: Opere liriche". (in Italian). Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  2. ^ Jellinek, George (1991-07-01). "Maria Egiziaca. Ottorino Respighi". The Opera Quarterly. 8 (2): 167–168. doi:10.1093/oq/8.2.167. ISSN 0736-0053.
  3. ^ Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Maria egiziaca, 16 March 1932". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
  4. ^ Lace, Ian. "Respighi's Maria egiziaca – A story of redemption". Retrieved 9 January 2015.

Further reading edit