The Poisoned Kiss

The Poisoned Kiss, or The Empress and the Necromancer is an opera in three acts by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. The libretto, by Evelyn Sharp, is based on Richard Garnett's The Poison Maid and Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1844 short story Rappaccini's Daughter. The opera was completed in 1929, first performed by the Intimate Opera Company at the Cambridge Arts Theatre, Britain, on 12 May 1936 (conducted by Cyril Rootham), and premiered in New York by the Bronx Opera in January 2012.[1]

The Poisoned Kiss
Opera by Ralph Vaughan Williams
LibrettistEvelyn Sharp
Based onRichard Garnett's The Poison Maid and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter
12 June 1936 (1936-06-12)


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 12 May 1936
(Conductor: Cyril Rootham )
Angelica soprano Margaret Field-Hyde
Tormentilla soprano Mabel Ritchie
Gallanthus baritone Geoffry Dunn
Dipsacus bass Frederick Woodhouse
Empress contralto Meriel St Clair
Amaryllus tenor Trefor Jones


  • Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam, 2001. ISBN 0-14-029312-4