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He Who Gets Slapped (Pantaloon) (Libretto)

Opera in Three Acts

By Robert Ward

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Voices
Opera in Three Acts. Composed by Robert Ward. Full Length. 20th Century. Libretto. Published by Highgate Press (EC.7.0146).

Item Number: EC.7.0146

Text: Bernard Stambler.

Available Editions:
Piano/Vocal Score, 7.0023
Libretto, 7.0146
Full score and parts available for rental from the publisher.

Libretto:
Written by Bernard Stambler based on a melodrama by Andreyev

Synopsis:
Opera in 3 Acts. An operatic realization of Andreyev's psychological melodrama, set in a Parisian circus at the turn of the century. Pantaloon offers enormous color and dramatic action with its constant movement of circus characters: lion tamer, bareback rider, barkers, clowns, acrobats, dancers, etc.In the opening scene, Tilly and Polly, clowns in Briquet's Continental Circus, are rehearsing their act when Briquet and Count Mancini enter arguing. An aristocratic stranger arrives and asks to become a clown in the circus. With misgivings, Briquet hires him as Pantaloon: "He Who Gets Slapped."

As the opera progresses, Pantaloon, with clever acts and moments of gentle philosophizing, is able to show audiences how to laugh at their own misfortunes. Meanwhile, he exposes the shabby marriage arrangement that Count Mancini has tried to effect between his daughter, Consuelo, and the rich Baron Regnard. Against this intrigue is the triangle of passion between Consuelo, Bezano (the bareback rider), and Zinida, the lion tamer.

In the final act, Mancini confesses his frauds and Pantaloon, rebuffed in his love for Consuelo, takes off his clown's costume and quietly departs by the street door through which he entered. Duration: ~ 2 Hours

Roles:
TILLY and POLLY, male clowns - Mute
COUNT MANCINI, a shabby aristocrat - Tenor
BRIQUET, ringmaster and owner of the circus - Bass-Baritone
ZINIDA, a lion-tamer and Briquet's wife - Dramatic Soprano
PANTALOON, a gentleman turned clown - Baritone
CONSUELO, The Bareback Tango Queen - Soprano
BEZANO, bareback rider, Consuelo's trainer and partner - Tenor
BARON REGNARD, a stolid aristocrat, from commerce - Bass-Baritone
CHORUS, circus personnel - Acting Role


Premier:
May 1956. First produced under the title "PANTALOON" by The Columbia Theatre Associates of the School of Dramatic Arts in cooperation with the Columbia University Opera Workshop in the Juilliard Concert Hall
April 1959, New York City Opera Company, revised version of the opera under its present title

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