Voice soloists and opera chorus (Full Orchestra:2 2 2 2 - 4 2 2 0 - T - P - Hrp - Str or reduced orchestration: 2(Pic) 1(EH) 2 1 - 2 2 1 0 - P - Hrp - Str)
An Opera in 4 Acts. Composed by Robert Ward. Full Length Opera. 20th Century and Opera. Vocal score. With translations and plot synopsis. 288 pages. Galaxy Music Corporation #7.0028. Published by Galaxy Music Corporation (EC.7.0028).
Item Number: EC.7.0028
9x12 inches. Text: Arthur Miller.
At last week's performance... I was able to get a clearer idea of this opera, which is, of course, a study of the human conscience based on Arthur Miller's play about the Salem witch trails. Again, the beauty, nobility, skill, power, and utter sincerity of Mr. Ward's music bowled me over. If a finer opera has been written since the days of Strauss and Puccini, I have not heard it. ... The Crucible is comparable to the great masterworks of the classical repertory, and I like to think of it also as an example of the true music of the future. It is, in short, music of the most inspired sort, written by a master of his craft.
-Winthrop Sargeant, THE NEW YORKER
Mr. Ward's hit is "The Crucible," his brilliant operatic adaptation of Arthur Miller's play about the Salem witch trials as a metaphor for the McCarthy hearings. The Crucible has a superb libretto, lightly adapted from the Miller by Bernard Stambler. And it has a score that balances folkish Americana with the driving devil-possession effects also used by Prokofiev in "The Flaming Angel" and Krzysztof Penderecki in "The Devils of Loudon" and the elegiac nobility evoked by Poulenc in "The Dialogues of the Carmelites."
-John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES
For my money it is the finest American opera of the century, with a libretto good enough to inspire a Verdi or Mussorgsky.
-George Stowe, THE HARTFORD TIMES
...Ward's score for The Crucible is pretty good stuff, reminiscent of Korngold at his theatrical best. Perhaps no American composer has had a better knack for setting words naturally. And though much of The Crucible is lightly sung text, the orchestral counterpoint is symphonic in sweep. It's old fashioned but full of tension and sting, and there are just enough fine solos and ensembles to open things up.
-James Paulk, The American Record Guide, November/December 2016. Used by permission.
Many critics find the music well written for the voice. Never does Ward write the vocal lines too high or against a heavy orchestration. The libretto by Bernard Stambler is a canny reduction of Miller's play.
-David Reynolds, American Record Guide