Bearded Lady, The


oboe/cor anglais and piano
Oboe/Cor Anglais

Commissioned by Nicholas Daniel with funds provided by Rigoutin's

First Performance
23.10.1994, Wigmore Hall, London, UK: Nicholas Daniel/Julius Drake

Score and part 0571571956 (fp) on sale

Programme Notes

The Bearded Lady was suggested by a scene in the Auden/Kallman libretto for the Rake’s Progress: the hero, Tom Rakewell, having been deceived into marrying Baba the Turk (the bearded lady of St Giles’ Fair), is trying to have her breakfast in their new home; his attempts at conversation are persistently frustrated by her endless stream of gossip and semi-nonsensical tittle-tattle. When she realises he is not listening she flies into a rage, smashing the crockery over him, and a fight ensues. Finally he throws a wig in her face, which appears to silence her for good. My music does not follow these events, but is rather a reflection upon the character of Baba – who in the opera is both ridiculous and yet a devoted wife – and upon the ridicule to which such circus freaks have always been subjected. Although it begins in an offhand, playful manner, the piece is a lament and it is this latter character which increasingly dominates the music and takes it down rather different paths from those initially implied. The piece exploits the ranges of all three instruments to the maximum and there is much polyrhythmic dialogue between them.

Julian Anderson

Licensing Information

News & Reviews

Site Search

Newsletter sign-up

Submit your email address here to receive the latest news and special offers from Faber Music

Score Availability

It is possible in certain circumstances to purchase some scores direct from the Hire Library, even if advertised as available only for hire.

Please Contact the Hire Library:
Tel: +44 (0)1279 828907 / 8

Take a look

Tom Coult

read more