Inquest of Love


by Jonathan Harvey

Opera in two acts
Jonathan Harvey (Text), Rudkin D (Author)
Libretto (Eng): Jonathan Harvey and David Rudkin
3(II=afl+picc.III=picc).2(II=ca).3(II=Ebcl+asax.III=bcl).2.cbsn - 4331 - perc(3): vib/glsp/crot/t.bells/5 susp.cym/2 gong/tam-t/2 tgl/2 timp/ 4 tom-t/bongos/logdrum/2 SD/mcas/bamboo cluster/guiro/5 2 wdbl/claves/sandblocks/guard's whistle/BD/cyms/roto-tom - 2 harp - 3 synth (2 DX7, 1 Yamaha SY77) - strings - electronics
Singers: Abbot (B)/Ann (S)/John (Bar)/Elspeth (S)/Philia (MS)/ the Psychopomp(S)/Josh (T); semi-chorus (SSATBB)/ Chorus of Monks (Bar&B)

Commissioned by the English National Opera

First Performance
5.6.93, Coliseum, London: English National Opera/Mark Elder/ David Pountney

Libretto 0571-51411-1 on sale, full score, vocal score, parts and discs/CDs for hire

Programme Notes

Inquest of Love is concerned with the themes of understanding of suffering and the release from suffering. The central protagonists comprise a triangle of lovers – John; Ann who is betrothed to him; and Ann’s elder sister Elspeth. In Act I John and Ann’s wedding is interrupted by murder. This disruption of love by violence is viewed successively from the standpoint of each of the three main protagonists. Act II shows life after death, where the characters gradually discover the hidden reasons behind this tragic and violent event. The process of discovery acts as a healing force, uniting what was separated and isolated, and enabling love to triumph over death. Jonathan Harvey

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News & Reviews

'Inquest of Love' reviews and synopsis

'… of the ENO opera commissions this is, I believe, the outstanding achievement so far, the one built to last… an arresting piece of modern music-drama. In its conjoining of old and new, traditional and innovation, it proves to be that rare achievement of the modern opera house, a new opera realised with equal amounts of artistic idealism and practicality.' Financial Times (Max Loppert) 7 June 1993 Read more

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