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A Hand Of Bridge

chamber opera in one act

Music by Samuel Barber
Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti
About A Hand Of Bridge

Barber's brief (about ten minutes) chamber opera requires minimal sets and provides an excellent showcase for four singers.

Cast of Characters
Geraldine, s Sally, c
Bill, t David, bar

Four friends are gathered for their evening bridge game. As play progresses, each sings an aria expressing their true thoughts. Sally is not thinking about much except which new hat to buy; her husband, Bill, wonders whether Sally know about his lover Cymbeline and whether she is faithful to him. Geraldine, ignored both by her husband David and Bill, her former lover, is worried about her dying mother; her husband, bitter about his dead-end job, daydreams about what his life would be like if he were as rich as his boss; as the opera ends, he admits that it would probably not be very different.

Performance History
World premiere production
Festival of Two Worlds, Spoleto, Italy
June 17, 1959
Geraldine: Patricia Neway
Sally: Ellen Miville
Bill: William Lewis
David: Renée Miville
Robert Feist, conductor
Jac Venza, production design
Discography Search for recordings of A Hand Of Bridge at Amazon.com

Samuel Barber: A Hand of Bridge


Adairondack Chamber Orchestra/Smith

Three American One-Act Operas

CD / Premier 1009 (1998)

Samuel Barber: A Hand of Bridge


Symphony of the Air/Golschmann

Music of Samuel Barber

CD / Vanguard OVC 4016 (1999)

Bibliography Search for book about A Hand Of Bridge at Amazon.com

Samuel Barber: "And this will be my epitaph" from A Hand of Bridge


G. Schirmer American Opera Anthology: Baritone/Bass

G. Schirmer 2004

Samuel Barber: "Who is there to love me?" from A Hand of Bridge


G. Schirmer American Opera Anthology: Soprano

G. Schirmer 2004

Last update: January 1, 2009