Miss Havisham's Wedding Night (revision of Miss Havisham's Fire)
opera in one act
Music by Dominick Argento Libretto by John Olon-Scrymgeour after an episode in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
About Miss Havisham's Wedding Night
Argento initially offered this monodrama at New York City Opera under the title Miss Havisham's Wedding Night; a revised version, now called Miss Havisham's Wedding Night, is most often heard today.
Cast of Characters
Aurelia Havisham,an elderly recluse,s
Estella,a beautiful young girl,silent
Argento's score reads: "On the morning of her wedding day, Miss Havisham was dressing for the ceremony when a note arrived from the groom-to-be, jilting her; she smashed the clocks, blocked out the light and vowed never to leave her rooms or remove her bridal attire--complete except for the one shoe still lacking when the note was delivered. That melodramatic scene is found, of course, in Dickens' Great Expectations..."
In the opera, Miss Havisham, many years later, spends her time reliving the disastrous day of her intended wedding, something she has obviously been doing for a very long time and is a little bored of. She imagines a visit from her fiance' and wonders about what her life might have been like if their relationship had turned out differently. She is interrupted by the chambermaid bringing her morning tea and as the curtain falls, Miss Havisham prepares to tell the young Estella all about men.
World premiere (Miss Havisham's Fire) New York City Opera 1979
World premiere (Miss Havisham's Wedding Night) Minnesota Opera January 5, 1981 Aurelia: Rita Shane Philip Brunelle, conductor