The Fool

The Fool. Two-scene chamber opera composed in 1953 by Harry Somers to a libretto by Michael Fram. It was premiered 17 Nov 1956 in Toronto under the auspices of the CLComp, with Ernest Adams (as the Fool), Mary Morrison, Andrew MacMillan, and Phyllis Mailing.

The Fool

The Fool. Two-scene chamber opera composed in 1953 by Harry Somers to a libretto by Michael Fram. It was premiered 17 Nov 1956 in Toronto under the auspices of the CLComp, with Ernest Adams (as the Fool), Mary Morrison, Andrew MacMillan, and Phyllis Mailing. Victor Feldbrill conducted, and Herman Geiger-Torel directed. The Montreal premiere, 15 Mar 1959, was sponsored by the CLComp and the Society of Canadian Music. André Turp was the Fool, John Boyden, Fernande Chiocchio, and Yolande Dulude completed the cast, and Jean-Marie Beaudet conducted. Set in a medieval court, The Fool allegorizes the tragic interplay of four characters, King, Queen, Lady-in-waiting, and Fool. Somers has juxtaposed tonal and atonal material to heighten dramatic and emotional impact. Vocal styles, varied by speech intensity and pitch inflection, range from sung speech to traditional full sung line. A chamber ensemble of 10 accompanies the singers. Subsequent performances of The Fool include three in 1962 for the Montreal Festivals Society, a CBC broadcast in 1965, a CBC Montreal Summer Festival concert performance in 1968 (later broadcast and released as a recording), six performances at the 1975 Stratford Festival, a student production in 1976 at the University of Montreal, and a reading in 1979 by COMUS Music Theatre. The opera was given in a French translation by Cyrille Gauvin Francoeur in 1990; the cast included Renée Lapointe, Catherine Sévigny, Richard Duguay, and Jean-Clément Bergeron, with Gilles Auger conducting.