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Merchant of Venice, The

  • Merchant of Venice


Excerpts available for hire

Opera In Three Acts and an Epilogue after William Shakespeare

Composer: Tchaikovsky, Andre

Polish composer André Tchaikowsky’s only opera, a three-act setting of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, was virtually finished at the time of the composer’s premature death in 1982. The final 24 measures of orchestration were completed posthumously by composer Alan Boustead.

Set in Venice during the Renaissance, the drama centres on Bassanio, a young nobleman who would like to court the beautiful Portia but doesn‘t have the money to travel to her country estate, so he asks the merchant Antonio for help. Antonio‘s wealth is tied up in maritime trade but he offers to procure the sum Bassanio needs from the Jewish money lender Shylock. Shylock hates Antonio for being so contemptuous in his treatment of Jews, and therefore stipulates that if the debt is not repaid within three months, the penalty will be a pound of Antonio‘s own flesh…

Thirty one years after his death, Tchaikowsky’s opera is to receive its world premiere production at the Bregenz Festival in Austria, with performances on 18th, 21st and 28th of July.

Directed by Keith Warner, the cast includes Adrian Eröd (Shylock), Christopher Ainslie (Antonio), Richard Angas (Duke of Venice) and Magdalena Anna Hofmann (Portia). The Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Prague Philharmonic Choir are under the direction of Erik Nielsen.

Full details about the production are on the Festival website:

Bregenz Festival - The Merchant of Venice

Piccolo dbl. 3rd Flute / 2 Flutes / 2 Oboes / Cor Anglais / 3 Clarinets (1. B flat, A / 2. E flat, A, B flat / 3. B flat, A, Bass Clarinet in B flat) / 2 Bassoons / Contrabassoon dbl. 3rd Bassoon

4 Horns in F / 3 Trumpets in C, B flat (1st dbl. Opt. D) / 3 Trombones / Tuba

Timpani / Bass Drum / 2 Bongos (1 small, 1 large) / Castanets / Clashed Cymbals / Claves / Suspended Cymbal / Maracas / 2 Side Drums / Tambourine / Tam-tam / 2 Tom-toms (1 small, 1 large) (off-stage)
Triangle / Whip / Woodblock / 2 Glockenspiels (1 off-stage) / Tubular Bells (off-stage) / Xylophone

Celeste dbl. Piano
Harpsichord (Pit harpsichord in addition to Consort harpsichord)

On-Stage Consort:
Descant Recorder / Treble Recorder / Oboe d’amore in A / Oboe da Caccia in F / 2 Bassoons / Lute / Tabor /Harpsichord

Sung Roles:
JESSICA (High Soprano)
PORTIA (Mezzo-dramatic Soprano)
NERISSA (Mezzo-Soprano)
ANTONIO (Countertenor)
LORENZO (Lyric Tenor)
SHYLOCK (Baritone)
SALERIO (Baritone)

SATB Chorus and Boys’ Chorus

F/S Lib


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