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The Boor
Composer:Dominick Argento
Librettist:John Olon-Scrymgeour
For an entire year Madam Popova has been in deep mourning for her feckless husband. Then one afternoon Smirnov, who she does not know, bursts in upon he demanding payment of her late husband's gambling debts--debts of which she was unaware. Smirnov must have this money immediately to pay his taxes and aviod the seizure of his estate. Popova cannot pay immediately because her stead is away and she has no cash.

Smirnov and Popova take an instant dislike to each other, and in the course of a long afternoon do a very thorough job of revealing each other's faults and short comings. Things degenerate to the point that Popova can stand no more of Smirnov's insults, and she slaps him soundly across the face. After Smirnov is slapped, he decides he has taken all the abuse he can bear from women in general and Popova in particular -- and he challenges her to a duel. The servants are horrified, but Popova stands up to Smirnov. She's quite willing to duel with him, providing he will teach her how to fire a pistol. Gallantly, Smirnov agrees.

While teaching Popova to fire the pistol, Smirnov tricks her into shooting and destroying a treasured photograph of her dead husband. Popova attacks Smirnov in a fury, and he is so taken by her fire and spirit that he begins to fall in love with her. When he attempts to withdraw from the duel, Popova discovers that it is because he is attracted to her. After much argument and resistance, Smirnov finally convinces Popova that a life with him is better than a life wasted in mourning, and they rush off to be married.
Courtesy of Peermusic Classical

Click company name to view productions details.
Opera North (U.S.)The Boor8/8/1997 - 8/22/1997
University of MichiganThe Boor3/1/1993 - 3/25/1993

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
mildly dissonant tonal

Vocal & Musical Forces
soprano, bass, comprimario baritone, piano

Original Cast
Barbara Altman (Widow)
William Duvall (Boor)

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