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May 18, 1939 | American Lyric Theater
Devil & Daniel Webster
Composer:Douglas Moore
Librettist:Stephen Vincent Benet
Synopsis
The neighbors of Cross Corners are celebrating the marriage of Jabez and Mary Stone. Jabez is extremely successful in life, and there is talk of his running for Governor. Daniel Webster, the New England hero, appears as a guest at the party. Another guest, a Boston lawyer named Scratch, carries a black collecting box under his arm. Scratch's appearance terrifies Jabez, whose song horrifies the neighbors. A lost soul, in the form of a moth, flies out of the collecting box. The neighbors, realizing that Jabez has sold his soul to the Devil, denounce him and flee. Left alone with Mary, Jabez tells of how he came to make his bargain. They appeal to Daniel Webster, who promises to help them. When Webster demands a trial for his client, Scratch summons a jury of famous American traitors and renegades as well as a hanging judge who presided at the Salem witch trials. It is a jury of damned souls, and Webster seems about to lose-not only the case, but his own soul's salvation when, by his powers of oratory, he finally turns the tables on Scratch and rescues Jabez. The neighbors rush in to drive the Devil out of New Hampshire. -Stephen Vincent Benet

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)
1:05

Number of Acts
1

Musical Style
Tonal; distinctive style influenced by patterns of traditional American folk tunes, hymns, and popular songs

Vocal & Musical Forces
Mezzo-soprano, 3 Tenors, 3 Baritones, 2 Basses, 3 Speakers; Chorus; Two flutes (piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 2 French horns, 2 trumpets, trombone, harp, timpani, percussion, strings; (reduced orchestration available: 1/1/1/1, 1/1/1/0, percussion, strings)

Original Cast
John Gurney (Jabez Stone)
Nancy McCord (Mary Stone)
Lansing Hatfield (Daniel Webster)
George Raseley (Mr. Scratch)
Fred Stewart (The Fiddler)
Clair Kramer (Justice Hathorne)
Edward Marshall (Clerk of the Court)



 
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