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The Aspern Papers
PREMIERE11/19/1988
COMPOSERDominick Argento   
LIBRETTISTDominick Argento   
 
Synopsis
Juliana Bordereau, a former prima donna and mistress of the composer Aspern, is living with her spinster niece Tina in a villa on the edge of Lake Como. A stranger appears, requesting that the women rent him a room. The lodger is a scholar and biographer of Aspern, and believes that Juliana may possess the score of an operatic masterpiece—believed lost—that Aspern wrote for her shortly before his death sixty years earlier. The action alternates between two time periods: 1895, when the lodger is attempting to discover whether a score of Aspern's opera Medea exists, and 1835, where we see the young Juliana and Aspern, learn about a relationship between Aspern and a soprano, Sonia, and learn more about the opera Medea. Juliana dies, and Tina suggests that the stranger may have the score if he will marry her. He rejects her offer and plans to leave the next day. In the morning, he tells Tina that he has changed his mind and must have the score. She tells him it is too late, and he departs. Later, alone in her music room, Tina drops the score of the opera—page by page—into a blazing fire.
MOST PRODUCED SINCE 2000
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