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A Full Moon in March
PREMIERE1/1/1977
COMPOSERJohn Harbison   
LIBRETTISTW.B. Yeats   
 
Synopsis
Based on the play by W.B.Yeats, a leading poet and playwright of the Irish Theatre, who as a mystic was influenced by Celtic legend. The mysterious and highly symbolic plot tells of the cold Queen and the coarse Swineherd who dares to woo her.  She awaits the man who best sings his passion and to him she will give herself in marriage and her throne. A Swineherd comes to sing for her and the Queen warns him that she is “cruel as the winter of virginity.” He sings, but she hears his words as insults and orders his execution.
Before he is led away she drops her veil so he can behold her face as he is led out by the two Attendants who serve as narrators-chorus. They comment on the foregoing, then reveal the Queen again holding the head of the Swineherd on a stake. She begins to perform a dance with the head—slowly, alluring, in a blood ritual of cleansing and rebirth. John Harbison writes: “In Yeat’s astrological-metaphysical system the full moon has a special place in Phase 15, a phase of complete and unexplainable beauty, where unity can be achieved and opposites unite.  March represents the ending of a cycle and the creation of a new one.  The characters in this drama meet at a moment of mythic truth remote from motivation or even the need to explain.”
MOST PRODUCED SINCE 2000
RANKTITLEPRODUCTIONS
307A Full Moon in March3
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This work ranks as the #112 most produced North American title since 2000.
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