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(Walton: Troilus and Cressida). Sop./mez. Daughter of Calkas, High Priest of Pallas. She is a widow, her husband having been killed in the Trojan Wars, and is about to take her vows as a priestess. Initially she cannot accept Troilus’ love, but, tricked by her uncle into spending the night with the Trojan prince, they admit their love for each other and she gives him her crimson scarf. When she is taken to the Greek camp in exchange for a Trojan prisoner, she takes with her the scarf as a token of their eternal love. But she receives no word from Troilus and after ten weeks reluctantly agrees to marry the Greek prince Diomede. When Troilus arrives at the Greek camp it becomes clear that Cressida's maid has been burning his letters. As he and Diomede fight, Calkas stabs Troilus in the back. Rather than be left in the Greek camp as a whore for the soldiers, Cressida kills herself with Troilus's sword. Arias: Slowly it all comes back; At the haunted end of the day. This role was written by Walton with the voice of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in mind, but she never sang it on stage, although she did record some of the arias. (Maria Callas was another soprano Walton would have loved to sing it!) In 1976 the composer rewrote the music of Cressida for the mezzo‐soprano Janet Baker, who sang it at Covent Garden that year. Created (1954) by Magda Laszló. See also article by Lady Susana Walton.

Subjects: Opera.

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