Reference Entry

Harrison, Tony

Andrew Clements

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print December 1992 |
Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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[Anthony ]

(b Leeds, April 30, 1937). English librettist and translator . He studied at Leeds University and worked first as an English lecturer. His first collection of poetry, The Loiners, appeared in 1972. Harrison’s verse translations for the National Theatre led to collaborations with Harrison Birtwistle. The first was the music-theatre piece Bow Down (1977), based on the ballad The Two Sisters, and the second, the ‘mechanical pastoral’ Yan Tan Tethera (1986), which was derived from a northern English folktale collected by K. M. Briggs. Harrison’s rhymed-couplet translation of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride was first sung at the Metropolitan Opera in 1978, and he provided the libretto for Medea: a Sex-War Opera, commissioned from Jacob Druckman by the Metropolitan in 1985. That text is a vivid reworking of Euripides’ tragedy, into which Harrison introduces literary and operatic references to other versions of the legend. The result is a historical continuum that brings the action up to the present day....

Reference Entry.  171 words. 

Subjects: Opera ; Contemporary Music

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