An opera by Joel Feigin, after the play by William Shakespeare

Act One

Prelude and Storm

4 minutes

The curtain rises on a storm off the seacoast of Illyria. In a brief moment of quiet, the voices of Viola and Sebastian are heard calling to each other off-stage.

Scene 1. Arrival in Illyria

Characters:

  • Viola (Soprano)
  • Sebastian (Tenor)
  • A Captain (Baritone)
  • Antonio (Bass)

6 minutes

Viola and Sebastian are separated and each is swept up on the coast of Illyria, believing the other is dead. On opposite sides of the stage, Viola is helped by a sea captain and Sebastian is helped by Antonio. Antonio is smitten with Sebastian and hopes to serve him, but Sebastian decides to leave for the court of Orsino, Duke of Illyria. Despite his many enemies in Orsino’s court, Antonio follows him. In the meantime, the captain tells Viola of the Duke’s unrequited love for the Countess Olivia. Viola decides to disguise herself as a man and serve Orsino. Before they depart, the characters join to sing a brief Quartet.

Scene 2. Olivia’s Household

Characters:

  • Maria (Coloratura Soprano)
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Counter-Tenor)
  • Fabian (Baritone)
  • Feste (Baritone)
  • Sir Toby Belch (Bass)

4 minutes

Feste, the fool of the Countess Olivia, introduces the members of Olivia’s household. Sir Andrew Aguecheek hopes to win the hand of Olivia, the niece of his friend, Sir Toby Belch. Fabian and Maria, Olivia’s attendants, join the others in a Quintet in praise of revelry.

Scene 3. Orsino’s Court

Characters:

  • Orsino (Tenor)
  • Viola (Soprano)

6 minutes

Viola, disguised as the page-boy Cesario, has joined the court of Orsino, who sings of his love for Olivia. Viola, in the meantime, has fallen in love with Orsino. When a servant brings a letter in which Olivia again refuses Orsino’s offers, the Duke asks his page to woo Olivia on his behalf. Viola agrees, but, left alone, sings of her love for Orsino and her hopes that Sebastian might still be alive.

Scene 4. The Willow Cabin Scene at Olivia’s House

Characters:

  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Feste (Baritone)
  • Malvolio (Baritone)
  • Viola (Soprano)
  • Maria (not singing)

15 minutes

Feste observes Olivia enter with her attendants, including Maria and the puritanical steward, Malvolio. Olivia orders Feste to be taken away, but the fool stays and, questioning Olivia, proves her a fool. Olivia is amused but Malvolio is not. Toby enters, totally drunk, and reports that a stranger is at the gate. Olivia sends Toby away in the care of Feste while Malvolio goes to find out who has arrived, and, if it is a messenger from the Duke, to dismiss him. However, Olivia is intrigued by Malvolio’s description of the page and allows his approach. In the following Duet, Viola describes Orsino’s love for Olivia while Olivia falls in love with the page-boy.

Scene 5. The Kitchen Scene

Characters:

  • Feste (Baritone)
  • Sir Toby (Bass)
  • Sir Andrew (Counter-Tenor)
  • Maria (Coloratura Soprano)
  • Malvolio (Baritone)

7 minutes

In the kitchen of Olivia’s house, Feste sings the song “O mistress mine, where are you roaming?” Toby and Andrew enter and join Feste in loud revelry. Maria enters and warns them that Malvolio is coming. When Malvolio enters he upbraids the revelers. Toby refuses to back down, and Malvolio storms out threatening to tell Olivia. Maria now unfolds a plot against Malvolio: she will write a letter leading Malvolio to believe that Olivia is in love with him. She, Toby and Andrew sing a Trio looking forward to Malvolio’s humiliation.

Scene 6. Orsino’s Court

Characters:

  • Feste (Baritone)
  • Orsino (Tenor)
  • Viola (Soprano)

10 minutes

Orsino asks Feste for a song, and the fool sings “Come away, come away, death.” Orsino wants Viola to return once more to Olivia, but Viola tries to reconcile him to his love’s indifference. “Cesario” describes a “sister” who “never told her love” and “sat like Patience on a monument, smiling at grief.” Orsino is moved, and in the end Viola leaves to return to Olivia.

Scene 7. The Letter Scene

Characters:

  • Malvolio (Baritone)
  • Maria (Coloratura Soprano)
  • Sir Andrew (Counter-Tenor)
  • Fabian (Baritone)
  • Sir Toby (Bass)

9 minutes

Maria brings Toby, Andrew and Fabian to view Malvolio’s discovery of her letter. Malvolio is already half convinced of Olivia’s love. When he reads the letter, he determines to follow its instructions completely: he will wear cross-garters and yellow stockings; he will smile; he will be surly with Toby. The others witness his reaction, and they look forward to his appearance before Olivia.

Act Two

Scene 1. Viola’s Aria

Characters:

  • Viola (Soprano)
  • Sir Toby (Bass)
  • Sir Andrew (Counter-Tenor)

2 minutes

Viola enters holding a ring she has received from Olivia. She realizes that Olivia is in love with her. Toby and Andrew enter and invite Viola in to see Olivia.

Scene 2. Second Viola/Olivia Duet

Characters:

  • Viola (Soprano)
  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Maria (Coloratura Soprano)

6 minutes

Viola again tries to woo the Countess, but Olivia declares her love for “Cesario.” Viola leaves as Olivia tries to call her back.   She summons Maria and asks to see Malvolio, who is so “sad and civil.” Maria says that Malvolio is coming, and he must be “possessed” since he does nothing but smile.

Scene 3. The Yellow Stockings Scene

Characters:

  • Malvolio (Baritone)
  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Maria (Coloratura Soprano)
  • Fabian (Baritone)
  • Sir Toby (Bass)
  • Servant (Baritone)

6 minutes

Malvolio enters, crossed-gartered and in yellow stockings, and he proceeds to woo the baffled Olivia. Hearing that Viola has returned, the Countess leaves, asking Toby to watch over the mad Malvolio. Toby, Fabian and Maria try to calm Malvolio, who stalks off saying he’s “not of your element.” Toby and Maria decide to bind Malvolio up in a dark room, a common treatment for madness.

Scene 4. The Duel Scene

Characters:

  • Viola (Soprano)
  • Sir Andrew (Counter-Tenor)
  • Fabian (Baritone)
  • Sir Toby (Bass)
  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Antonio (Bass)
  • Officer  (Baritone)

5 1/2 minutes

Andrew enters, furious because Olivia has shown such attention of “Cesario.” Toby and Fabian persuade him to challenge the youth to a duel. Viola and Olivia enter, Olivia begging for "Cesario's" love, and Viola continuing to speak for Orsino. Olivia leaves, and Toby tells “Cesario” that he has been challenged to a duel. Both “Cesario” and Andrew are terrified; in a Quartet, Fabian and Toby convey messages back and forth between the two contestants. Just as the duel is about to start, Antonio enters with sword drawn to save “Sebastian.” Immediately two officers enter and arrest Antonio, who asks “Sebastian” to return some money that he had lent him. Seeing Viola’s confusion, Antonio denounces Sebastian as he is led off. Hearing her brother’s name, Viola realizes that he must still be alive.

Scene 5. Sebastian’s Arrival

Characters:

  • Sebastian (Tenor)
  • Feste (Baritone)
  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Sir Andrew (Counter-Tenor)
  • Sir Toby (not singing)
  • Fabian (not singing)

1 1/2 minutes

Sebastian enters and encounters Feste, who has been sent for “Cesario.” Sebastian, already confused, is now attacked by Andrew, Toby and Fabian, who flee on the entrance of Olivia. The supposed “Cesario” is now responsive to Olivia, and they leave together.

Scene 6. The Prison Scene

Characters:

  • Malvolio (Baritone)
  • Feste (Baritone)
  • Maria (Coloratura Soprano)
  • Sir Toby (Bass)

4 minutes

Maria and Toby disguise Feste as a clergyman to minister to the “mad” Malvolio. Malvolio protests his innocence. Returning without the disguise, Feste finally agrees to deliver a letter to Olivia.

Scene 7. Sebastian and Olivia

Characters:

  • Sebastian (Tenor)
  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Feste (Baritone)

5 minutes

Sebastian enters, not fully able to believe what has happened. Olivia re-enters and they agree to plight their faith to each other in a duet. As they leave, Feste enters and sings part of “O Mistress Mine.”

Scene 8. The Confusions come to a head.

Characters:

  • Orsino (Tenor)
  • Viola (Soprano)
  • Antonio (Bass)
  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Priest (Baritone)
  • Sir Toby (Bass)
  • Sir Andrew (Counter-Tenor)
  • Feste (not singing)
  • Officer (not singing)

3 minutes

Orsino enters with his entire court, and has Feste fetch Olivia. The officers bring Antonio in chains, but Viola tells Orsino that the prisoner had rescued her. Antonio claims that he has been with Sebastian for three months; Orsino tells him that “Cesario” has served him for three months. Olivia approaches with her attendents; she again refuses Orsino while claiming “Cesario” as her husband. Toby and Andrew appear, wounded, claiming that “Cesario” has beaten them. Viola protests her innocence. Toby and Andrew leave, cared for by Feste, when---

Scene 9. Reunion

Characters:

  • Sebastian (Tenor)
  • Viola (Soprano)
  • Orsino (Tenor)
  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Antonio (Bass)
  • Small Chorus. SATB

8 1/2 minutes

----Sebastian reappears, apologizing to Olivia for having beaten her kinsmen. All present are astonished by the two identical twins. Sebastian and Viola question each other until it is clear that “Cesario” is indeed Viola. The confusions unravelled, brother and sister and lovers are filled with joy, but Antonio is saddened as he realizes that he must give up Sebastian, as all join in an extended Quintet with the chorus.

Scene 10. Conclusion

Characters:

  • Viola (Soprano)
  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Sebastian (Tenor)
  • Orsino (Tenor)
  • Feste (Baritone)
  • Malvolio (Baritone)
  • Fabian (Baritone)
  • Antonio (not singing)

6 1/2 minutes

As Orsino realizes that he has actually been in love with his supposed page-boy, Malvolio is brought on by Fabian, protesting his mistreatment and showing Olivia the letter he had found. Olivia realizes that the letter is in Maria’s hand. Malvolio storms off. All the characters leave the stage, except for Feste ---

Scene 11. The Fool’s Song and the Final Ensemble

Characters:

  • Viola (Soprano)
  • Olivia (Soprano)
  • Orsino (Tenor)
  • Sebastian (Tenor)
  • Feste (Baritone)
  • Maria (Coloratura Soprano)
  • Sir Andrew (Counter-Tenor)
  • Fabian (Baritone)
  • Sir Toby (Bass)
  • Antonio (Bass)

4 minutes

---who sings a bitter-sweet folk-song about the wind and the rain. All the soloists but Malvolio come out to join him in the final stanza of the song.