Composition database

This is the Composition Database of BMC, which includes information about works by composers that are either Hungarian or Hungarian by origin or live in Hungary.

Title of the work

Le Grand Macabre


Original / Hungarian title
Le Grand Macabre
Foreign language / English title
Le Grand Macabre
Oper in 4 Szenen / Opera in 4 scenes
"Lukas Ligeti gewidmet"
Year of composition

S. color., boy S. (or S. or Ct.), 2 S., 2 Ms., 2 T., 5 Bar., B., 3 silent role - mixed choir (behind the stage), mixed choir (auditorium) - picc. (anche fl. III), 2 fl. (II anche picc.), 2 ob. (II anche (anche III ob.), 2 cl. (II anche cl.s., sax.a.) cl.b. (anche cl. III), 2 fg., cfg. (anche fg. III) - 4 cor., 4 tr. in do (I ad lib. anche tr.picc.), tr.b., trb., trb.b., trb.cb., tuba (anche tuba cb.) - perc. (4 esec. - ) - 3 armonica a bocca crom., cel. (anche cemb.), pf. (anche el. pf.), el. org., mand., arpa - strings:3 vl., 2 vla., 6 vlc., 4 cb.

Stage music - the following instruments of the orchestra are required to play both in the orchestra and on the stage: picc., ob. II,, cl.picc., fg. II - tr. III, IV, trb. I, II - perc. III - vl. III
120 min

Movements, parts
Erster Akt / First Act:

Vorspiel / Prelude

Bild 1: Landschaft in Breughelland / Scene 1: Countryside in Breughelland

Zwischenspiel / Interlude

Bild 2: Im Haus des Hofastrologen / Scene 2: In the House of the court Astronomer

Zweiter Akt / Second Act :

Vorspiel / Prelude

Bild 3: Am Hof des Fürsten Go-Go / Scene 3: At the court of Prince Go-Go

Zwischenspiel / Interlude

Bild 4 (Epilog): Im schöne Lande Breughelland / Scene 4 (Epilogue): Countryside in Breughelland

MESCHKE, Michael; LIGETI, György
German / English
Commissioned by
the Stockholm Royal Opera (Original version)
the Salzburger Festspiele (Revised version in 1996)
Premiere information
12 April 1978, Stockholm; Königliche Oper, Michael Meschke (director), Elgar Howarth (cond.)

Premiere of the revised version: 28 July 1997, Salzburger Festspiele, Großes Festspielhaus, Salzburg; The Philharmonia Orchestra, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Peter Sellars (director), Esa-Pekka Salonen (cond.), Winfried Maczewski (choir director), Dunya Ramicova (costumes), George Tsypin (stage design), Joachim Schlömer (choreography)
Graham Clark - Piet vom Fass; Laura Claycomb - Amanda; Charlotte Hellekant - Amando; Willard White - Nekrotzar; Jard van Nes - Mescalina; Frode Olsen - Astradamors; Sibylle Ehlert - Venus und Gepopo; Steven Cole - Weißer Minister; Richard Suart - Schwarzer Minister; Derek Lee Ragin - Fürst Go-Go; Martin Winkler - Ruffiack; Walter Zeh - Schobiack; Josef Stangl - Schabernack

29 Október 1998, Thália Theater, Budapest (Hungarian premiere)
Publisher / Source
Schott Music, ED 8522 (study score) / Performance material on hire
Available here!
WERGO Wer 6170-2 (2 CDs), 1991 - Eirian Davies, Penelope Walmsley-Clarke (S.), Olive Fredricks, Christa Puhlmann-Richter (Ms.), Kevin Smith (Ct.), Peter Haage (T.), Dieter Weller (Bar.), Udo Krekow (B.), Herbert Prikopa, Ernst Leopold Strachwitz (voice), Gumpoldskirchner Spatzen, Arnold-Schönberg-Chor Wien, ORF-Sinfonie-Orchester, Elgar Howarth (cond.)
Sony 62312 (2 CDs), 1999 - Laura Claycomb, Sibylle Ehlert (S.), Charlotta Hellekant, Jard van Nes (Ms.), Derek Lee Ragin (Ct.), Graham Clark, Steve Cole (T.), Richard Suart (Bar.), Willard White (B.Bar.), Frode Olsen (B.), London Sinfonietta Voices, Philharmonia Orchestra London, Esa-Pekka Salonen (cond.)
1 min. sample
1 Vorspiel
2 Bild 1
3 Bild 2
4 Bild 3
5 Bild 4 (Epilog)
Remarks, other info
Composed: 1974 - 1977, revised: 1996

Free interpretation of Michel de Ghelderode´s play "La Balade du Grand Macabre"

English translation by Geoffrey Skelton



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