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Two Mini Operas

The Telephone – Menotti

A Hand of Bridge – Barber

October 24 2015

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Sung in English

At only 9 minutes long, A Hand of Bridge may be the shortest opera that is regularly performed and we are delighted to be bringing it to the Classical Sheffield Festival.


Written by Samuel Barber this delightful comic opera shows you a short moment of a couples’ game night and highlights the four characters’ inner thoughts.


A Hand of Bridge will be preceeded by Barber’s Symphonic Poem Knoxville: Summer of 1915; a beautiful piece reflecting on the childhood of a young boy growing up in 20th century America.


The evening will begin with a work by Barber’s long term partner Gian Carlo Menotti and his much loved classic The Telephone, a short opera in which Ben tries tirelessly to propose to his girlfriend Lucy, however, she is pre-occupied with her brand new telephone!

Menotti, Opera on Location

Gian Carlo Menotti


Menotti was an Italian-American composer and although he often referred to himself as an American composer, he always maintained his Italian citizenship. He was a talented composer but an equally talented librettist and he won the pulitzer prize not only once but twice for his works The Consul and The Saint of Bleecker Street. He died in Monaco but is buried in Scotland where he spent the latter years of his life and jokingly referred to himself as ‘Mr McNotti’. 

Location: Crucible Theatre


The Crucible Studio is an intimate located in the iconic Crucible building in the heart of Sheffield. Its ‘in the round’ setting means audiences are on all four sides, creating a uniquely intimate audience experience.

Barber, Opera on Location

Samuel Barber


Samuel Barber was also an American composer known mostly for his stunning composition Adagio for Strings. He also won two pulitzer prizes one for his Piano Concerto and the other for his opera Vanessa which had a libretto by none other than Gian Carlo Menotti. Menotti and Barber had a long relationship. They met at the Curtis Institute of Music whilst students and traveled extensively together before settling in New York where they were known for hosting extremely high brow parties. The composers had studios at opposite ends of the building as not to disturb one another whilst working and although Barber in particular didn’t identify with ‘gay culture’ he did consider himself married to Menotti.  

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