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Faber

The Exterminating Angel Libretto

Adès’s third opera, The Exterminating Angel premiered at the Salzburg Festival in July 2016. Based on Luis Buñuel’s surrealist classic El ángel exterminador, the opera sees a collection of society’s grandees inexplicably trapped in a room.

The libretto, adapted from the original Buñuel-Alcoriza screenplay by the composer together with the director Tom Cairns brilliantly captures their descent into anarchy. Featuring a jaw-dropping 15 principals (who remain on stage for the majority of the piece), The Exterminating Angel is a true ensemble opera, and the skill with which Adès delineates the many intricacies and undercurrents present over its densely-packed span (just under two hours plus interval) is breathtaking. Like the shipwrecked characters of The Tempest, the cast of this new opera are held in a state of entrapment and dramatic stasis. Like the glittering high-society world of Powder Her Face, the dinner party guests are denizens of a nightmarish world of aristocratic pretension.

Music: Thomas Adès
Libretto: Tom Cairns after Luis Buñuel and Luis Alcoriza
Produced by: Faber Music
ISBN: 0571539696
Binding: paperback
Published: 2017