Four Saints in Three Acts: An Opera to Be Sung

Four Saints in Three Acts: An Opera to Be Sung

Four Saints in Three Acts: An Opera to Be Sung

Four Saints in Three Acts: An Opera to Be Sung

Excerpt

In that book which is generally referred to--and the reference is seldom queried--as "the autobiography," Gertrude Stein has written: "Virgil Thomson bad asked Gertrude Stein to write an opera for him. Among the saints there were two saints whom she bad always liked better than any others, Saint Therese of Avila and Ignatius Loyola, and she said she would write him an opera about these two saints. She began this and worked very hard at it all that spring and finally finished Four Saints and gave it to Virgil Thomson to put to music. He did. And it is a completely interesting opera both as to words and music."

If I am correct, this happened in 1927 and Virgil Thomson put the finishing touches on the piano score in 1928. At any rate, it was in December 1928 that be arrived in New York from Paris with the completed score and asked me what he should do with it. I suggested that he might give an audition of the opera at my apartment when I would invite a few people who might be interested in hearing it performed. This audition was arranged, and one evening a little later Virgil played the score, singing all the parts himself, from beginning to end before this small group. Among those who listened were the sisters of Miss Florine Stett heimer . . .

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