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You're listening to music by Don give us a week. To week the. Best about the most unlikely place that you'd ever expect to hear an opera would be on an Army post. But the music of this overture is being played by the United States Army band orchestra under the baton of Captain Gilbert h Mitchell Jr.. We'll hear the complete overture in just a few moments after I tell you something about how it all happened. Appropriately all radio program should begin with a word of welcome combined with an invitation to stay tuned throughout in order to fully enjoy the complete show. Well this one is no exception. And I done gallows acting at this moment as your host and commentator
do hereby issue such an invitation with the hopes that you'll stay with us all the way. And why not. For on this broadcast we're going to be performing my one act comic opera the libretto. Now what kind of a business is this already. You may be asking yourself what kind of an opera would be named libretto. 1. Everybody knows that a libretto is of word which means the words of an opera. Well I'm glad you asked for it save me the trouble of trying to find a way to introduce a subject. The libretto is the name of my opera and it's about a composer who wanted to write an opera but he didn't have one libretto that is. And so the entire problem of this opera is to provide its hero William Emmet the composer by trade with the libretto so that he can write his masterpiece. The fact that he has a wife named Jan who spends most of her time trying to help him only complicates the proceedings. And you know this whole thing came about because I was once in the same state as the hero of my own opera William Emmett for finding a libretto for an opera
isn't a very easy thing. Most of the time one ends up writing it for himself according to all of the laws of creativity a composer isn't supposed to be able to also write words. However what's he going to do if he can't find words already written for him. In any case I wrote the words and music back in 1978 for this single set. One act opera which has but two characters. Actually it has one more non singing part assigned to the family dog a basset hound named Buster. All of the action takes place in the study of the composer. And if you're not familiar with the composer studies you will have to imagine a rather cluttered room sort of untidy well-lived and there's a piano of course and over it one side of the room there's a fireplace on the mantel piece of the fireplace. There are some candelabra a plaque and some wine goblets which are nominally quite attractive. There is a divan and some chairs a lamp or
so one entrance leads into the room from the rest of the House and the other door exits into the patio garden. As our story opens Bill Emmott the composer is sitting in his study quite morosely reading the music page of The Times. He's alone except for Buster the basset hound and he begins telling his troubles to the dog. After a long while Jan his wife makes an entrance and entrance of hustle bustle. She's determined once and for all to straighten up the cluttered study her overactive dusting and sweeping despite Bill's protests results in accidentally knocking over a lamp breaking it. And from this point the sweeping stops but there is a long series of discussions on opera and Jan determined she's going to help her husband and his dilemma of having no libretto on this broadcast will have time for only part of the score which in its entirety plays approximately 48 minutes. So better than talking about what you're
going to hear I think I'll just let you hear it. Very fine singers on this performance are Marilyn Taylor savage as Jan and Leslie Gwyn as William Emma the composer the conductor was Captain Gilbert h Mitchell Jr. of the United States Army Band and the performance you're about to hear was taped for us at the headquarters of the Army band at Fort Myer Virginia and is being used through permission of the Office of Information. Here it is now part one of the comic opera the libretto.
You. Asked. Ok cool. Ok ok cool.
Cook Yeah yeah. Yeah. I could. Keep it cool. LEHRER Yeah man you might just say that. It was now the.
Twenty three point six which would. Be that would be right. OK. Three hundred sixty five. What. Oh and yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah oh yeah. Oh yeah oh yeah oh
ok. Yeah and. I am. God. Yeah where Week that. Robert Yeah yeah. Mr. Banks now see now. Yes. You have. A hand. To Dr Gish usually. They should be good to us will be good. That. Was. What. That song. Was that he
was by this time. Next. Week. Yeah yeah yeah Gotch can was was. Good. Can't you hear.
It. But if you want to. Yes or just right. Okay got that right. It gets good reviews that you're doing one day a week you're back at the end. Of the week oh I knew it. The. Picture in the paper and you write up right you know that most reviewers are used to tell the news about the very latest on the rock star and their mortgage.
Yes it was. No no no it was like oh I. Don't know ya yeah yeah. Yeah yeah. Yeah you all. Watched. This. With. One buster. We went out. For all this talk. Even your ears must be tired. But I still say you're the lucky one. I work like a dog. You have all the fun. And we are ahead of the Brattle.
But let me know. You're going to. On Sunday. Good to see you man. What do we agree. I'd. Like. To be. A hit. Will you stop with all this money shying away at everything. Yes. That's all right. Now to Hey don't touch that. That's my son not to. Look.
At this. That's. My kid.
Yes you would. OK. Yeah. That's true.
Yes. Yes.
Let's. See here. You.
Might. Like. To think. About. It. Just a. Little bit. Right. You.
Like. That. Even though you. Used to. Write. To me right. Right right right. Right.
This. We need. This. One.
One might. Do it. But. Trite. Everyone I know uses at alland. I don't want to may I ask you that instead. You've been listening to the first part of a one act opera called the libretto by Don give us. I'm sorry that the operas too long to be heard in a single session on our broadcast but unfortunately it is. I only hope that the abruptness of the ending won't keep you from coming back next week to see how the whole thing ends up. Marilyn Taylor savage sang the role of Jan and the part of composer where you Menippus sung by Leslie when Captain Gilbert h Mitchell Jr. conducted members of the United States Army
Band in this tape which was prepared for Meyer Virginia through the cooperation of Colonel Hugh Curry and which is being used through permission of the Office of Information. Now next week as our story progresses and this is beginning to sound a little like an old fashioned movie serial where the heroes left hanging on the edge of the cliff by his fingernails next week we're going to pursue the problem that Bill Emmott has in finding a libretto for his very own opera. Jan whom we remember as having grown tired of Bill's grumpiness cause that not having a libretto is attempting to help him solve his problems. And next week her suggestions will range from an ad lib type of script to a long series of positive suggestions which are more or less met by Bill with negative responses. One scene in particular I like the part where Jan suggests to her husband that he write his op in a foreign language and then nobody will know the difference. We just have time on the show to hear that particular section. It's the one I called etc..
You. See.
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The music of Don Gillis
The libretto, Part 1
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The Libretto, Part 1. An opera about a composer who needs a libretto to write an opera about.
Other Description
This series features the works of Don Gillis; hosted by the composer himself. Most of the performances are conducted by the composer.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Composer: Gillis, Don, 1912-1978
Host: Gillis, Don, 1912-1978
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-24-17 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:09
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Chicago: “The music of Don Gillis; The libretto, Part 1,” 1964-09-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 29, 2022,
MLA: “The music of Don Gillis; The libretto, Part 1.” 1964-09-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 29, 2022. <>.
APA: The music of Don Gillis; The libretto, Part 1. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from