Maria Golovin



Musica e libretto di Gian Carlo Menotti

Prima rappresentazione: Brussels, International Exposition Pavilion Theater dell’ Expo ’58, 20 August 1958.


  • Agata: mezzosoprano
  • Donato: basso baritono
  • Dr Zuckertanz: tenore
  • La madre: contralto
  • Maria Golovin: soprano
  • Trottolo, suo figlio: ragazzo soprano
  • Un prigioniero: baritono


Libretto (eng) – Maria Golovin


Scene 1

(The curtain rises on a room in Donato’s house, an old villa
overlooking a lake; once well cared for, it is now in a rather
dilapidated state. The room, which only recently has been converted
into a drawing room, is over crowded with ill-fitting and ill-matching
Victorian furniture, evi­dently belonging to other rooms. Stage left,
by the fireplace, a very low coffee table in front of a large sofa, a
rocking chair and an armchair. Stage right, a rather antiquated
upright piano. In a corner of the room, an architect’s drawing table
on which, half-covered by an oilcloth, one can see small plastic
models of buildings and large plaster reproductions of anatomical
details from Greek statuary. A dark open corridor, upstage left,
apparently leads to the entrance hall and the rest of the house.
Near backstage center, a small door opens on a narrow winding
stairway which connects the room with the apartment upstairs.
Also at the back of the room a large French window looks out on
the garden terrace. Somewhere between the door and the window,
in a niche, stands a rather incon­gruous-looking porcelain statue
of a Chinese mandarin. A few architectural drawings of modern
buildings are hung indiscriminately on the walls, side by side, with
nondescript nineteenth-century oil landscapes. Strewn about the
room, but mostly half-hidden behind the furniture, one sees empty
bird cages of different shapes and sizes. In spite of the large
French window, which brightens the room, the atmosphere is
oddly oppressive, as if the people in the room were imprisoned
by its walls. It is mid-afternoon; a cold day in early spring. As the
curtain rises, Donato is sitting on the sofa holding a
small bird cage which he has just finished making,
while Agata looks intently out into the garden through
the French window)

One… two… three… Good heavens
I Three maids, a cook, a tutor and a chauffeur.
They must spend their days tying each other’s shoes, these people.
Nothing for me, through.
The tutor looks like a puppet and the chauffeur is as old as an owl.
There is the little boy! A devil I can tell.

(In a sing-song, after striking a comic attitude)

Let us say good bye to your mother’s china.

(Looking again out of the window)

Oh, finally out steps madame!

"Dimmi il mio nome prima dell'alba, e all'alba vincerò"
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