Spreading The News


Adapted from the play of the same name by Lady Gregory

Cast: 9M/5W  •  Instrumentation: Chamber Orchestra  •  Duration: 55 minutes

Spreading The News is the third act of a planned Irish triptych. It was commissioned by baritone David Holloway to partner with the Vaughn Williams/Synge opera, Ryders To The Sea. Spreading The News is based on the play by Lady Gregory and the planned first act, Cathleen ni Houlihan is by Yeats.

Spreading The News takes place in a small town at the turn of the century where Bartley Fallon lives. Always one to expect the worse, Bartley in advertently becomes the center of the town’s attention. Through a series of miscommunications, the townfolk come to believe he has murdered Jack Smith. Jack Smith has merely gone out to a meadow to make hay for the day, but his misplaced pitchfork becomes an alleged murder weapon as rumors swirl out of control. After Bartley sings a mourning aria to the poor dead man, the opera comes to a comical conclusion as the dead man once again shows up in the town square.

These one-acts may be performed as an evening with or without Vaughn Williams’ opera — presenting only Spreading The News and Cathleen ni Houlihan. The orchestra requirements are the same for both operas. While Spreading The News has been premiered, Cathleen ni Houlihan exists only as a plan at the moment awaiting a commission.

Previous Production: North Park University, Spring 1998

Listen: Following Jack Smith  •  The Lord Have Mercy  •  The Last I Saw