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Music Text

Libretto by Paolo Madron; German version by Hanna Francesconi (I,G)


S,T,Bar,B; mixed chorus;; II=SD/clash cyms/BD/susp.cym/TD/tom-t(med); III=t.bells/glsp/marimba/xyl; IV=claves/3timp-harp-pft-strings;
On-stage: 3gtr-perc(2):Dabakan(or TD)/gong/BD

Abbreviations (PDF)



This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Teatro Comunale, Vicenza
Luca Valentino, director
Conductor: Alex Betto
Company: Liceo Statale 'Antonio Pigafetta'


LOSO, ship's boy Soprano
MANSUR Baritone (from the chorus)
SALOMON, bosun silent Role (from the chorus)
The Rajah Humabon silent Role (from the chorus)
The Rani, his wife silent Role (from the chorus)
Sailors / Mutineers / Lapu Lapu Warriors Male chorus
Verzin Girls / Virgins / Off-Stage Women's Choir Female chorus
Subjects of Humabon / Inhabitants of Tidore / Crowd mixed chorus

The chronicler Antonio Pigafetta from Vicenza reported: “Before putting out to see, Captian Ferdinand Antonio Magellan promises his enthusiastic crew that their voyage of discovery in unknown waters would bring all of them pleasure, wealth, and fame, and honor to Spain and to God. On the passage, the small fleet finds itself in the middle of a storm. Juan de Cartagena, the commander of one of the escort ships (and a Catalan) accuses Magellan (a Portuguese) of incompetence and wants to refuse obedience. Magellan has him punished, and likewise the boatswain who tortured the ship’s boy Loso. On the coast of Brazil (called Verzin), the beauty and songs of the native women entice the sailors. During the harsh South-See winter, a mutiny breaks out, which can be quelled however. The transit through the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean succeeds; the great unknown stretches out before the protagonists.

Finally, they sight land and anchor off the Philippine island of Cebu. Their discovery seems to be the yearned for reward for the untold hardships. The inhabitants give the newcomers a friendly welcome. Magellan baptizes the ruler of the island with the Christian royal name Charles. However, the Lapu-Lapu living on the neighboring island resist the foreign faith and kill Magellan in a fierce battle. The Spaniards retreat to their ships – the most despairing among them is Pigafetta, who reveres Magellan and who left everything behind for his sake. He makes it to the Moluccan island of Tidore, where Spain and Portugal maintain a station for the spice trade. On the only remaining ship, Pigafetta finally arrives again at the expedition’s point of departure.


Dramatic, Poetic



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