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Music Text

Libretto by M C Richards after Chaucer's `The Nun's Priest's Tale' (E)


lyrS,M,T,Bar gong/susp.cym/bells/BD/finger cyms/SD/xyl/wdbl/tamb/tgl-harp-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

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


World Premiere
Wheeler Opera House, Aspen, Colorado
Company: Aspen Music School


THE WIDOW Mezzo-soprano
PERTELOTE Lyric Soprano
THE FOX Baritone
Time and Place

Any time period, a barnyard or farm


It is before dawn. The Widow awakens and begins her household chores. As the sun rises she becomes alarmed that her prized rooster, Chanticleer, is late with his usual morning song.  Chanticleer is lost in a bad dream: a creature resembling a hound, yet with a bushy tail, has been stalking him. When he awakens his wife, Pertelote scolds him for being so foolish and, with the Widow's help, persuades him to sing the day in. The Fox, disguised as a hunter, comes to beg an egg from Pertelote and tries to capture her in a net, but she is saved when the Widow appears on the scene. Chanticleer is not so lucky: while out searching for lunch, the Fox, again disguised, flatters the cautious Chanticleer into singing. Once his guard is down, Chanticleer is captured by the Fox, who is then seen by Pertelote dragging her husband away.  Pertelote runs to the Widow for help. Pertelote and the Widow run to the woods in search of Chanticleer. Chanticleer tricks the Fox and brings him near enough to the Widow's broom for punishment. Chanticleer is a hero.



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