Punch and Judy synopsis
Music by Harrison Birtwistle
Libretto by Stephen Pruslin
First performed: 1968
Mister Punch’s roots are in the Bacchanalian celebrations of Ancient Greece, the facial masks and stock characters of the commedia dell’arte, the strings and vocal squeakers of French puppetry, and finally manifest in the wood, felt and glue glove-puppet of England’s beloved Punch.
Harrison Birtwistle and Steven Pruslin’s opera brings Punch back to flesh and blood.
His story is simple:
Punch murders his baby.
Punch murders his wife, Judy.
Punch murders the Doctor and Lawyer.
Punch murders his Choregos who runs the show.
Punch’s conscience finally catches up with him in a Nightmare.
But Punch always escapes Death. Even the Devil in disguise.
And so Punch marries the girl of his dreams, Pretty Polly, and lives happily ever after.
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