Reznicek, Emil Nikolaus von


Reznicek, Emil Nikolaus von

Holofernes (Opera in two acts with German libretto)

SKU: 2098 Category:



Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek – Holofernes (Judith and Holofernes) 1922

(b. Vienna, 4 May 1860 – d. Berlin, 1 August 1945)

Opera in two acts freely adapted from Hebbel

Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek after the tragedy of Friedrich Hebbel
Dedicated to Michael Bohnen

World premiere
27 October 1923, Städtische Oper Berlin

3 flutes (3rd also piccolo), 3 oboes (3rd also cor anglais), 2 clarinets, bass clarinet,
2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba,
timpani, percussion(4), celesta, 3 harps, strings

Osias, chief priest of Bethulien – bass
Judith – soprano
Abra, her maid – alto
Holofernes – bass baritone
Achior, captain of Holofernes – tenor
1st captain of the same – tenor
2nd captain of the same – bass
3rd captain of the same – Bass
Assad, a citizen – Bass
Daniel, his brother (dumb and blind) – Tenor
Messenger of Mesopotamia – Bass
A Trabant – Bass
A female voice – Soprano

Priest, elders, citizens and people of Bethlehem, Hebrew and Assyrian captains and soldiers, priests of Baal,
a chamberlain and servant of Holofernes, dancers.


Time: 1st century B.C.
Source: According to the book Judith, Old Testament
Place: The action takes place in and before the (H)Ebrean city Bethulien
Duration: approx. 90’

1. Act: The city Bethulien is besieged by Assyrian soldiers. The hebrean people, at the end of their strength, starved and shortly before dying of thirst, can no longer withstand the enemy’s troops and want to surrender. The masses hope for the mercy of the enemy and want to storm the gates. Osias, the chief priest of Bethulien, tries to appease the angry and exhausted people and encourage them to persevere. Judith emerges, angered by the lack of courage and weak faith of the people. She asks for delay, „still wait until the next dawn”. After some resistance, the crowd agrees. Ready to save her people, Judith plans to kill the enemy Captain Holofernes during his intercourse. “The way to my deed goes through sin! Thank you, thank you, Lord! May I love my honour, my immaculate body more than you? You made me beautiful, now I know why”. With great determination she prepares her deed. She has her maid Abra dress her up and wrap her in beautiful robes and leaves Bethulien to meet Captain Holofernes, who is known as the particularly cruel. Judith: “I will avenge the dead and shelter the living.“ …


Read full preface > HERE

Score Data


Opera Explorer




210 x 297 mm





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