Shows B

Characterisation: • HELEN … famed for her beauty, and her flirtations … Soprano. • LEONA & CRESSIDA … two attractive and vivacious young “moderns” of Sparta. Sopranos. • NESTA … Helen’s personal maid and confidante. … Contralto. • VENUS (Soprano), JUNO (Soprano), MINERVA (Mezzo-Soprano) …Three goddesses, jealous of each other’s beauty. • ORESTES … Agamemnon’s playboy son, nephew to Menelaus. … Light Tenor. • PARIS … Prince of Troy, son of King Priam. Young, personable, debonair. … High baritone. • CALCHAS … Chief Augur of the Temple, and a wily worker of the Oracle. … Pseudo-dignified comedy baritone. • MENELAUS … Helen’s middle-aged, much-deceived, and much-derided husband. … Character comedian; baritone. • ACHILLES & AJAX (Baritones) … two Greek Heroes, more burly than brainy, and jealous of their reputations. • AGAMEMNON … Brother to Menelaus; eldest of the three kings visiting Sparta—and rather smugly aware of his reputation for being the wisest. … Bass-baritone. • MERCURY …Messenger of the Gods. Baritone. • PHILOCOMUS … Calchas’s assistant, aider-and-abettor. Baritone. THE ORCHESTRA Scenes and Settings: PROLOGUE: Mount Ida. ACT I—Sparta: before the Temple of Jupiter. ACT II—Sparta: the Queen’s apartment in the Palace. ACT III —Nauplia : the seashore. PERIOD The action of the operetta takes place, without any regard for credibility, in unspecified ANCIENT TIMES, in an unlikely ANCIENT GREECE. Instrumentation: flute, oboe, 2 clarinets, bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, percussion, harp, strings. Professional Versions: 2 flutes, oboe, 2 clarinets, bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 1 trombone, 3 percussion, strings IN the new version for amateur companies of “La Belle Hélène”, the orchestration has been carefully arranged to meet the requirements of modest or large orchestras. The minimum combination for an effective performance is: Flute; 1st B flat Clarinet; 1st and 2nd Trumpets; 1st Trombone; Percussion and Strings. Thereafter, instruments should be added in the following order: 2nd B flat Clarinet; Oboe; 2nd Trombone; Bassoon; 1st and 2nd Horns and lastly, Harp. The work is liberally cued. In the absence of the Oboe, the 1st Trumpet should play these cues muted. Oboe cues are doubled in Flute and Clarinet parts where practicable, and the Horn and Bassoon cues appear in Cello, Trombone and Trumpet parts. It is emphasised that a complete string section should be used (1st and 2nd Violins, Viola, Cello and Bass), but Clarinet parts contain many essential cues to be played in absence of a Viola. The string parts are bowed and fingered where necessary, and the 1st Violin has all important melody cues throughout. The vocal score carries instrumentation marks for the musical director’s assistance. Discography: Offenbach - La Belle Hélène / Lott, Beuron, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Minkowski