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1991production photo from Oedipus

Oedipus 1991

July 27 - August 17, 1991

The innocent Oedipus…

… unknowingly destroys his father and sets in motion the tragic chain of events culminating in his downfall.  Rihm’s score brings this chilling myth to life.

Music and Libretto By
Wolfgang Rihm



To thwart the Oracle of Delphi’s prophecy: (“Your son will kill you and marry his mother”), King Laius of Thebes mutilated the feet of his newborn son and ordered a shepherd to abandon him on the mountainside. But the shepherd gave the baby to Polybus, King of Corinth, who raised him as his own son and named him Oedipus (“swollen feet”).

Years later, hoping to clarify his origins, Oedipus goes to Delphi only to hear the same prophecy. Returning home he argues with an old man over the right of way at a crossroads and kills him and all but one of his attendants. Unknowingly he has fulfilled the prophecy. Oedipus leaves Corinth for Thebes, a city suffering from a plague caused by the Sphinx. He solves the creature’s riddle, and the plague disappears. For this he is given Jocasta, the widow of Laius as his wife, and the throne of Thebes. The prophecy is fulfilled.

The Opera

Scene 1: Oedipus and the Sphinx

Though the riddle was solved, the plague is returning.

Scene 2: Oedipus the King

The Elders plead for relief from the plague. Jocasta’s brother, Kreon, brings a prophecy “Only the punishment of Laius’ murder will save Thebes.” The seer Tiresias accuses Oedipus of the crime.

Scene 3: Child in the Wilderness

In a pantomime we see Oedipus as a child.

Scene 4: Oedipus and Kreon

Oedipus accuses his brother-in-law of conspiracy.

Scene 5: Oedipus and the Mother

Jocasta remembers Laius’ death.

Scene 6: Oedipus at the Crossroads

Scene 7: The Shepherd

A messenger reports the death of Polybus. He tells Oedipus that he was not his real son.

Scene 8: The Truth

Jocasta cries co protect Oedipus from the truth. The attendant who escaped murder recognizes him.

Scene 9: The Child Is Saved

Oedipus understands everything. Jocasta kills herself.

Scene 10: Punishment

Oedipus blinds himself. His children are taken from him: He leaves as he came, alone.


Rod Gilfry headshot

Rod Gilfry



David Rampy headshot

David Rampy



William Dooley headshot

William Dooley



Emily Golden headshot

Emily Golden



Peter Van Derick

Peter Van Derick


A Messenger

Patryk Woblewski headshot

Patryk Wroblewski


A Shepherd

George Manahan headshot

George Manahan


Francesca Zambello headshot

Francesca Zambello


Bruno Schwengl headshot

Bruno Schwengl

Scenic Designer

Craig Miller headshot

Craig Miller

Lighting Designer

Tom Clark

Tom Clark

Sound Designer

Rodney Griffin

Rodney Griffin


Gary Wedow headshot

Gary Wedow

Chorus Master