Comic opera in 3 acts - 110'

Libretto by the composer, based on Nick Dear's adaptation of Alexander Ostrovsky's play

Commissioned by Almeida Opera

with assistance from the Arts Council of Great Britain

A rich Moscow merchant deliberately declares himself bankrupt to avoid paying his creditors. He transfers all his property to his clerk, whose interest he hopes to identify with his own by marrying him to his daughter. Being as great a rogue as himself, the clerk accepts daughter, property and money and then allows his father-in-law to be thrown into a debtors' prison. All the characters in the play - the merchant, his daughter, the lawyer, the clerk and the matchmaker - are first-rate villains. The dialogue is filthy. The entire play is an insult to the Russian merchant class. 

The Moscow censor on the play A Family Affair, 1851

Premiere: 8 July 1993: Almeida Theatre, London N1

Director: Martin Duncan

Designer: Neil Irish

Lighting: Simon Corder

Conductor: Nicholas Kok


Richard Suart, Christine Bunning, Nerys Jones, Geoffrey Dolton, Nuala Willis, John Graham Hall, Susan Gorton, Ivan Sharpe, The Almeida ensemble

Bolshov - a merchant - bass

Agrafena - his wife - soprano

Lipochka - their daughter - soprano

Lazar - assistant to Bolshov - baritone

Ustinya - a matchmaker - contralto

Rispolozhensky - a solicitor - tenor

Fominishna - a housekeeper - mezzo-soprano

Tishka - a boy - tenor

Flute (+ piccolo), 2 clarinets in Bb (+ /eb cl & bass cl), bassoon, trumpet in Bb, trombone, harp, 2 violins,  viola, 'cello, bass