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Lee Hoiby

The Italian Lesson

vocal score

Musical Monologue, op. 34 (1982)
Text informationText by Ruth Draper, libretto by Mark Shulgasser
Duration45'
Premiere1982; Newport, RI; The Newport Festival
LanguageEnglish
Technical requirementssoprano or mezzo soprano and ensemble:
1.1.1.1-1.0.0.0-hp.pno-str(1.1.1.1.0 or augmented)
PublisherSchott Music
Staged performances of this work require licensing.
Rental Performance materials are available for order:

Program Note

Based on the monologue by Ruth Draper, The Italian Lesson chronicles the morning activities of a formidable and pretentious Park Avenue matron of the 1920s. Setting out to translate the opening lines of Dante’s Inferno with her Italian teacher, she is continually distracted by her mischievous children (‘Barbara darling, get the baby. She’s in the waste-basket? Well, pull her out!’), her servants (‘Will you try and get me some men for the opera on Monday? I have a box, but I have no men’), her gossiping acquaintances (‘You didn’t! A whole glass of water! What nerve! Didn’t that ruin her hat?’), and the arrival of a new puppy, whom she christens Dante. 

From the moment he heard a recording of Ruth Draper performing her monologue The Italian Lesson in the 1970s, Lee Hoiby was transfixed. After listening to the piece again (and again), not only did many of its phrases become household language for him, but he also recognized the inherent musicality of her performance and decided to set it to music. Hoiby employed Draper’s recorded reading as a guide to the singer’s rhythm, pitch and reflection, and has remarked that for his performer, exact pitches are often less important than expression and rhythm. A chamber ensemble accompanies the protagonist, accentuating the humorous, dramatic, and thoroughly frenzied nature of the text.

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Full Score in 3 volumes (Print)

Full score and Solo Part (Digital)

Full Score/Violin Part (Digital)

Full Score/Violin Part (Print)

Conductor Score (Print)

Score and part (Print)

Score and part (Digital)

Choral Score Set - 16 copies (Print)
Includes 8 copies of the soprano/alto part and 8 copies of the tenor/bass part.

Piano Reduction and solo parts (Digital)

Chamber Ensemble Score (Print)

Choral Score Set - 20 copies (Print)

Full Score (4 needed for performance) (Print)

Parts (Mov. 11 only) (Print)

Full Score (3 scores needed for performance) (Print)

Full Score (3 scores needed for performance) (Digital)

Full Score/Performance Score (2 required for performance) (Digital)

Full Score/Performance Score (2 required for performance) (Print)

Full Score/Performance Score (includes 3 copies) (Digital)

Full Score/Performance Score (includes 3 copies) (Print)

Choral Booklet (Digital)

Choral Booklet (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Digital)

Video and instructions (Digital)

Study Score in Two Volumes (Print)

Piano reduction and solo part (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Print)

Score and Parts (Digital)
Score and part PDF files are delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Soprano/Alto Part (Print)

Full Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the full score is delivered via email upon receipt.

Full Score (Print)
A print edition of the score ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Tenor/Bass Part (Print)

Parts (Digital)
A PDF file of the part(s) is delivered via email upon receipt.

Parts (Print)
A print edition of the part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt.

Solo Instrument Score (Digital)
A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Digital)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Score and Parts (Print)
A print edition of the score and part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. The email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer.

Solo Instrument Score (Print)
A print edition of the score is shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Print)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. Print edition(s) of the full score/performance score are shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Multiple copies are included if the work has more than one player. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Choral Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the choral score is delivered via email upon receipt. The set is priced to allow multiple copies of the PDF to be printed for performance by the purchasing organization only.

Study Score (print) (Digital)

Study Score (print) (Print)

Choral Score Set- 8 copies (Print)
Minimum order quantity is 8 copies. Single copies are not available.

Vocal Score (Digital)

SATB choral score (Print)

Vocal Score (Print)

Choral Score (Print)

Full Score and Solo Part (Print)
A print edition of the score and solo part ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, baritone score (Print)

Study Score (Print)

Study Score (Digital)

Mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, baritone score (Digital)

SATB choral score (Digital)

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