The Sacrifice (opera)

The Sacrifice is an opera in three acts composed by James MacMillan with a libretto by the poet Michael Symmons Roberts based on Branwen story of the Welsh myth collection, the Mabinogion. The world premiere took place on Date|22 September 2007 at the Donald Gordon Theatre of the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. The production was staged by Welsh National Opera, directed by Katie Mitchell and conducted by the composer.


The large orchestra consists of 12 First Violins, 10 Second Violins, 8 violas, 6 cellos, 4 double basses, 2 flutes, 2 piccolos, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 5 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani (five drums in total) with a large percussion section for 3 players.

The first percussionist plays glockenspiel, vibraphone (with two double bass bows), triangle, whistle, geophone, whip, tambourine, 1 bodrán, bass drum, 2 Peking gongs.

The second percussionist plays the same glockenspiel as the first percussionist, tubular bells, the same geophone as the first percussionist, 5 wood blocks(graded), anvil, snare drum and suspended cymbal.

The third percussionist plays 2 chromatic octaves of crotales (with two double bass bows), 5 tuned gongs (one large, three medium and one small), güiro, vibraslap, 1 metal sheet, tenor drum, a pair of crash cymbals and tam-tam.

Also required are harp, electric piano and onstage two tambourines and an electric guitar.


*Sian (soprano)
*Evan (baritone)
*General (bass-baritone)
*Megan (soprano)
*Mal (tenor)


*cite web
url =
title = James MacMillan: The Sacrifice for WNO
accessdate = 2008-01-05
last = Roberts
first = Michael Symmons
date = August 2007
publisher = Boosey & Hawkes
Performance details and plot

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