Daughters of the Bloody Duke


Note: This is a digital score (PDF).

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The Story

“Daughters of the Bloody Duke” is a dark comedic one-act opera, in which Margot, the young daughter of the Bloody Duke of Ravenswood, must choose between love and the demands of her revenge-crazed family.

In a dark Gothic castle, the newlyweds Kent De Quincey and Margot Craven, have just spent their wedding night together. After Kent falls asleep, Margot prepares to murder him, having been ordered to by her father, Gilbert Craven, “the Bloody Duke of Ravenswood.” All forty of the Craven daughters have been ordered to kill their husbands – the forty sons of De Quincey, who cheated Ravenswood out of his lands. Margot is interrupted by her sister, Claudia, who is covered with blood, drunk and gleeful after murdering her husband.  After Claudia leaves, Margot attempts again to carry out the deed, only this time she is ordered to stop by the ghost of her grandmother, Eleanor, the Countess of Ravenswood. Margot must finally choose between her family’s thirst for revenge and her own growing love for her new husband.

Washington National Opera. Washington, D.C.


David Johnston




November 21, 2014. Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., U.S.A.


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Margot Craven, soprano
Kent De Quincey, tenor
Claudia Craven, soprano
Countess Eleanor Craven, mezzo-soprano


Clarinet in Bb

Horn in F
Trumpet in C

Percussion I: tamtam, suspended cymbal, glockenspiel, crotales, triangle, small cymbal
Percussion II: timpani, suspended cymbal


Violin I
Violin II
Double Bass


Washington Post Review
"And Runestad had fun going over the top, piling melody upon melody in a celebration of camp. “Daughters of the Bloody Duke” deserves to have a long and happy life... I would love to see what its creators come up with next." Read more.

CDN Review
"Composer Jake Runestad...jumps out of classical music’s academic prison, creating a score perfectly tailored to support his librettist’s humorous hallucinations. Indulging in all manner of musical styles, the composer takes the libretto and, in the words of the late Frank Zappa, “puts the eyebrows on it..." Read more.

Opera Gonzo Review
"What a delight to hear actual full on laughter from an opera audience instead of the polite on cue tittering that so often passes for laughter at the Met. Runestad cleverly employed multiple musical melodies, while still maintaining a consistent through line for the piece. Therefore it never lost its sense of cohesion no matter how eclectic and varied the score. A truly fun and engaging listen." Read more.



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