The Perfect Fool is an opera in one act with music and libretto by the English composer Gustav Holst. Holst composed the work over the period of 1918 to 1922. The opera received its premiere at the Covent Garden Theatre, London on 14 May 1923. Holst had originally asked Clifford Bax to write the libretto, but Bax declined.
In the score, Holst pokes fun at the works of Verdi, Wagner's Parsifal and Debussy. In the opera, the part of the Fool consists of only one word. One interpretation of the possible symbolism of the opera, from Donald Tovey, is that the Princess symbolises the world of opera and the Fool represents the British public.
The opera was not a success, and audiences found the story confusing. Although the opera did receive a live BBC broadcast a year after its premiere, revivals of the work have been rare. In 1995, Vernon Handley conducted a performance of the complete opera for the BBC, broadcast on 25 December.
Performances & Interviews
- Holst: The Perfect Foolhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01lcgg8.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01lcgg8.jpg2013-03-04T20:42:00.000ZStephen Johnson explores Holst's The Perfect Fool.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/b01r0z46
Holst: The Perfect FoolStephen Johnson explores Holst's The Perfect Fool.
- Holst: The Perfect Fool, Op 39 (Prom 13)https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p059v66s.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p059v66s.jpgPerformed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p05760qz
Holst: The Perfect Fool, Op 39 (Prom 13)Performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.