The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore is a 1956 madrigal opera for choir and musicians about a Man in a castle who refuses to conform to the habits of the masses. Instead, he plays the people and thereby seriously confuses them. The idiosyncratic artist successively introduces three fantastic beasts as pets: a unicorn, a gorgon and a manticore. They symbolize the different stages of human life. The crowd first mocks these abnormal animals, but soon pressure builds in the group to follow the new trend. After all, without such an animal you can no longer show yourself on the street, isn't it?

Menotti (1911 - 2007) wrote this parable, among other things, in response to the recurring fierce criticism he received on his compositions. In a humorous way he shows how easy it is to convince a crowd that is guided only by social mores and how important it is therefore to remain true to one's own thoughts and feelings, as an artist and as a person. As one notices, Menotti's work has lost none of its topicality 67 years later.

08 Goejanverwellesluis boyhazes

Images resp. © Jeremy Enecio, Yago Portal, unknown / Composition © Annechien Koerselman

Credits Cast & Crew

Choir Het Nederlands Zangtheater:

Sopranos Marja Beuk, Adelheid Brouwer, Mecheline Draafsel, Karin Nijenhuis, Alice Ruijzenaars, Carla Schaaij, Janneke Tangelder

Altos Maria Boschman, Yvonne Drost, Renee Heeringa, Bernadette Houdijk, Christelle van der Meer, Marijke Spronk, Annemiek Vos

Tenors Georg Bröring, Jos Marcus, Ron Roozendaal, Hans School, Wilbert te Velde

Basses Tejo van Gaalen, Willem Pool, Peter Staats, Ewald de Wilde de Ligny

Piano Ruud Zielhorst


Composer Gian Carlo Menotti (1911 - 2007)

Libretto Gian Carlo Menotti

Conductor Anthony Zielhorst

Concept & Stage direction Annechien Koerselman

Realisation Costumes & Props Renee Heeringa, Janneke Tangelder

Lightdesign Annechien Koerselman

Audiocorrection CD Recording 1994 Dico

Producer Georg Bröring, Irene Elich, Ewald de Wilde de Ligny

Photography & Graphical design Boy Hazes

Organisation Het Nederlands Zangtheater Amsterdam



Amsterdam Het Amsterdams Theaterhuis May 20, 2022 20.00h premiere

Amsterdam Het Amsterdams Theaterhuis May 21, 2022 16.00h

Amsterdam Het Amsterdams Theaterhuis May 21 2022 20.00h

Amsterdam Het Amsterdams Theaterhuis May 22, 2022 14.00h

Amsterdam Het Amsterdams Theaterhuis May 22, 2022 17.00h

Ordering Tickets


More information:


The Unicorn, The Gorgon & The Manticore is made possible by subventions through the AFK Fund and the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund Noord-Holland. With special thanks to Fay Abali (Sterrenstof fashion).