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Dolores Claiborne

Music by: Tobias Picker

Libretto by: J.D. McClatchy

Novel by: Stephen King

Duration: 120 mins

Originally Commissioned and premiered by San Francisco Opera, 2013


Chamber version also available

Dolores Claiborne tells the tale of a worn-down working-class woman, married much too young, and for all the wrong reasons, to Joe St. George, a drunk who beats her and begins to molest their teenage daughter Selena. Although it’s been billed as an “American Tosca,” these twisted family relationships make Dolores Claiborne closer in spirit to the brutal domestic dramas of Janáček.



Vera - Soprano

Selena - Soprano

Dolores - Mezzo-soprano

Mr. Pease - Tenor

Thibodeau - Tenor

Joe - Bass-baritone

Maids (5) - Sopranos

Teen Girl - Soprano

Teen Boy - Tenor

Mr. Knox - Tenor

Mr. Cox - Tenor

Mr. Fox - Tenor

SATB Chorus 


Flute 1

Flute 2/Piccolo

Oboe 1

Oboe 2/English Horn

Clarinet 1 in A/Bb

Clarinet 2 in A/Bb/Bass Clarinet

Bassoon 1

Bassoon 2/Contrabassoon

4 Horns

Trumpet 1 in C/Piccolo

Trumpet in Bb

Trumpet 2 in C

2 Trombones

Bass Trombone



2 Percussion




Project Statement

Dolores Claiborne is a character destined for the operatic stage – passionate, desperate, trapped. She will do anything to save the daughter who despises her. Pushed to the extreme edge of life, she does what she has to, fearless and forsaken. Stephen King is a master of suspense, but he is also a remarkable reader of human desires and fears. The superb team that San Francisco Opera has assembled allowed me to compose a powerful, heart-stopping piece of music theater for a cast of brilliant voices.



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