The English Cat

A story for singers and instrumentalists by Edward Bond
English Cat, The

Commissioned by the Süddeutscher Rundfunk and the Württemberg State Theatre Stuttgart

Period of composition 1980-83
Revised version 1990
Duration 130 minutes

Dedicated to Hans-Peter Doll

World premiere

World premiere 2. june 1983

Schwetzinger Festspiele · Württembergische Staatsoper Stuttgart
Production Hans Werner Henze
Stage and costume design Jakob Niedermeier
Conductor Dennis Russell Davies


In 1990 I made a condensed version of this piece for a production at the 15th Montepulciano Festival, which was also shown in January 1991 in London and then made into a film in Germany as a coproduction of BR/WDR/SFB and Tristar. This version (which I recommend) is available from the publishers.

Hans Werner Henze


London about 1900

Minettesoprano leggero liricocat
Louisesoubrettemouse, member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Rats, the RSPR, also a star, member of the jury (bird)
Mrs. Crisp soprano lirico spintocat, member of the RSPR, also a star, member of the jury (bird)
Mrs. Gomfit soprano o mezzosopranocat, member of the RSPR, also a star, member of the jury (bird)
Babettemezzosoprano liricocat, Minette’s sister, also the moon, member of jury (bird)
Lady Toodlemezzosoprano o contraltocat, member of the RSPR, also a star, member of the jury (bird)
Lord Pufftenore leggero spintotomcat, president of the RSPR, also a a serenader off-stage
Petertenore liricotomcat, Tom’s friend, also Mr Keene (tomcat), member of the RSPR, counsel for the defence (dog), vicar (sheep), ludian (fox), serenader off-stage
Tombaritono liricotomcat, also serenader off- stage
Mr. Jonesbasso-baritonotomcat, the moneylender, also Mr Fawn (tomcat), member of the RSPR, judge (dog), serenader off-stage
Mr. Plunkettbasso-baritonotomcat, member of the RSPR, also public prosecutor (dog), serenader off-stage
Arnoldbassotomcat, nephew of Lord Puff, also serenader off-stage


2 Flautianche Flauti a becco contralto e Ottavini
2 Oboianche Corni inglesi
2° anche Heckelphon
2 Clarinetti1° anche Clarinetto piccolo
2° anche Clarinetto basso e Clarinetto contrabbasso
2 Fagotti2° anche Controfagotto
2 Corni
1 Tromba
1 Trombone

Bacchette a vetro sospese
9 Gong cinesi
Piatti sospesi
Tamburo di legno africano
8 Log-drums
2 Sistri
Cassettina di legno
5 Tescini cinesi
Suono di osso
Metallofono basso (o Xilofono basso) 
9 Crotali
2 Flauti a culisse
14 Campanelli 

[per 3]

Pianoforteanche a quattro mani
Organo piccolo
6 Violini I
4 Violini II
3 Viole
3 Violoncelli
1 Contrabbasso