Tess of the D’Urbervilles is the story of a farm girl and what happens after she discovers the truth about her family’s illustrious heritage. Tess is seduced by the wealthy Alec D’Urberville and bears him a son who dies in infancy. She later marries Angel Clare, a gentleman farmer, but he learns of her past with Alec and abandons her. In order to support her family, Tess agrees to become Alec’s mistress. When Angel returns, Tess murders Alec in a fit of passion. The police track Tess and Angel to Stonehenge. As Tess is led to the gallows, she imagines what life could have been had she never had discovered her ancestry…
Tess of the D’Urbervilles is scored in a ‘through-composed’ style. The score incorporates a range of musical styles, from folk and church music to operetta.
Containing timeless themes, including the sacrificial nature of true faith and virtue versus moral absolutism, religious dogma and fanaticism; the place of women in society; and an examination of the true nature of nobility; Tess has lost none of its power or relevance since its first publication.