The Reconciliation
A Comic Opera in Two Acts

Libretto by
Peter Markoe

Music by
John Craton

The Reconciliation, or The Triumph of Nature is one of the first ballad operas written by an American, Peter Markoe, in 1790. Along with Andrew Barton’s The Disappointment, the comic opera was accepted by a Philadelphia theater but was never produced. As was traditional for the period, the author composed the libretto with indications for the popular song tunes to be used for the various musical numbers, but no music was actually composed. This version is a free reconstruction of the work, utilizing as many authentic song tunes as could be found but also requiring original material for those that appear to be no longer extant. The score calls for a small orchestra as might have been used in an eighteenth-century American theater, and the music is constructed in a style evocative of the period, though with some adaptations to appeal more to modern audiences. Please write for more information.

Audio Samples:
How Happy Once Were Debby’s Days!
Why Sleeps the Thunder in the Skies?
The Birds, Who Wing Their Way Through Air
Introduction to Act I, Scene 9
Since the Rich, in the Midst of Their Ill-Gotten Store
Prelude to Act II
Since Falsehood Triumphantly Reigns
Truth! From Thy Radiant Throne Look Down
When Misfortune Sorely Presses
Finale, beginning
Finale, conclusion

Of the song tunes called for in the libretto, the following were adapted from the original sources:

“Why Sleeps the Thunder in the Skies?” set to “The Birks of Invermay”
“Since Falsehood Triumphantly Reigns” set to “The Old Woman Clothed in Grey”
“When Misfortune Sorely Presses” set to “If ’Tis Joy to Wound a Lover”
“Dear Grand-papa” set to “The Babes in the Woods”
“If She May Be So Bold, Sir” set to “Good Morning to Your Night-cap” (the last being freely adapted as none of the examples found accurately fit the words in the libretto)

The remaining musical selections are newly composed but are hopefully representative of the tunes that might have been used at the time.

Technical Information:

Dramatis Personæ


Wilson Senior
William, his son
Simon, a servant


Amelia, wife of Wilson
Deborah, a servant


2 Flutes, Oboe, Bassoon, Violins I & II, Violas, Violoncellos

Scene:  A lawn before a cottage.
Duration:  Approximately 1½ hours; musical segments constitute about 25 minutes.
Difficulty Level:  Moderate, so as to be accessible to amateur ensembles.

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