Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Alan Frank (OUP)

Letter No.: 
12th December, 1951.

The White Gates,
Dorking, Surrey

Dear Frank
Thank you for your letter of December 7th.
1. I do not think we can make any cuts in the actual stage work.1 It is not over long and if they find Vanity Fair and Bye-Ends unsuitable for a Cathedral then obviously they cannot do the work at all.2 Such a performance would remind me of a performance of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" by my Great aunts "of course without Falstaff".
The cuts in the entractes are already marked in the score. As a matter of fact it seems to me for a performance in a place like Liverpool Cathedral we shall have to have more music and not less, because spaces to be covered by the performers would be bigger.
2. I think it would be quite a good plan to point out that the small characters in Vanity Fair can all be taken by members of the chorus and a lot of other parts can be doubled, or even trebled - e.g. Timorous in Act I, Lord Lechery in Act III and Mr. Bye-Ends in Act IV could all be played by the same performer.
I think these would be worth noting in your brochure. In fact I believe, apart from the chorus, the work could be performed by eleven singers.
R Vaughan Williams

(R. Vaughan Williams).

Alan Frank, Esq.,
Oxford University Press

1. Pilgrim's Progress.
2. There had been a proposal for a performance of the opera in Liverpool Cathedral.

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Typewritten, signed.