The Yellow Sofa

(2003) a chamber opera in one act


Godofredo Alves runs a small business in Lisbon in the last decades of the 19th century. His life is ordered and well-managed, its only inexplicable feature is the yellow sofa that he once bought his wife, Ludovina.

One day in summer, Godofredo’s business partner, Machado, leaves work early; he encourages Godofredo to do the same, go off to see a show, enjoy himself. After Machado has left, Godofredo realises that he and Ludovina have forgotten their wedding anniversary. He races home and finds Ludovina and Machado in a compromising position upon the yellow sofa. Machado leaves, godofredo seeks an explanation from Ludovina, and when she cannot provide one, he packs her off to stay with her father.


The Yellow Sofa wikipedia entry





Cast & Orchestra

Professional singers
Amarela – A yellow sofa (low mezzo)
Godofredo Ales – a small businessman (high baritone)
Ludovina (Lulu) – his wife (soprano)
Margarida – their maid (mezzo)
Machado – Godofredo’s business partner (tenor)
Neto – Ludovina’s father (medium baritone)
Teresa – Ludovina’s sister (soprano)
Medeiros – (bass) friend of Godofredo
Carvalho – friend of Godofredo (low baritone)
Nunes Vidal – Machado’s second (tenor)

Instrumental ensemble
6 Violins
2 Violas
2 Violoncelli
1 Double bass
Portuguese guitar


The Yellow Sofa was first performed at Glyndebourne Festival Opera on the 20th August 2009, with members of the Glyndebourne Chorus, and the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Leo McFall. This production, directed by Frederick Wake-Walker, was revived by at Glyndebourne in 2012 prior to a national tour.