Opus 357

Poor Bibi (1999-2002)

Chamber Opera in One Act

Soloists (S, Mz, Bar), Dancer, and Instrumental Ensemble (

Libretto by Joyce Carol Oates

hrCME; Christopher Hossfeld, conductor

Duration: 25 min.

Dedication: for Henryk Mikolaj Górecki

Commission: Commissioned by the Repellent Players

Publisher: Subito Music Corp.

Performance materials available from the publisher.


A middle-aged married couple, burdened with the increasing ill-health and irascibility of their “Poor Bibi,” whom they once adored, make a decision to have him/her “put to sleep” by a veterinarian.  When, repulsed by the request, the veterinarian refuses to perform the “simple procedure,” the husband and wife are forced to kill Poor Bibi themselves in a frenzied, brutal manner: “For we soon forget what we do, in the human desperation of doing it.”  The ordinarily “gentle and civilized” couple then confront us, the audience: “And you, you damned hypocrites,what will you do with yours?” (Joyce Carol Oates)