Dora: Cast, Scoring & Instrumentation


Music by Melissa Shiflett
Libretto by Nancy Fales Garrett
Based on Sigmund Freud’s Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria
A two-act, two-hour chamber opera for nine singers and fourteen instrumentalists.
(The number of strings may be augmented.)

List of Characters

Anna Freud,
Freud’s Mother, and
Marie the servant girl
Herr Bauer Baritone
Freud, and
Freud’s Father
Dora Soprano
Frau Bauer Mezzo-Soprano
Frau K Soprano
Herr K Tenor
Zinnie Girl-Soprano
(or young soubrette soprano)
Heinrich, and
Freud as a child
(or young soubrette soprano)

Setting: In Vienna, and at a lake in the Austrian countryside, around 1900.

DORA is an opera based on Sigmund Freud’s Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, the study of a young girl who developed hysterical symptoms in an effort to extricate herself from the sexual “danse macabre” being performed by her father, his mistress, and the mistress’s husband. Freud unmasked the etiology of Dora’s illness, but did not support her resistance. For this reason, she broke off her analysis, becoming the only one of Freud’s patients who disobeyed him.


Flute, doubling Alto Flute
Oboe, doubling English horn
Clarinet in B-flat, doubling Bass clarinet
Two Horns in F
Percussion, one or two players
Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, Chimes, Triangle, Suspended Cymbal, Cow Bell, Gong, Temple Blocks, Maracas, Three Timpani, Snare Drum, Bass Drum
Piano, doubling Celesta
Guitar – amplified Acoustic Guitar
Violin I (8) Violin II (6)
Viola (5)
Violoncello (4) Contrabass (2) ………………….. or String Quintet