Yan Tan Tethera
A Mechanical Pastoral
Opera by Harrison Birtwistle
The composer in 2008
LibrettistTony Harrison
Based onfolk tale
7 August 1986 (1986-08-07)

Yan Tan Tethera is a chamber opera (subtitled A Mechanical Pastoral) by the English composer Harrison Birtwistle with a libretto by the poet Tony Harrison, based on a supernatural folk tale about two shepherds, their sheep, and the Devil. It was first performed at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, on 7 August 1986. The title comes from a traditional way of counting sheep.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 7 August 1986
(Conductor: Elgar Howarth)
Alan baritone Omar Ebrahim
Hannah soprano Helen Charnock
Caleb Raven baritone Philip Doghan
Piper/Bad 'Un tenor Richard Suart