Tuesday, February 14, 2006

American Opera And The American Experience II

"Thornton Wilder [Berkeley High School Class of '15], who died in 1975, resisted the idea of seeing his classic American play "Our Town" transformed into opera, although many composers had pursued the project during Wilder’s lifetime.

American composer Ned Rorem has accomplished what many of his predecessors could only dream of: the transformation of the classic play "Our Town" into an opera.

On Friday, February 24 — almost 68 years to the day that Thornton Wilder’s quintessential American drama debuted in Princeton, N.J. — what legendary composer Aaron Copland and others once imagined will finally become a reality. On that day, the Indiana University Opera Theater in Bloomington will present the world premiere of Rorem’s "Our Town", with libretto by American poet J.D. McClatchy. ...

The opera will serve as the centerpiece of Indiana University’s and Bloomington’s annual ArtsWeek celebration, which is scheduled Feb. 24 - March 5, 2006. "IU Opera Theater’s rich tradition has included world premieres," said Gwyn Richards, dean of the Jacobs School [of Music]. "However, it is particularly rewarding to be the site of the world premiere of "Our Town", based on the quintessential American play, and crafted by two of America’s most distinguished composers and librettists. Our hope is that the opera will find a place in the international operatic repertoire just as the play has in the world of the theater."

Indiana University Opera Theater is the lead commissioner for the opera. Five co-commissioners will present the opera soon after the IU production: Opera Boston, the Aspen Music Festival and School, North Carolina School of the Arts, Lake George Opera in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, Calif." ...

Ryan Piurek, "Our Town," the Opera, Receives World Premiere at IU Jacobs School of Music on February 24, 2006 via http://www.homepages.indiana.edu/


Please also see the Berkeley Repertory Theater School of Theater's Web Study Guide to Thornton Wilder's Our Town:


Abraham Lincoln's Retreat - The Soldiers' Home, Washington, D.C.
The cottage as it appeared ca. 1870

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, in Washington, D.C., currently plans to revive Abraham Lincoln's Summer Retreat, located on the grounds of Washington's post-Civil War [Union] Soldier's Home, as a major Washington, D.C. tourist attraction.

Photo credit: Library of Congress Special Collections via www.nationaltrust.org


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