Wednesday, January 18, 2012

GREAT SCOTT - more news on the 'new operas' front

Yesterday, the Dallas Opera announced that it has commissioned a new, full-length opera by acclaimed American composer Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick) and the Tony Award-winning playwright/librettist Terrence McNally (Master Class) in their first joint project since the groundbreaking masterpiece, Dead Man Walking.

The new work, GREAT SCOTT, is based on an original story by Mr. McNally and will star American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato [pictured]. The opera will be conducted by "one of the fastest-rising young artists on the podium today": Maestro Evan Rogister.

Terrence McNally describes the new commission:

"What happens when a famous American singer who has been the subject of a 60 MINUTES profile goes back home to star in a production of a forgotten masterpiece of the bel canto repertory? Arden Scott belongs to the world now but she is a hometown girl at heart. She has never looked back until now. ROSA DOLOROSA, FIGLIA DI POMPEI (the opera within the opera) is her occasion to do so.

"ROSA is a grand opera complete with two mad scenes, an erupting volcano, a children’s chorus and corps de ballet," writes Mr. McNally. "Every conceivable disaster awaits them. Will mere human resources be equal to the opera’s inhuman demands? The rehearsals and performance of ROSA will mirror the upheaval of Arden Scott’s own life."

Regarding his part in this commission, Jake Heggie explains, "In the remarkable wake of Moby-Dick, I am over the moon to return to The Dallas Opera for my next grand opera. And a brave project it is: a big, new American opera based on an original libretto by one of our most honored and beloved playwrights, the great Terrence McNally. This is our first major collaboration since Dead Man Walking back in 2000, and we are ecstatic to work together again.

"GREAT SCOTT promises to challenge, inspire and delight us all, especially as it is being created for one of the most beloved and brilliant opera stars of our time, Joyce DiDonato. The musical and dramatic possibilities have my imagination bubbling over! And once again, I am deeply impressed by the vision, courage, leadership and commitment to bold, new work by the entire Dallas Opera family and community. The creation of a new opera takes the support, participation and enthusiasm of an entire community –and Dallas rallies like no other city I know," adding, "It’s great to be back."

Yesterday, it was the news about San Francisco Opera's Dolores Claiborne ... and now, this? It's all too much to take in...

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