VIDEO: Justice Ginsburg announces ‘Scalia/Ginsburg’ premiere to national opera conference
On May 9, 2015, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced the world premiere production of Derrick Wang’s opera Scalia/Ginsburg to a packed house at OPERA America’s national Opera Conference 2015:
Justice Ginsburg was the closing keynote speaker for the conference, which took place in Washington, DC.
Scalia/Ginsburg receives its world premiere production on July 11, 17, & 19, 2015 at the Castleton Festival, founded by renowned conductor Lorin Maazel.
The full discussion of Scalia/Ginsburg is here (see YouTube video at 21:48–25:02):
The transcript of the full discussion of Scalia/Ginsburg follows:
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Opera America: National Opera Conference 2015
Keynote Conversation with Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Saturday, May 9, 2015
RBG: But there’s one thing that I should have fitted into our conversation, and your giving me that plaque reminds me: This is a banner year for me and the opera because you know that the world premiere of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg…
RBG: …will take place on July 11 in Castleton.*
OA: This July 11?
OA: And have you read the libretto?
RBG (cont’d): And I think Derrick Wang, the composer, is here.
RBG (cont’d): And the story of this is: Derrick has degrees in music from Harvard and from Yale, but he thought it would be good to learn a little bit about the law. So he enrolled at the University of Maryland. And then he’s taking constitutional law class, and he sees these dueling opinions — Scalia and Ginsburg — and decides that would make a very funny opera.
OA: A funny opera?
RBG: It’s mostly funny.
RBG (cont’d): But what he does that I like so much is that our last duet is called “We are different. We are one” — that is, different in the way we interpret the Constitution, one in our reverence for the Court and its place in our tripartite system of government.
OA: Do you like how you are portrayed in the opera?
RBG: Oh, yes. Especially in the scene where I rescue Justice Scalia who is locked in a dark room for “excessive dissenting.”
OA: Are you a soprano or a mezzo-soprano?
RBG: I’m — (Looking toward the audience, addressing the composer) Derrick? I’ve heard both, but I think the soprano, it’s mostly…
Derrick Wang: (From the audience) Soprano.
OA: OK, so you’re OK with that, you’re sticking with soprano.
OA (cont’d): Well, we will look forward to reading the libretto and hearing the opera, and we will think of this visit and the honor you have paid us by being here. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been asked if we can remain seated while the Justice exits the hotel so that she can get on to the next appointment — but remaining seated doesn’t mean we can’t applaud. Justice Ginsburg, thank you so much.
RBG: Thank you.
(APPLAUSE, as Justice Ginsburg stands, waves, and exits)
*The Castleton Festival, a summer music and opera festival founded by renowned conductor Lorin Maazel (1930–2014) in Rappahannock County, Virginia.