Opera North presents new chamber version of ‘Scalia/Ginsburg’ in October 2018
White River Junction, VT & Manchester, NH — Scalia/Ginsburg, the American comic opera by Derrick Wang about the unlikely friendship of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, will receive a new production by Opera North on October 12–14, 2018.
Opera North’s production marks the premiere of a new chamber version of Scalia/Ginsburg, re-orchestrated for an intimate ensemble of seven musicians. Conducted by Opera North Artistic Director Louis G. Burkot and staged by director Audrey Chait, this production stars soprano Emily Misch as Justice Ginsburg, tenor Derek Jackenheimer as Justice Scalia, and bass-baritone William Meinert as The Commentator.
Composer-librettist Derrick Wang will be in residence during the production for speaking engagements at venues including Saint Anselm College.
Performances will take place as follows:
Friday, October 12, 2018 at 7pm [SOLD OUT]
Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 5pm [SOLD OUT]
Briggs Opera House
5 S Main St
White River Junction, VT 05001
Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 2pm [Tickets]
Dana Center for the Humanities
Saint Anselm College
100 Saint Anselm Drive
Manchester, NH 03102
Tickets are available here:
Opera North’s press release follows below:
OPERA NORTH PRESENTS SCALIA/GINSBURG
IN LEAD-UP TO 2018 MIDTERM ELECTIONS
Premiere of New Chamber Version
Performances at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, VT on Oct. 12 & 13
and Saint Anselm College’s Dana Center in Manchester, NH on Oct. 14
LEBANON, New Hampshire (September 5, 2018) — Opera North is pleased to present a timely and contemporary opera in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections: Scalia/Ginsburg, a one-act comic opera by composer-librettist Derrick Wang inspired by the contrasting opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.
Opera North presents Scalia/Ginsburg just after the October 1st opening of the 2018 Supreme Court Term, in the midst of two potentially transformative moments in American governance — the height of the 2018 midterm election season, and the confirmation process for a new Supreme Court Justice. Performances take place on Friday, October 12 at 7pm [sold out] and Saturday, October 13 at 5pm at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, VT and on Sunday, October 14 at the Dana Center at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. (Saint Anselm College, home to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, is a perennial ‘first in the nation’ stop for presidential primary candidates.) Tickets are available now at OperaNorth.org (Oct. 12 & 13) and at tickets.anselm.edu (Oct. 14).
Hailed as “a perfect…jewel” (Opera Today), “funny, exceedingly clever” (Above the Law), and “brilliant…gorgeous” (DC Theatre Scene), Scalia/Ginsburg depicts the unlikely friendship of these two Justices of America’s highest court — a friendship that transcended politics and found expression in their shared passion for opera. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “Could we please make it a constitutional requirement that no one can be sworn into office in the White House or Congress without having first seen Scalia/Ginsburg?”
In the plot of Scalia/Ginsburg, the two Justices find themselves in a fantastical situation of operatic proportions, where they must pass through three cosmic trials to secure their freedom. The catch: they may have to agree on the Constitution. Opinions will be offered. Dissents will be delivered. And justice will be sung.
Opera North’s production, conducted by Opera North Artistic Director Louis G. Burkot and staged by director Audrey Chait, stars soprano Emily Misch as Justice Ginsburg, tenor Derek Jackenheimer as Justice Scalia, and bass-baritone William Meinert as The Commentator.
Sung in English, this production marks the premiere of a new chamber version of Scalia/Ginsburg, re-orchestrated for an intimate ensemble of seven musicians. This “tuneful…accessible and fun” (The American Interest) score features a wealth of references not only to famous Supreme Court cases but also to the “operatic precedent” of composers such as Händel, Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Verdi, Offenbach, Bizet, Sullivan, Puccini, and Strauss.
“Scalia/Ginsburg is an opera for our time, written about a contemporary American topic that becomes more relevant with each passing day,” wrote Opera North General Director Evans Haile. “With its comedic libretto, melodious score, and theme of friendship across the political divide, Scalia/Ginsburg is the perfect work to delight our audiences and inspire dialogue during this time of change. We are especially thrilled that composer-librettist Derrick Wang, who is also an attorney, will join us in person to discuss this exciting work.”
“I am delighted that Opera North, based in a community that is ‘first in the nation’ for presidential primary elections, will also be first in the nation to debut this new chamber version of Scalia/Ginsburg,” wrote composer and librettist Derrick Wang. “It is a privilege to be invited into a region so central to our national civic life to celebrate the exemplary friendship of Justices Ginsburg and Scalia.”
Scalia/Ginsburg debuted in a special presentation at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 and then received its world premiere in 2015 at renowned conductor Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival. Revised after the passing of Justice Scalia, the opera received a sold-out second production in 2017 at The Glimmerglass Festival. Justices Ginsburg and Scalia themselves wrote prefaces to Derrick Wang’s libretto [script], which contains over 200 footnotes to legal and operatic precedent and was published in 2015 by the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. The prefaces and excerpts from the libretto are republished in Justice Ginsburg’s 2016 book My Own Words as the chapter “The Scalia/Ginsburg Opera,” the audiobook version of which is narrated and performed by composer-librettist Derrick Wang. A recording of the aria “You Are Searching in Vain for a Bright-Line Solution” is released on the Cedille Records album Notorious RBG in Song (2018).
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[Image: Dana Center brochure artwork, featuring an illustration by David Parkins.]