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‘Scalia/Ginsburg’ at Opera Naples in January 2020

‘Scalia/Ginsburg’ at Opera Naples in January 2020

Naples, FL — Scalia/Ginsburg, the American comic opera by Derrick Wang that ushered in the era of Supreme Court-themed art, will receive a new production by Opera Naples in April 2020.

Opera Naples’ production also features Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic one-act courtroom farce Trial by Jury, with orchestration by Derrick Wang.

The Naples Daily News writes:

[T]here's a new opera that is spreading to U.S. stages quickly because of its wit, its evolutionary score from Derrick Wang and its subject: The Supreme Court.

“Scalia/Ginsburg” (Jan. 24 and 25) is the comic tale of an unlikely friendship, and an extreme clash of philosophies, between two of the millennium's best known  justices: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. 

Their divergent views and snappy repartee are loaded on many levels, from the organic to “in” lines likely to bring guffaws to legal cognoscenti and politicos. The story follows the appearance of a Commentator “from a higher power” who has come to test Scalia because his long history of dissent. 

The Commentator tells the protesting justice he must submit; their courtroom has been sealed. But to the Commentator's shock, Ginsburg strides right in:

‘…you have no idea with whom you are dealing.
(It’s not the first time I’ve had to break through a ceiling.)
I heard you say: “No man can leave or enter.”
So — as for any woman — what’s to prevent her?

Thus begins an hour of witty debates, dissensions and distractions among the three on interpretations of the Constitution and outlandish cases that have tested it. (“Trial by Jury,” a Gilbert & Sullivan take on courtroom zaniness, is the second work that evening.)

Opera should follow the Constitution, evolving

“It's almost like a pastiche,” said Ramón Tebar, Opera Naples artistic director. 

He pointed out that both Scalia and Ginsburg were opera devotees; Scalia sang tenor in college, and Ginsburg said being an opera diva was her dream, “even before being a justice.” 

So Wang, who is heavily credentialed in law and music, wrote an opera that pays tribute to them both. The music moves along in every form from baroque to jazz and gospel:

“Handel, Rossini, Gilbert & Sullivan, Verdi, Mozart, Offenbach, Strauss, Mendelssohn, even Puccini as well —  each number in his opera, which is one hour, in one act, is written in the style of a different composer,” [Tebar] said.

"He's trying to show the evolving styles. There's a very nice phrase in this opera from Justice Ginsburg, which I love very much. She says ‘the beautiful thing about our Constitution, is that [it is] like our society, [which means] it can evolve.’

“She is saying our Constitution should evolve like our society. Therefore, why not write an opera in many different styles?”

Hailed as “a perfect…jewel”, Scalia/Ginsburg was launched at the Supreme Court of the United States in 2013 and premiered by Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival in 2015, with further productions at The Glimmerglass Festival (2017), Opera North (2018), OperaDelaware (2019), and Toledo Opera (2020).

Opera Naples’ production of Scalia/Ginsburg will take place on Friday, January 24, 2020 at 7:30pm and Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 7:30pm at the Hushon Theatre at the Wang Opera Center, 2408 Linwood Avenue, Naples, FL 34112.

For tickets, visit the Opera Naples website.

‘Scalia/Ginsburg’ at Toledo Opera in April 2020

‘Scalia/Ginsburg’ at Toledo Opera in April 2020