Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Stillness at the War Memorial Opera House

People needing to get that Civil War opera fix may want to travel to San Francisco this October for the premiere of "Appomattox," by Philip Glass.

Today's San Francisco Chronicle breaks the news:

"Appomattox," which will feature baritone Dwayne Croft as Robert E. Lee and bass-baritone Andrew Shore as Ulysses S. Grant, is [David] Gockley's first San Francisco commission. Conductor Dennis Russell Davies, who led the 1984 premiere of Glass' "Akhnaten," and director George C. Wolfe will make their company debuts.

"This is an opera about men and events," Glass said. "There is hardly a person in public life today with the moral and intellectual stature of these two men, and I wanted towell, honor them isn't the right wordbut put them on the stage and see what they were about."

[photo at top: McClean House, NPS, Appomattox Court House National Historic Park]


Anne said...

David, I'm somehow not comfortable with the idea of an opera based on this topic. I've been pondering this since you made the original post. Don't know why, when I find The Movie acceptable, but somehow an opera doesn't sit right. I somehow can't see General Grant standing there singing his heart out! Or General Lee, for that matter. It seems something of an irrelevance and irreverant, too. Regards - Anne

dw said...

Hi Anne,

Agreed -- it's hard to conceive of, but maybe they'll surprise us. A friend of mine in San Francisco emailed me that he hadn't "seen the libretto yet but since its Philip Glass, I imagine it's more or less 'We surrender' repeated 6,000 times over the course of 6 hours with no set, no props, and 265 orchestra members playing triangles and out of tune marimbas."

Hopefully, he's wide of the mark there.


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