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Opera in a Yankee Key

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women as an opera? How did it occur to composer and librettist Mark Adamo that this would make an opera?

Cast of Little Women

Deborah Rosengaus, Katja Heuzeroth, Angela Jarosz, and, Aimee Puentes star as the March sisters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy in Little Women.

The Importance of Little Women

The importance of Little Women to generations of women.

January 2019, Mark Adamo’s Little Women Press Release

January 2019 LIttle Women by Mark Adamo, Press Release

Introduction

Island City Opera will present four performances of American composer Mark Adamo’s first operatic work, Little Women,” libretto by the composer, based on Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age tale set in New England, January 18-27, 2019, at the Alameda Elks Lodge Ballroom, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda, CA.  The opera will be sung in English with English supertitles, fully staged and costumed with a complete orchestra led by music director Ming Luke and stage directed by Igor Vieira.

BACKGROUND:  Commissioned by the Opera Studio of House Grand Opera, Little Women was first performed in 1998 in a small scale production.  The success of this production prompted then Houston Grand Opera General Director, David Gockley, to pronounce it “destined to be an American classic.”  

Mr. Adamo’s score is reminiscent of Richard Strauss’s themes of “. . . modernism (actual 12-tone rows) with tonal lyricism, the former usually to advance the action or for humor, the latter for the big effusions. And yet the two styles blend effectively, the modernism not rigorously alienating and the lyricism genuine and heartfelt.” (Quoted from John Rockwell’s New York Times review.)

Mr. Adamo’s ingenuity shines in finding a way to convey Alcott’s diffusely structured novel, so familiar to American readers, into a convincing operatic format.  Again, from John Rockwell’s review; “. . . let us start with Mr. Adamo’s libretto, built in rhymed couplets of seemingly effortless naturalness. Mr. Adamo’s way into the novel was to see the opera as the story of the dominant sister Jo’s gradual coming to terms with change: her sometimes painful (to herself and others) realization that the sweet bubble of family happiness, of childhood, of pre-Civil War American innocence, had to burst. But that change could mean life, not death.”

Synopsis

The March sisters are as close as sisters can be, but as they grow up, their relationships begin to change. Jo, the second child, is very reluctant to this change as she wants them all to remain as close as possible all their lives.

When Meg, the eldest sister, beings to be courted by a local man, John Brooke, Jo is very upset that Meg would betray her by leaving the family for a husband. Even though Meg assures Jo that she will always love her, Jo is deeply hurt by Meg’s falling in love. Laurie, the March’s neighbor, and Jo’s closest friend, has always been Jo’s confidant, however as he grows older it is clear that his feelings for her have grown romantically.

Laurie confesses his love to Jo and asks her to marry him. Jo cannot even comprehend the idea of marrying someone and leaving her family behind, and she rejects his proposal. Laurie, dejected, leaves her and Jo thinks that, in time, he will forget his feelings for her and their friendship will return to the way it was.

As she grows up, her ideas of love and life slowly change and we wonder if she ever accept the love of someone outside her family? This wonderful tale of family love, growing older, and being an independent woman has been a classic from its inception in 1868. Mark Adamo’s luscious arias brings a musical poignancy to Louisa May Alcott’s story that is touching, and his unsettling music brings Jo’s struggles with the changing world to life and keeps the audience wondering if she will ever change her mind.

Performance Calendar

Opening Night Friday, January 18th, 2019 at 7:30PM

Sunday Matinee, January 20th, 2019 at 2:00PM

Friday Date Night, January 25th, 2019 at 7:30PM

Closing Matinee, Sunday January 27th, 2019 at 2:00PM

Opera run time is approximately 2 hours

Anchor Society Lectures

Island City Opera’s Anchor Society invites you to join them for the Anchor Society Lectures held one hour prior to the curtain.

Seating & Prices

PERFORMANCE SEATING

performance-seats

 

PERFORMANCE PRICING

Single Performance Tickets: Reserved Sofa seats are $45.  Front Row Cafe Table Seats (4 seats per table) are $60.  Large Table Seats (10 seats per table) are $60.

Discount Season Passes(Save up to $12.  1 ticket any Performance of each show).  General Admission seats $72, Reserved Sofa Seats $81, Large Tables $108 and Front Row Cafe Tables $108.General Admission seats for Adults $40, Seniors $36, Students (13 to 21 with Student ID) $10, and, Child $0.

Drinks & Concessions

Drinks will be on sale at the Bar at the rear of the Ballroom before the performance and during intermission and immediately afterwards.  Wine will be on sale from the rolling bar near the stage before the curtain and during intermission.

Concessions will be on sale before the performance and during intermission from a variety of concessionaires who will be announce via email prior to the performance.