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News - Mark Adamo's 'Little Women': Nine Productions This Season

Photo credit: PittsburghOperaPhotos.com
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Mark Adamo's beloved opera Little Women continues to hold the honor of being the most frequently performed 20th-century American opera in North America with nine different productions (and counting) taking place across 2015-16.

Premiered in 1998 and based on Louisa May Alcott's novel, Adamo's "essential" opera (his first) is embraced by opera producers of all levels: professional, young artist, and student. The appeal to performers and audiences alike is often attributed to Adamo's skillful and brilliant distillation of the novel into a two-hour opera in which "its mastery is pervasive and its sophistication unobtrusive" and "the moment is always well served" (Pittsburgh Tribune).

Adamo reflects on this unabated success: "You can try, as an artist, to make a piece as true and clear and deep as you can: but you can't control whether artists subsequently believe in that piece (or not), nor whether audiences embrace it (or not). Eighteen years after its première, my only possible response is gratitude that this opera is still speaking, so often, to so many."

All nine productions are taking place around North America within a nine-month period: Pittsburgh Opera, Madison Opera, Eugene Opera, MetroWest Opera, Nightingale Opera Theater (Ohio), Mannes Opera, McGill University (with a live webcast), DePauw University, and Southern Utah University.

Adamo's fourth opera, Becoming Santa Claus, commissioned and premiered by Dallas Opera, opened on December 6 in a sparkling production directed by Paul Curran and conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. Adamo demonstrates his imagination and skilled talent for operatic writing in this "Pixar-esque opera with an explosion of kaleidoscopic music" (Theater Jones). Becoming Santa Claus is "enchanting and full of wonder…likely to become a seasonal favorite for opera companies across the country" (Dallas Edge).

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