Opera Santa Barbara Commissions Opera From Wicked's Stephen Schwartz

Classic Arts News   Opera Santa Barbara Commissions Opera From Wicked's Stephen Schwartz
 
Opera Santa Barbara has commissioned musical-theater composer Stephen Schwartz to pen his first opera, to be premiered by the company in the spring of 2009.

Opera News reports that Schwartz will adapt Mark McShane's 1961 novel Séance on a Wet Afternoon, which will be presented at Santa Barbara's Granada Theatre. The novel, according to Opera News, tells the story of "a fame-hungry psychic-spiritualist who kidnaps a child in the hope of garnering publicity upon retrieving him." The 1964 film Séance on a Wet Afternoon, directed by Bryan Forbes, was also based on the novel.

About his new work, composer Schwartz said in a statement, "I immediately responded to the idea of this story being adapted to an opera. I like the mood of the story. The central female character has very strong needs and desires, and is very complex. There is a lot of subtext in her behavior, which makes for interesting music, as music can tell things that words cannot."

Schwartz, a Dramatists Guild council member, composed the scores for Wicked, Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, Rags, The Baker's Wife, and Children of Eden. He has also written for several film musicals, including Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince of Egypt, and the TV musical Geppetto. His solo CDs of new songs are titled Reluctant Pilgrim and Uncharted Territory." Schwartz is the recipient of three Academy Awards, three Grammy Awards and three Drama Desk Awards. Wicked currently plays Broadway's Gershwin Theatre.

For more theater news, visit Playbill.com


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