Casting has been announced for the Hartford Opera Theater production of The Tender Land, featuring music by Aaron Copland and a libretto by Horace Everett.
Directed by Kristy Chambrelli with music direction by Joseph Hodge, performances are scheduled for June 2 at 7:30 PM and June 4 at 3 PM at The Aetna Theatre at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 600 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut. The production is part of the company's “Opera Without Borders” initiative.
Tender Land, according to production notes, tells the “story of a young girl, who finds herself on the cusp of adulthood and must choose whether to remain in her small town or experience what the world has to offer.”
In keeping with the themes of love, communication, and what it means to belong, this interpretation of the opera will incorporate American Sign Language. In fact, there will be an interpreted performance for the deaf community June 2 and a touch tour and audio describe to aid the blind and visually impaired community June 4.
The cast will feature Lisa Williamson as Laurie, Janelle Robinson as Ma Moss, Robert Barefield as Pa Moss, Darius Gillard as Martin, Michael McAvoy as Top, and Nikita Mallach, a deaf actor, as Beth.
“Everyone in The Tender Land is struggling to be heard. Each character faces this challenge in their own way. Ma is completely invested in her eldest daughter and does not pay much attention to her younger child,” commented director Chambrelli in a statement. “When the eldest daughter decides to leave home to find her own voice, Ma is faced with her role having to change and needing to find a way to connect with her younger daughter. I wanted a deaf actress to play the traditionally spoken role of Beth in the opera. By incorporating ASL, we are hoping to tell the story of this family and the need to be heard in a new way.”
The creative/production team also includes conductor Joseph A. Hodge, sign director Elena Blue, scenic designer Ashley Atencio, costume designer Damian Dominguez, lighting designer Paige Nee, assistant director/stage manager Caitlin Leigh Flemming, executive producer Lisabeth Miller, and co-producers Charity Clark and Michelle Murray Fiertek.
Tickets are available at hartfordoperatheater.com as well as at the door.