Comedic Opera Pays Tribute to Supreme Court "Odd Couple" Scalia and Ginsburg

News   Comedic Opera Pays Tribute to Supreme Court "Odd Couple" Scalia and Ginsburg
Inspired by the sometimes contentious relationship between Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, composer Derrick Wang's new comedic opera Scalia/Ginsburg had its premiere at the Castleton Festival in Virginia July 11, with performances continuing through July 19.

The one-act "buddy comedy" by composer-librettist Wang was inspired by the political opinions and friendship of Ginsburg and Scalia, who despite their differing standpoints, have shared a long kinship; often described as the "odd couple" of American politics. Both reportedly opera enthusiasts in real life and familiar with Wang's new work, they are quoted on Wang's website as saying they "loved it." The show is billed as "a valentine to law and opera, where the law’s leading players go toe-to-toe and trill-to-trill in a (gentle) parody of operatic proportions." Scalia/Ginsburg's score is laden with references to the well-known operas of Händel, Mozart, Verdi and more. It was first introduced at the Supreme Court of the United States in 2013 and has since been featured on NPR and published by the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, with prefaces by Ginsburg and Scalia.

The plot follows the pair's journey through three cosmic trials in order to secure their freedom, but in order to do so, they must agree on the Constitution. The story is based on their real-life feud over whether the Constitution is, as Scalia claimed, "dead." Through comedy and opera, Scalia/Ginsburg explores current legal issues, music and the law. Ginsburg is played by Ellen Wieser and Scalia by John Overholt in the current world premiere.

Scalia was also the topic of the new political drama The Originalist, which had its world premiere at Arena Stage in March this year.

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