Lenox, MA— On Monday, August 13 at 7:30PM, a new voice will emerge from a beloved classic. Shakespeare & Company and Artistic Director Tony Simotes are pleased to host the first workshop production of the new opera Pearl, with a score by Amy Scurria.
Pearl is a modern retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s timeless novel The Scarlet Letter, which is told from the viewpoint of the daughter of Hester Prynne. The libretto was written by feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan (with her son Jonathan Gilligan) who also penned a stage adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, which was produced by Shakespeare & Company in 2002 and was directed by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer.
Performers in the opera include Maureen O’Flynn and John Cheek, both regulars on the Metropolitan Opera stage. O’Flynn was last seen at Shakespeare & Company in 2010, when she starred in the world-premiere of Joan Ackerman’s critically acclaimed play The Taster.
Tickets are $25 for general admission and $50 for reserved section seats. To view a complete schedule, receive a brochure, or inquire about discounts, please call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or visit Shakespeare.org. For customized group visits—which may include artist talkbacks, tours, and catered events—contact the Group Sales office at (413) 637-1199, ext. 132. The Tina Packer Playhouse is hearing aid assisted and wheelchair accessible.
The project of Pearl was initiated by Grammy-nominated conductor Sara Jobin, a Berkshire County resident, who was the first woman to conduct the San Francisco Opera. The composer is Amy Scurria, who has had pieces commission by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, among others. A conversation with the entire creative team will immediately follow the performance.
“Realizing that there was a dearth of opera featuring strong female characters who thrive and survive, one of us [Sara Jobin] suggested that opera would be, in many ways, a better medium in which to explore the complex and emotional relationships we portray,” says Carol Gilligan. “The opera focuses on Pearl, Hester, and Dimmesdale and the changes in Pearl’s perception of the events she witnessed as a child and what she comes to understand looking back on them as an adult. The basic tensions—between the private and public aspects of erotic relationships, between one’s role as a parent, as a lover, and as a citizen, and between moral codes and personal passion—are as fraught and important today as they were in the mid-seventeenth century.”
Pearl is Opus 1 of the Different Voice Opera Project, founded in 2008 by Sara Jobin in collaboration with Carol Gilligan and named after Carol Gilligan’s book “In a Different Voice.” For more information, visit www.dvop.info.