Well known for her art songs, composer Lori Laitman had her new opera based on THE SCARLET LETTER premiered at University of Arkansas in Conway. It is terrific that this university undertook such an ambitious project and did a good job with it. The soloists--mostly Arkansas based professionals and faculty such as Christine Donahue and John Garst--were very strong and the orchestra played really well, with very few coordination and intonation problems. I really wished the production had supertitles so I could have heard poet David Mason's text more clearly. The opera had lyrical music and the orchestrations were strong despite the fact that Ms. Laitman said she was relatively new to scoring her pieces.
Here at Opera Memphis, we are about to do Scott Joplin's only opera, TREEMONISHA. Joplin never had a chance to see his opera performed. I know that Laitman and Mason will make adjustments to their show--Joplin never had a chance to make any adjustments, so we are left with a choice--do it as he wrote it, or try to make adjustments for him. With our SCOTT JOPLIN AND TREEMONISHA version, we are trying to make adjustments for him.