American composer Evan Mack’s current opera project is an adaptation of the best-selling novel, Roscoe, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy and will be Mack’s third full-length opera. It is his second collaboration with librettist Joshua McGuire (The Secret of Luca being the first).
“I think Roscoe would approve because he led a grand, operatic life,” Kennedy said of the title character, Roscoe Conway, the machine’s fixer and bagman who wants to quit politics after 26 years of carrying out its chicanery.
—Times Union (Albany, NY)
With its Young Artists, Opera Saratoga presents a workshop performance of Roscoe, Act 1 on Sunday afternoon.
The Roscoe workshop provides a living laboratory where composer and librettist can hear their work-in-progress performed by professional singers while producing a high quality archival recording that can be used when approaching potential producing partners around the country.
Exploring Albany politics, Roscoe is tragic, comic, poignant, and romantic. Roscoe Conway, after twenty-six years as the second in command of Albany’s notorious political machine, decides to quit politics forever. But there’s no way out, and only his Machiavellian imagination can help him cope with the erupting disasters. Every step leads back to the past – to the early loss of his true love, the takeover of City Hall, the machine’s fight with FDR and Al Smith to elect a governor, and the methodical assassination of gangster Jack (Legs) Diamond.
Opera Saratoga’s 2014 young artists will breath life into this work in the 80-minute presentation on Sunday. And you’ll get the opportunity to hear it in it’s current version and in the role as “audience,” no doubt, will provide feedback which will help the opera’s creative team refine the work as they forge into Act II.
Meanwhile, you can take a listen to composer Evan Mack and Opera Saratoga’s General Director Curtis Tucker talk with Joe Donahue on WAMC’s The Roundtable about their process of bringing an opera to life (click the image below to take a listen via WAMC).