From the Desk of Artistic Director Jonathan Pell – Minneapolis

by Megan Meister

Doubt, Father Flynn (Matthew Worth) must defend his name after a suspicious Sister Aloysius (Christine Brewer) accuses him of sexually abusing an altar boy. (Minnesota Opera) Doubt, Father Flynn (Matthew Worth) must defend his name after a suspicious Sister Aloysius (Christine Brewer) accuses him of sexually abusing an altar boy. (Minnesota Opera)

Welcome to balmy Minneapolis/Saint Paul where the high today was -1 and the low tonight will be 18 degrees below zero!

Why did I fly up here? To attend a performance of a new opera of course!

Tonight was the third performance in the run of the world premiere of DOUBT, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play and Academy Award nominated film by John Patrick Shanley, with libretto by the author and music by Douglas Cuomo.

The reviews that I have read have been quite good, and now I know why.

An excellent cast, headed up by Christine Brewer, Denyce Graves and Matthew Worth, in an intriguing production staged by Kevin Newbury and designed by Robert Brill (who designed the scenery for MOBY-DICK in Dallas) made for a thought provoking evening in the theatre.

The production has attracted a lot of pre-production attention, and colleagues of mine were here tonight from Pittsburgh and Arizona Opera, as well as from Opera America, while representatives from other companies have been or will be here throughout the run of five performances.

I remember thinking when I first saw the play on Broadway that it had the “bones” to make an interesting opera, and it certainly succeeded, particularly in the confrontation scene between Christine Brewer and Denyce Graves, as the principal of a parochial school in the Bronx circa 1964 and the mother of the first black student enrolled there.

I chatted with Denyce after the performance and she wanted to be sure that I told everyone in Dallas I said hello to them for her—so now I have!

Matt Worth, who was terrific as the charismatic young priest around him much of the “doubt” of the title revolves, sang beautifully and with exemplary English diction that made the supertitles superfluous. He is looking forward to making his Dallas Opera debut in a future season (sorry, my lips are sealed) but in the meanwhile he has “Starbuck” in MOBY-DICK at Washington National Opera next season to keep him busy, among numerous other engagements.

I am glad that I was able to be here, but happy to be returning to Dallas in the morning, where I have been promised it will be 70 degrees!

I also have our concert on Saturday night to which I look forward, with superstar Sicilian tenor Marcello Giordani, under the baton of a wonderful young American conductor, Evan Rogister. It is a terrific program, and Marcello will be joined by up and coming young soprano Jan Cornelius for an evening of musical favorites and a few novelties as well.

See you there!

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