The Samford-commissioned opera, “Ghosts of Gatsby,” will make its world premiere on Thursday, Nov. 15 in Harrison Theatre.
This collaboration between Samford Opera Director Kristin Kenning, librettist Joshua McGuire and composer Evan Mack has been several years in the making.
“Samford is incredibly forward-thinking to commission an opera for its students,” Mack said in a Samford press release. “Not only will the Samford name live on with the opera but it provides such an invaluable learning opportunity for these students.”
The one-act opera is written for four performers and a chamber orchestra. It follows the genius behind “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald, and three versions of his wife, Zelda.
“We struck on this story of Zelda as this famous Alabamian that people know because she was married to this more famous person,” McGuire said in a promo video for the project. “And Zelda herself was a writer, was a painter, was a dancer at very high levels, but she was sort of eclipsed by F. Scott Fitzgerald and so I was interested in excavating her story.”
Ensemble cast member Ashley Pope encourages all Samford students, not just School of the Arts students, to come to the show.
“There is a lot of talent within this cast, and the show is incredible,” she said. “However, it also brings up a lot of important themes, such as abuse and mental illness that need to be discussed.”
Shows will be at 7:30 on Nov. 15-17 and a matinee on Nov. 18. Guests are invited to a Pre-Show Talk hosted by Opera Birmingham with the creators of the show in Bolding Studio at 6:30 the night of the premiere.
After its run at Samford, the play will compete at the National Opera Association Chamber Opera before showing at the Mobile Opera Jan. 7. The show will also be presented at the New Works Forum of Opera America. In late January, Samford Opera will present the show in Zelda Fitzgerald’s hometown of Montgomery, Alabama.
[photo courtesy of Samford Arts]
Kathryn has returned as our Features Editor. She is a junior Journalism & Mass Communications major with a concentration in print and is from Atlanta, Georgia.