This week, we bring you a special edition of The Music Room: Mandorichard visits the Amy E DuPont music building for a sneak peak at the UD Opera Theatre’s production of Robert Ward’s “The Crucible.”
Based on Arthur Miller’s influential play, Ward’s “The Crucible” is a Pulitzer Prize winning opera, and one of the most-performed operas by an American composer. The opera and the play tell a story about witch hunts, both literal and metaphorical—though the plot is a partially fictionalized version of the Salem witch trials, it also serves as a clever allegory for McCarthyism. Miller himself was tried by the House Committee for Un-American Activities in 1956, and was subsequently inspired by the irrationality of the anti-communist “Red Scare.”
Fittingly, Ward’s interpretation of “The Crucible” is “anxious from the very downbeat,” says opera director Blake Smith. In a departure from his regular, instrumental writing, Ward wrote an opera whose “angular vocals” are simultaneously disquieting and breathtaking, according to Smith.
In addition to featuring some truly beautiful music, this episode offers multiple interviews with “Crucible” cast members, all students or graduates of the University’s Department of Music.
If the podcast leaves you wanting more (and we know it will), the UD Opera Theater’s production of “The Crucible” happens Friday, Nov. 13 at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 15 at 3:00 p.m. You can find more information at udoperatheatre.com.
Follow the link below to hear the singing, the student orchestra conducted by James Allen Anderson, and the commentary, all recorded during a rehearsal on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.
The Crucible: Preview of UD Opera Theatre production
Host: Mandorichard; recorded Nov. 6, 2015; aired Nov. 10, 2015.
Thanks to Director D. Blake Smith and to Paul Patinka, Frantasia Rouse, Olivia Markey, Shoshana Lieberman (interview segment below), Jaysen Rosario, Ravon Middlebrooks, Travis Lucas, Kate Roosa, Kaitlyn Tierney, Cara Ferro, Ethan Udovich, Rachel Lipson, and the entire cast of The Crucible
We were not able to include all the interviews in the WVUD radio program. Below are five extra interview segments that contain interesting insights into 20th Century opera, the UD Opera Theatre production of “The Crucible,” and the Music Department’s vocal music program.
- Director Blake Smith discusses the subject matter of 20th Century Opera. 1:23
- Director Blake Smith discusses how vocal music has evolved to tackle themes like those in “The Crucible.” 1:00
- Graduate student Shoshana Lieberman talks about being a graduate student in a UD Opera Theatre production. 0:55
- Graduate students Travis Lucas and Olivia Markey talk about the Sitzprobe and “Tech Week.” 1:23
- Graduate students Travis Lucas and Olivia Markey talk about mentoring undergraduate students in the cast. 1:05