World Premiere of Kate Soper's The Romance of the Rose at Long Beach Opera
Feb. 15, 2023
Long Beach Opera will present the world premiere performances of Kate Soper's highly-anticipated opera, The Romance of the Rose on February 17, 18, and 25 at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California. The production is directed by James Darrah and conducted by Christopher Rountree, and features a talented and diverse cast of outstanding singers including Tony Award nominee actor and singer, Lucas Steele. Steele is well known for his award-winning portrayal of Anatole in Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway. Laurel Irene will star as Shame and Anna Schubert as Lady Reason. Tiffany Townsend will sing the role of Idleness, and Tivoli Treloar will make her professional debut in this production in the role of The Lover. Phillip Bullock sings The God of Love and Bernardo Bermudez will perform the role of Pleasure.
The Romance of the Rose is based on an eponymous poem from the 13th Century. Long Beach Opera describes the opera as a "boundary-breaking, evening-length work that defies all categorization. In a thrilling opus that examines one Dreamer’s quest for a literal rose, The God of Love, Shame, Lady Reason and their cadre of followers lull the audience into a dreamlike world that deftly highlights the profound juxtaposition of beauty and absurdity in our own human folly." The composer calls The Romance of the Rose "An operatic exploration of the ways in which love, sex, and music wreak havoc on our sense of self."
In a feature article for The New York Times, Seth Colter Walls notes: "As a composer, Soper answers such destabilizing questions with a wealth of sonic reference points. She’s firmly in the contemporary classical mold, which means comfort with experimentation and extended techniques — as well as the electronic processing of acoustic sounds. But as the piece progresses, she feasts on polystylism and hummable melody."
Conductor Christopher Rountree concurs, saying: "he had the experience of feeling 'like we were solidly inside of Philip Glass.' Then, 'within a second, we were in Gilbert and Sullivan,' he added. 'And then, a second later, we were in a very heartfelt new-music ballad, but with a character who had not sung in that new-music straight tone yet.'" He continues, "It’s amazing to see all the things that are being asked of the singers by Kate. And it’s cool that we have folks who are willing to go there.”
Director James Darrah adds: "“No one’s writing music like this.”
Trailer for Long Beach Opera's world premiere production of The Romance of the Rose by Kate Soper
To learn more about Kate Soper, visit: psnymusic.com.
The Romance of the Rose (2021)
opera in two acts for seven voices, chamber ensemble, and electronics
music and libretto by Kate Soper,
inspired by Le Roman de La Rose by Guillaume de Loris and Jean de Meun
Duration: ca. 120'