Here is an interview with poet and librettist Dave Mason.
From Opera Colorado:
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is America’s first great tragic novel. Published in 1850, the work immediately caught the country’s attention and has never lost its grip. The story could easily be played out today: how individuals react to and survive severely repressive communities saturated with religious dogma. The Scarlet Letter looks at individuals who hold fast to their personal beliefs and secrets, to protect themselves and others; how their mistaken actions result from fears of being judged and disliked; and how people either make peace with their decisions, or live out lives of tortured conflict because of them. We invite you to join us for this world premiere in celebration of new American Opera.
In English with English and Spanish subtitles at every seat
Evenings at 7:30PM & Sunday Matinee at 2PM
At The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Sunday, May 15th performance is Audio Described for the visually impaired.
Setting: mid 1600s Boston
A crowd gathers to gawk at young Hester Prynne, charged with adultery. With the damning scarlet “A” on her breast, she appears on the platform with her babe in arm. In the crowd is the minister Arthur Dimmesdale, unacknowledged father of her child. Also present is Hester’s long-lost husband, unrecognized and now going by the name of Roger Chillingworth. Declaring that he will discover the name of her lover, he confronts Hester in her prison cell, but fails to learn what he is determined to know. In his absence, Hester sings a lullaby to her child, “the Pearl beyond all price.”
Continue Reading . . .
The chorus reflects on the passage of time. The leaders of Boston, including Governor Bellingham, debate whether Hester should be permitted to keep her child, who they fear is not being raised in an appropriately Christian manner. Chillingworth takes rooms with the young minister Arthur Dimmesdale. The minster is concealing from all the fact that he is the father of Hester’s child. Although taunted by Mistress Hibbons, a local witch, Dimmesdale will not confess, and Chillingworth begins to sense that the minister is concealing something. Dimmesdale is almost overwhelmed by his guilt and is in ever-failing health.
Several years have passed, and the infant Pearl is now a young girl. In the forest, Chillingworth accosts Hester once more, demanding to know her lover’s name, but again failing to force her to any revelation. After Chillingworth departs, Hester is approached by Dimmesdale. They muse on the idea of fleeing the community, and it becomes clear that Pearl is coming to recognize Dimmesdale as her father. Plans are made for all three to take ship back to Europe and begin their lives anew, to “know joy again.” However, Dimmesdale, unable to set aside his guilt, chooses an election day rally to confess to the crowd, revealing a letter “A” branded on his own chest. Hester and Pearl join him on the platform, but Dimmesdale, his heart finally giving out, falls dead at their feet. Chillingworth is furious to have lost the target for his hatred. A choral epilogue resolves the story for mother and child.