Who says opera is dead?

There’s a SCOTUS themed opera in the works:

[Derrick] Wang is composing an opera entitled Scalia/Ginsburg, based on the justices’ own words and using musical themes and styles of other composers from Verdi to Puccini and Bizet. The University of Maryland plans to premiere excerpts this fall, and it will get a partial airing next spring from the Washington National Opera and its young artists program.

In the meantime, at the Supreme Court, Scalia and Ginsburg got a preview in the East Conference Room on June 27 with a small audience of law clerks and staff on hand.

The germ of Wang’s idea came as he was plowing through Supreme Court legal opinions in law school, including Scalia’s dissents.

“I realized this is the most dramatic thing I’ve ever read in law school … and I started to hear music — a rage aria about the Constitution,” Wang said. “And then, in the midst of this roiling rhetoric, counterpoint, as Justice Ginsburg’s words appeared to me — a beacon of lyricism with a steely strength and a fervent conviction all their own. And I said to myself, ‘This is an opera.’ “

He wrote to the justices to ask if he could put their words to music. Scalia and Ginsburg quickly responded that Wang did not need their permission, in view of the First Amendment. But he got their blessing anyway.

So, an opera was born, based on the two justices’ personalities — Scalia’s, bombastic, and Ginsburg’s, demure — and their ideological disagreements. Like all births, this one had a midwife: opera lover and Maryland adjunct law professor Mike Walker, who was “blown away” when Wang approached him about his composition. Walker has mentored the composer and the project ever since.

Well, it’s a much better idea than just making another HBO drama.

(via Unequally Yoked)

About Josh W

Scribbler and doodler
This entry was posted in fragments of culture, Politics as Opium and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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