The Summer King
Composer: Daniel Sonenberg
Composer Bio: Daniel Sonenberg (composer) has written extensively for chamber and orchestral ensembles, focusing most recently on vocal works. His music has been performed by the Da Capo Chamber Players, Friends and Enemies of New Music, the American Composers Alliance, South Oxford Six, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra and many others. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from Meet the Composer, the MacDowell Colony, the Corporation of Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Mr. Sonenberg studied composition under Joan Tower, Daron Hagen, and David Del Tredici. He holds a DMA from the City University of New York, and is currently Assistant Professor and Resident Composer at the University of Southern Maine. www.danielsonenberg.com
Librettist: Daniel Nester
Librettist Bio: Daniel Nester (librettist) is the author of God Save My Queen (Soft Skull Press 2003), a meditation on his obsession with the rock band Queen. He is the editor of the online journal Unpleasant Event Schedule, as well as a contributing editor for Painted Bride Quarterly and DUCKY. His work has appeared in Open City, Nerve, Columbia Poetry Review, LIT, Verse, Mississippi Review, Spinning Jenny, Slope, Jacket, Crazyhorse, and others. A poem of his was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa to appear in The Best American Poetry 2003.
Original Cast: Roles: HELEN, Soprano; GRACE, Mezzo-Soprano; ELDER BARBER’S WIFE, Mezzo-Soprano; ELDER BARBER, Tenor; SEÑOR ALCALDE, Tenor; TRASH-TALKING BATTER, Tenor; RADIO ANNOUNCER, Tenor; JOSH GIBSON (JOSH), Baritone; YOUNGER BARBER, Baritone; SAM BANKHEAD, Bass Baritone; Barbershop Patron; Ballgame Spectators; Fellow Players; Joe DiMaggio
Premiere Date: Not available.
Producing Company: American Opera Projects, Inc.
Description: The Summer King tells the story of baseball legend Josh Gibson. Josh went from the sandlots of Pittsburgh’s North Side to the pinnacle of greatness in the Negro Leagues, before ultimately being enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

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Comments: Detailed Scene Breakdown
The Summer King is an opera in two acts based on the life of Josh Gibson, one of the greatest Negro League baseball players. A home run hitting catcher, Gibson was often called the Black Babe Ruth, and had a career spanning from the late 1920s until his death in 1947, only several months before Jackie Robinson broke the Major League color barrier. At the time of his death, Gibson, though only 35 years old, was addled with injuries, and suffered from what may have been a brain tumor. Reports say that near the end of his life he was overheard having boisterous conversations with an imaginary Joe DiMaggio. Had he lived and maintained his health, he almost certainly would have had the opportunity to spend some of his late career in the white major leagues, as the best of his Negro League colleagues did. The opera examines the importance of Gibson’s legacy as a ballplayer and a historical figure. Although Gibson had neither the temperament nor the youth to play Jackie Robinson’s ultimate role, he was centrally responsible for the Negro League’s immense popularity and high level of play – and as such, paved the way for the era of integrated baseball. Having hit over 800 homeruns in his career, he died young, almost forgotten, without witnessing or enjoying the fruits of his labor.

659.jpg is a photo of The Summer King
Length: 02:00
Total Acts: 2
Musical Style: The opera uses overlapping musical language of dissonant tonalities and buoyant melody.
Contact: American Opera Projects
E-mail Address: info@operaprojects.org
Phone: 718-398-4024
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