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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
North American Works Directory Listing
A Bayou Legend
Williiam Grant Still
William Grant Still (May 11, 1895 – December 3, 1978) was a prolific African-American classical composer. Born in Woodville, Mississippi he was the son of two teachers. Growing up with his widowed mother and stepfather originally went to medical school per his mother's wishes. While there he conducted the university band, learned instruments, and began composing. He later attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music and studied at the New England Conservatory before enlisting in the US Navy and serving in World War I. His career took off in the years afterward. He was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have his own orchestra performed by a leading orchestra, the first to stage an opera with a major company, and the first to have an opera performed on live television. He married Verna Arvey, a journalist and pianist, in 1939. He died of heart failure in Los Angeles.
Verna Arvey
Donald Dore (Set Designer & Stage Director)
Leonard de Paur (Conductor)
Juanita Waller (Aurore)
John Miles (Bazile)
Barbara Conrad (Clothilde)
Robert Mosley (Leonce)
Francois Clemmons (Minstrel)
Naymond Thomas (Father Lestant)
Francois Clemmons (First Blade)
Earl Taylor (Second Blade)
Eddie Goins (Third Blade)

The broadcast of the videotaped performance starred Raeschelle Potter as Clothilde; Gary Burgess as Bazile; Carmen Balthrop as Aurore; Peter Lightfoot as Leonce; Cullen Maiden as Father Lestant; and Francois Clemmons, Irwin Reese and Ben Holt as the Three Blades.
November 15, 1974
Opera South
The story concerns a young, idealistic man, Bazile, who falls in love with a spirit maiden named Aurore. He is pursued, however, by the conniving Clothilde, who will stop at nothing to snare him as her husband, even if it means duping him into believing that she is carrying his child.

Aurore tells Bazile that they have been sweethearts throughout the ages and that they will be reunited in another life. She also reveals that Clothilde is not bearing his child. Clothilde is madly jealous of Bazile's devotion to Aurore and schemes to expose the fact that he is consorting with spirits, a crime in the village punishable by death. Bazile refuses to renounce his love for Aurore and so the villagers, fearful of witchcraft, hang him.

Released by death, Bazile's spirit rises to meet that of Aurore's. Even the loyal Leonce, who truly loved Clothilde in the beginning, stands by her until he, too, sees her for what she has wrought, and rejects her in the end. Clothilde is left alone, her happiness gone forever.
Tenor, Mezzo-soprano, Soprano, Baritone, Bass
3 Tenors, Baritone, Bass
The New York Times, Richard F. Shepard, 6-15-81; American Film Magazine, Martin Mayer, January/February 1981; Time, 11-25-74; Sunday Advocate (Baton Rouge), John DeMers, 11-24-74; Clarion Herald (New Orleans), 11-21-74; The Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS), Jean Bunge, 11-16-74
02:00
Not Available
Small Chorus (8 singers)
3 fl(picc), 2 ob(Eng Hrn), 3 cl, 2 bsn - 3 hrn, 3 tpt, 2 tbn, tba - timp, perc, cel, hp, drums, cymbs - str
6 Dancers
Simple, singable melodies; lushly romantic; vibrant orchestral colors
William Grant Still Music
wgsmusic@bigplanet.com
212-621-6327
http://www.williamgrantstill.com

Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
  • From Gold Rush to Google
  • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
  • OPERA America's New Works Forum Expands and Explores
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