Modern Painters
Composer: David Lang
Librettist: Manuela Hoelterhoff
Other Artistic Personnel: Francesca Zambello (Director)
Original Cast: François Le Roux (John Ruskin)
Ann Panagualias (Effie Gray, Ruskin's wife)
Sheila Nadler (Ruskin's Mother)
Dale Travis (Ruskin's Father)
Judith Christin (Effie's Mother)
Mark Thomsen (John Everett Millais, Ruskin's best friend)
Margaret Mack (Mrs. La Touche)
Kathryn Crosman
Barry Busse
Premiere Date: July 29, 1995
Producing Company: The Santa Fe Opera
Description: The opera revolves around Ruskin's unconsummated marriage to his young cousin, Effie Gray. A wedding night scene shows Ruskin devastated by the discovery that a female body, in the flesh, cannot compare with the perfection of classical sculpture. An equally frustrated Effie turns to the pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais, with whom she falls in love and later marries. Meanwhile, Ruskin becomes obsessed with 13-year-old Rose La Touche. Her mother goes to Effie and Millais for help, and Effie vows to spread a national scandal and "see him to the gates of hell." The final scene finds the mentally crippled Ruskin vainly lecturing a worker audience and ranting about his own hates and desires. A female chorus sympathetically grants him peace and lets him die.
Reviews: Vogue, Michael Kimmelman, 8-95; Voice, Leighton Kerner, 8-22-95; The Dallas Morning News, Lawson Taitte, 8-13-95; Santa Fe Reporter, John Stege, 8-[28]-95; The New York Times, James R. Oestreich, 8-7-95; San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman, 8-4-95; Rocky Mountain News, Allen Young, 8-2-95; Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed, 8-1-95; The Washington Post, Joseph McLellan, 8-1-95; Albuquerque Journal, Joanne Sheehy Hoover, 7-31-95; The Wall Street Journal, Raymond Sokolov, 7-31-95; Opera News, Mark Swed, 6-95
Length: 01:50
Total Acts: Not Available
Chorus: Chorus
Orchestration: 2 fl(picc), 2 ob(Eng Hrn), 2 cl(bcl), 2 bsn - 4 hrn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn - 2 perc - pf(syn), hp - str
Musical Style: Alternates between minimalism and chordal lyricism that evokes Copland and Bernstein; repetitive melodies; through-composed; conventional instrumentation; aggressive percussion
Contact: Red Poppy Music; available through G. Schirmer, Inc.
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-254-2100
Composer Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
Modern Painters (Lang)
Saturday, July 29, 1995 - Santa Fe Opera
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