The Village Singer
Composer: Stephen Paulus
Librettist: Michael Dennis Browne
Original Cast: Pauline Tinsley (Candace Whitcomb)
Elizabeth Pruett (Alma Way)
David Hillman (Wilson Ford)
Melvin Lowery (Reverend Pollard)
Marc Embree (William Emmons)
Premiere Date: June 09, 1979
Producing Company: Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Description: Candace Whitcomb has been the paid soloist in her church for forty years. The members of her choir surprise her with a party during which she and her suitor, William Emmons, the choir director, sing together. As everyone departs at the party's end, William discreetly leaves a photo album on Candace's table. Candace finds the album and reminisces about her forty years of service. At the back of the book she finds a note from William, dismissing her from her singing duties and naming Alma Way, her nephew's fiance, as her replacement. That Sunday the congregation assembles and Alma prepares to sing her solo. Suddenly, next door in her cottage, Candace begins singing her own solo. The Reverend, after the service, rushes to the cottage and implores Candace to refrain from singing during worship. However, that afternoon, Candace repeats her solo performance. Wilson, Candace's nephew, rushes from the church threatening to throw her organ out the window if she won't stop singing. Candace retaliates by refusing to name Wilson in her will. Suddenly overcome, Candace becomes very ill. Eventually agreeing to see William and Reverend Pollard, Candace repents, gives her blessing to Alma, and asks her to sing for her. Candace points out variances in pitch and then dies.
Character List (Major): Candace Whitcomb (s)
Wilson Ford (t)
Alma Way (s)
William Emmons (bar)
Character List (Minor): Minnie Lansing (s)
Jenny Wilkins (mz)
Todd Wilkins (t)
Brent Freeman (b)
Rev. Pollaid (t)
Nancy Ford (mz)
Reviews: Opera, Harold Blumenfeld, 8-79; New York, Alan Rich, 7-9-79; The New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 6-25-79
Length: 01:00
Total Acts: 1
Chorus: All chorus music sung by principal singers.
Orchestration: 2 fl, 1 ob, 2 cl, 1 bsn - 1 hrn - timp, 2 perc(4 tom-t, SD, BD, sus cym, tam-t, wind chimes, tub bells, glsp, xyl, tempbl) - pf(harm), hp - str(3 vln1, 3 vln2, 2 vla, 2 vc, 1 db)
Musical Style: Through-composed; tonal; lyrical vocal lines; use of bitonality juxtaposed with traditional hymns
Contact: Schott Helicon Music
Composer Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
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