May 1, 1989 | UrbanArias
Photo-Op, A Presidential Campaign Opera
Composer:Conrad Cummings
Librettist:James Siena

Politics is an exciting but tricky subject to address in opera. Verdi set the bar very high with Don Carlo and Simon Boccanegra, and John Adams’ Nixon in China took that tradition and brought it compellingly into the 20th century.

Photo-Op is an unapologetically modern foray into the political, which lampoons stump speeches and presidential campaign tropes while simultaneously delivering a satiric, if grim, verdict on the state of politics today.

Conceived as a concert piece for two dueling candidates and a small instrumental ensemble, Photo-Op has received a variety of treatments and interpretations over the last twenty years.

UrbanArias’ version is an intimate collaboration between director Alan Paul and choreographer Lucy Bowen McCauley, with frequent input from me. We designed a take on the opera which has a more explicit narrative than it has received in previous stagings; we felt that a combination of traditionally acted scenes and dance could be very powerful.

I chose to produce this piece at this particular moment because it has obvious connection to the current campaign season, and because the timing of our production has particular resonance with the recent Republican and Democratic conventions.

While you will see a few references tonight that seem ripped from last week’s headlines, please know that we have not altered a word of James Siena’s text or a note of Conrad Cummings’ music. What they wrote in 1989 is just as relevant today. In fact, the immediacy of this opera twenty years later is uncanny.

We discovered over the last few weeks that it’s true – sometimes life does imitate art.

Robert Wood, General Director of UrbanArias

Title Information

All information is derived from OPERA America's Season Schedule of Performances and titles databases which date back to 1991. OPERA America is constantly updating this data. If you feel that a work or an artist has been omitted or that information is incorrect, please use the linked forms below.
Title Information Form
Artist Information Form

mom have massage son son friends vs mum xxx
To have your company’s photos included in the header rotation, send photos that are at least 1200px wide and 550px tall to Please note that submission of photos does not guarantee inclusion.
All OPERA America facilities are handicapped accessible. The National Opera Center features ground-level entry with elevators to the venue. All spaces are wheelchair accessible, and modular seating can be arranged to accommodate wheelchair users for all programs and performances. Handicapped accessible restrooms are available on all floors.
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

Privacy PolicyReturns Policy
Financial Statements
© Copyright 1995-2017 OPERA America Inc.

Technical issue with the website? Let us know.