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Libretto by Kenward Elmslie (E)

Scoring

2dramS,colS,M,2T,2BBar,4dancers(1=pop soprano),2child actors(silent)
2(I=picc,II=picc).1.2(II=bcl).1-3.1.1.0-timp.perc(1,=cel,pft):BD/SD/
susp.cym/xyl/tamb/glsp/cyms/tam-t-harp-pft-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
21/11/1957
New York, New York
Frederic Cohen, director
Conductor: Frederic Waldman
Company: Juilliard Opera Theater

Roles

SISTER ROSE ORA EASTER Spinto Soprano
MOTHER RAINEY Mezzo-Soprano
BILLY WILCOX Tenor
SISTER GLADYS Coloratura Soprano
SISTER REES, the Sister Elect Dramatic (or Spinto) Soprano
BROTHER SMILEY Bass
MARY JANE RIPLEY (also 1st Bather) Dancer and Pop Soprano
2nd Bather
3rd Bather
1st Good Time Charlie Tenor
2nd Good Time Charlie Bass Baritone
Two Gangsters and a Gun-Moll Dancers
Harmony Mute or Treble
Little Amity Mute or Treble
Time and Place

1920s, Atlantic City, New Jersey and New York City

Synopsis

Young Sister Rose Ora Easter is assumed dead. Her followers believe that she has drowned while swimming off the coast of Atlantic City. Some have their doubts about her disappearance, especially Mother Rainey, who raised the orphaned girl and trained her to take on the role as the leader of Lifeshine Gospel. Mother Rainey believes that the departed Sister was actually led astray by a man; after questioning the missing Sister’s close friend Sister Gladys, Mother Rainey’s suspicions are confirmed. Billy Wilcox has spirited her away to New York, and the two plan to flee to the Holy Land using Lifeshine Gospel money. The two women head to the city, bent on retrieving Sister Rose Ora. They are somewhat successful. Sister Rose Ora announces the truth of her disappearance, and asserts that the vows she made as a child are no longer relevant, since she has awoken to the glories of love. Billy prepares to leave with Rose Ora when Mother Rainey arrives with a gun. Knowing that Rose Ora is lost to her and their sect, Mother Rainey shoots him. Rose Ora turns violently on her sect and then returns to Billy, who dies in her arms.

Moods

Dramatic, Tragic

Subjects

Contemporary, Relationships, Religion

Recommended Recording

Noel Rogers, Judith Anthony, Carolyne James, Kansas City Lyric Theater Orchestra, Russell Patterson
Citadel 2000

Click here to purchase this CD from Amazon

Sweet Bye and Bye


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