Photo: George Hixson
Cold Sassy Tree (2000)Duration: 190 minutes
A musical play in three acts
Libretto by the composer, based on the novel by Olive Anne Burns (E)
2S,2M,2T,Bar,Bbar; chorus (SATB) 2(II=picc).2(II=corA).2(II=bcl).2(II=dbn)-188.8.131.52-timp.perc(3):xyl/vib/glsp/chimes/SD/TD/BD/gong/susp.cym/crash cym/gong/ant.cym/tgl/tamb/wdbl/bell tree/whip-pft(=cel)-harp-strings
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
Wortham Center, Houston, Texas
Dean Peterson/Patricia Racette/John McVeigh/Bruce Beresford, director/Michael Yeargan, designer
Conductor: Patrick Summers
Company: Houston Grand Opera
|Effie Belle Tate||Mezzo|
|Mary Willis Tweedy||Soprano|
|People of Cold Sassy Tree||Chorus|
Time and Place
1900, Cold Sassy Tree, Georgia
It is 1900. The citizens of Cold Sassy Tree, a small town in rural Georgia, are outraged when Rucker Lattimore, the recently widowed proprietor of the General Store, announces his intention to marry Love Simpson, a “Yankee” milliner half his age. Lattimore’s two grown daughters strongly disapprove. Miss Love explains to them the “marriage arrangement:” she will cook and clean in return for the deed to the house and its furnishings. Meanwhile, Lattimore’s grandson, Will Tweedy, befriends a classmate, Lightfoot McLendon, from the “wrong side of the tracks.“ The citizens of Cold Sassy Tree shun the new Mrs. Lattimore at church. Rucker responds by conducting an impromptu service in his parlor for Will, Love and himself. Rucker and Love grow closer, as do Will and Lightfoot. Love reveals to Rucker that as a young girl she was violated and considers herself “damaged goods;” Rucker tenderly proposes that she become his wife in every sense of the word. Rucker is shot in a botched robbery attempt. At his funeral party, Love announces that she is pregnant with his child. At first, many are shocked, but they finally unite to congratulate her and celebrate the legacy of Rucker Lattimore.