Middlemarch in Spring
Middlemarch in Spring: one of the Top 10 Operatic Events of 2015
“Composer Allen Shearer and librettist Claudia Stevens deftly mined George Eliot’s novel for a sunny, ingratiating and altogether effective piece of musical theater at Z Space.” –Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Five-star review, San Francisco Examiner
‘Middlemarch’ – literature’s gift to opera
by Janos Gereben March 20, 2015
Rare triumph for a new opera Rating: * * * * *
How could 141 years pass without George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” being turned into an opera – what richer, more meaningful, always timely source is there?
The long wait is over with tonight’s premiere of “Middlemarch in Spring” in San Francisco’s Z Space, a delightful event marking the appearance of a rare phenomenon: a new opera of dramatic integrity, with music that’s both boldly contemporary and instantly accessible.
The husband-and-wife team of composer Allen Shearer and librettist Claudia Stevens did a splendid job. Special kudos to Stevens for keeping Eliot’s voice and the meandering story intact – and even enhanced – within the constraints of inevitable abbreviation and the demands of the stage. The number of characters is reduced, several story lines are omitted by necessity, but the opera brings the novel to life with uncanny mastery. READ MORE
Middlemarch in Spring given new productions
Charlottesville Opera gave Middlemarch in Spring its East Coast premiere March 23 and 24, 2017 at Charlottesville’s historic Paramount Theater coinciding with the Virginia Festival of the Book. See video clips from this fine production here .
And the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre mounted a new production April 13-15, 2018 at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville.
See Press Room for reviews
An unexpected honor for Middlemarch in Spring
Encyclopedia Britannica counted it among the most newsworthy new musical works world-wide in its 2015 “Year-in-Review.”
George Eliot Review
A major new review appears in the UK in George Eliot Review, hailing Middlemarch in Spring as “a fine adaptation of Middlemarch which is also a work of originality and charm. Musically and dramatically this is a moving and enjoyable work which gives a concentrated expression of more of George Eliot’s novel than one might think possible in a brief, two-act opera.” – Delia Da Sousa Correa (Open University, UK), Michael Halliwell, University of Sydney. Read the full review here.
San Francisco Chronicle
Joshua Kosman’s review in the San Francisco Chronicle is titled
“A happy offshoot of Middlemarch.” He writes, “…this two-act chamber work is such a light-hearted and buoyant creation that it’s hard not to walk away feeling that all’s right with the world…. Shearer’s score – tuneful, elegant and canny in its creation of musical character – furthers that notion. Working with striking concision, the composer helps us hear the inner nature of each of the characters, from Casaubon’s granitic self-regard to Celia’s charmingly bubbled-headed cheeriness.” Read the full review here.