A new production by University of Tennessee Opera Theater, April 13, 14 and 15 at the Bijou Theater in Knoxville, drew praise from reviewers Alan Sherrod in the Knoxville News Sentinel, April 16, 2018: “a well-crafted poetic story line . . its dramatic suggestiveness flowing out of atonal conflict mixed with addictive, quirky textures and bold statements from individual instruments.” read the full review
And Harold Duckett, in KnoxTNToday, arts – 865, April 15, 2018: “Shearer’s music for “Middlemarch,” delightfully conducted by Kevin Class with his student orchestra, is a kind of storytelling in its own right and certainly underpinning for the excellent singing by everyone in the cast. In the performance I saw, there is not a single voice that does not hold its own, nowhere more proven than in the closing sextet . . ‘We sing and we shout and we will not be denied.’ It’s a show that’s more than worth it.” read the full review
Acclaim from the UK: “Musically and dramatically, this is a moving and enjoyable adaptation which achieves a concentrated expression of more of Eliot’s novel than one might think possible in a brief two-act opera.” — Delia de Sousa Correia and Michael Halliwell, The George Eliot Review. Read the entire review here.
And a new honor at year’s end: the San Francisco Chronicle names Middlemarch in Spring among the Top 10 Operatic Events of 2015
Here’s what critics wrote about the Shearer/Stevens opera, The Dawn Makers in 2009:
“. . a wonderful new chamber opera . . . a beautiful and resourceful score”
—Joshua Kosman, SF Chronicle
“. . . Stevens’ libretto wavers cunningly between comedy and pathos. Shearer’s score has genuine personality.”
—Allan Ulrich, Opera
Shearer and Stevens’ collaboration on The Dawn Makers yielded “a chamber opera production superior to any work I have seen from the Bay Area’s smaller companies.” – Thomas Busse, San Francisco Classical Voice
The producers welcome inquiries from media contacts and community partners. Download press release, photos and more for the March 2015 World Premiere of MIDDLEMARCH IN SPRING. For additional information, press passes, or to arrange an interview with the artists and/or producers,
What: MIDDLEMARCH IN SPRING, a new chamber opera
Who: Composed by Allen Shearer, libretto by Claudia Stevens
Based on George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch
Conducted by Jonathan Khuner, directed by Philip Lowery
Presented by Composers, Inc.
When: March 19-22, 2015
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Evenings at 8:00 pm; Sunday Matinee at 2:00 pm
Run Time: 2 hours, plus one intermission
Where: Z Space, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco, CA
Briefly: In this stirring yet often lighthearted opera, Shearer and Stevens bring George Eliot’s towering literary work to the operatic stage for the first time. With powerful imagery and compelling music, the opera evokes an unforgettable spring in the town of Middlemarch—one of passionate love and political upheaval. Audiences will meet Dorothea Brooke, an idealistic woman who hopes to improve the world. Naively, she marries the scholar Casaubon for his “great mind” and is devastated when he turns out to be cold, shallow and not very bright. But in spring, anything can happen. Could Dorothea have a second chance at happiness with the dashing, eminently unsuitable Will Ladislaw? The odds are stacked against her.
Get the librettist’s perspective in this Q and A with Claudia Stevens
Read a preview in the San Jose Mercury
The first review to come out (S.F. Examiner) is a five-star rave!
Read an interview with Claudia Stevens in Broadway World that also appeared in the L.A. Opus!