Kander: A Rare Trifecta

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“The Giver” at Tulsa Opera


It’s New Year’s at the Tulsa Opera, as it rings in 2015 with a new production of Susan Kander’s opera The Giver.

Based on the award-winning Lois Lowry novel and featuring Kander’s own libretto, the 90-minute, one-act opera was co-commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Minnesota Opera. The Giver received its world premiere in January 2012 in Kansas City. The work is scored for seven solo roles, chorus and children’s choir, and chamber orchestra. Stanley M. Garner directs the new production and Tulsa Youth Opera Music Director Aaron Beck conducts three performances which run from January 10th through 11th. Dylan Harmon portrays lead character Jonas.

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Dylan Harmon as Jonas

How did Tulsa Opera’s new production come about? Aaron Beck shares some behind-the-scenes thoughts. “Susan contacted me a couple of years ago to present The Giver to me. Frankly, I’d never heard of the book before her phone call. I seem to have just missed the cutoff age, so the book was (unfortunately!) not part of my youth.Kander GIVER Tulsa opera logo

“After speaking with Susan, I played through [her] score and fell in love with not only the story, but the creative way that Susan presented a world without music — through music! I mentioned the opera to a few of the 20-somethings I know, and the response was immediate and overwhelming — ‘you HAVE to do that opera!’ I knew then that this was something special. The Giver is a great story told in a highly creative way; but more than that, it is a part of the fabric of the Millennial Generation in America. It’s really a rare trifecta: great libretto, great music, and a story that is an integral part of the growing-up story of millions of people.”

While in Tulsa, Kander will also participate in a guest composer forum and masterclass at The bART Center for Music; as well as take part in a pre-concert composer chat with director Stanley M. Garner.  For complete performance details, visit the Tulsa Opera.

Upcoming: Next month, from February 2nd – 20th, Opera Kansas will present ten performances of Kander’s opera She Never Lost a Passenger, based on the story of historic American figure Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.

Learn more about Susan Kander.

Purchase Susan Kander’s music.