Pittsburgh Opera presents LITTLE WOMEN The Pittsburgh premier of Mark Adamo’s operatic adaptation of the beloved classic
Mark Adamo’s LITTLE WOMEN
CAPA Theater (Creative and Performing Arts School), Downtown Pittsburgh
Saturday, January 23rd, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, January 26th, 7:00 p.m. Friday, January 29th, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 31st, 2:00 p.m.
2 hours, 15 minutes, including 1 intermission
Sung in English with texts projected above the stage
Start at $50. Group Discounts available.
Call 412-456-6666 for more information or visit pittsburghopera.org
See pages 5-6 of this release.
Brown Bag Concert (1/9) Opera Up Close (1/10) WQED Preview (1/16 & 1/22) Meet the Artists (1/26)
Audio Description (1/26)
Pittsburgh Opera continues its 77th season with the Pittsburgh premiere of Mark Adamo’s operatic adaptation of the beloved classic LITTLE WOMEN.
Based on the book by Louisa May Alcott, the production has been a remarkable success. The New York Times called it a “masterpiece”, NPR broadcast it on the radio, and it was shown as a PBS “Great Performances” television special.
The emotional journey of irrepressible, outspoken Jo March makes this new production, starring our Resident Artists, a can’t-miss event.
On stage January 23, 26, 29 and 31, it brings the lives of the four March sisters to the CAPA Theater downtown. Tickets start at $50.
Three facts about LITTLEWOMEN
- This is a great chance to see the opera stars of tomorrow in an intimate setting. Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artists have gone on to become international successes, performing lead roles in top shelf productions all over the world. LITTLE
WOMEN stars all 7 of our Resident Artist singers, together in one place for one of the last times ever.
- The famous novel the opera is based on follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author Louis May Alcott and her three sisters.
- The opera has been performed throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Australia, and Israel.
The story, in brief
LITTLE WOMEN takes place in the Alcott family home in Concord, Massachusetts during the mid/late 1800’s.
Jo is scribbling a poem in her attic when her childhood friend Laurie appears. Laurie has just married Jo’s sister Amy, and has fallen quite out of love with Jo. She claims relief and good cheer, though she is genuinely sad. Oblivious to Jo’s true feelings, Laurie proposes a return to their easy rapport of years ago. This infuriates Jo, and she mocks the very idea of trying to stop time from changing the ones she loves.
In a scene going back two years, Jo and her three sisters—Meg, Beth, and Amy—bicker as they make a game of their chores. A round of the game Truth or Fabrication reveals something about each of the sisters: Meg’s secret romance; Amy’s conflicted relationship with Laurie; Jo’s devotion to her sisters; and Beth’s insistence that she is healthy. As they go down to supper, they sing an anthem in close harmony.
Laurie taunts Jo with the secret that his tutor, John Brooke, keeps one of Meg’s gloves as a token of his love. Jo scoffs at the idea that her sister would “go filling her head with lovering rubbish.” Laurie reminds her that “Things change.” Jo starts rewriting her latest melodrama, but can’t shake the feeling that Meg may soon leave the family, and tells herself that she and her sisters remain “perfect as we are.”
Meg offers to teach her suitor John Brooke a storytelling game called Rigmarole. Brooke’s story so clearly reflects his love for Meg that Jo chases him away, protesting to Meg that Brooke is too old for her. “He’s twenty-eight! He’s got one foot in the grave!”
Jo pleads with the entire family to convince Meg to rebuff Brooke. Meg retorts that rejecting him was her plan all along. Cecilia March, the girls’ glamorous aunt, sweeps in just as Brooke bluntly proposes marriage to Meg. Cecilia scorns Brooke, and this only hardens Meg’s resolve. To her own surprise, Meg pledges herself to Brooke. The family congratulates the new couple, but Jo is devastated.
Desperate, Jo accuses Meg of abandoning her. Meg placates her sister, replying, “Things change, Jo.” Then she confesses her true love for Brooke, wounding Jo even more deeply.
The next summer, the family prepares for Meg’s wedding, and Meg and Brooke decide to use the wedding vows that Alma and Gideon wrote for their ceremony. As the parents teach the young couple their vows, a feverish Laurie accosts Jo, confessing his desire for her.
Amy overhears the argument. Furious, Jo spurns Laurie, and he flees. Amy bursts in and accuses Jo of heartlessness, before following Laurie out. Regrouping from the episode, Jo thinks that if she gives Laurie some time he’ll change back into the friend she’s always cherished. Jo retreats to the house to write just as Beth, overwhelmed by illness, collapses.
In New York City, Dashwood, the publisher of The Daily Volcano, negotiates with Jo to purchase her latest melodrama. He offers her 25 dollars for an edited version; Jo insists on 30 dollars and two free copies. She wins her bargain.
Triumphant, Jo returns to her boarding house, and writes to her family. Meg and Brooke are now the parents of twins; Amy and Laurie are in Europe; and Beth continues to deny that her health is failing. Distracted, Jo accepts an offer of supper and the opera by a new acquaintance at her boarding house, Friedrich Bhaer.
In a split scene, Jo and Bhaer spiritedly argue points of taste in New York; in Oxford, Amy delicately asks Laurie what he feels for Jo. Meanwhile, in Concord, Beth at last
acknowledges the defeat that awaits her. Jo playfully challenges Bhaer to endorse a worthier art than the melodramas she enjoys, and he recites a Goethe poem, in German. Jo asks for a translation, and Bhaer’s English rendering is a confession of love. Receiving a telegram saying that Beth has taken a turn for the worse, Jo flees to Concord.
The family keeps vigil over Beth. Dismissing the others, Beth urges Jo to accept her impending death and makes Jo promise to take care of the family. Jo accedes and they both fall asleep. When Jo awakes, Beth has died.
A few months later, Cecilia baits Jo with Amy’s latest letter, which confirms that she and Laurie are very much in love. Jo admits that she hasn’t heard from Friedrich Bhaer recently. Cecilia stuns Jo with the news that she will leave her estate to her: the endowment will render Jo independent for the rest of her life. Cecilia urges Jo to use the wealth to isolate herself from the pain that comes from loving others. Appalled, Jo rejects the offer and flees to her attic space.
Laurie enters the attic, suggesting innocently that they go back to the “perfect way it was,” but this time Jo admits that the happy old times can’t come back. Laurie leaves, and Jo calls on her memories of the sisters, and ghostlike, they materialize. In gratitude, she celebrates what they were and releases them to what they are now, before they disappear.
Unexpectedly, the attic door opens again: it’s not Laurie but Friedrich, in town by chance and eager to see her. “Is now a good moment?” he asks. “Now is all there is,” Jo realizes. She extends her hand to him as the opera concludes.
- Courtesy of the composer, freely edited
For additional information, videos, musical samples, and cast biographies, visit pittsburghopera.org/LW
- Most tickets to Little W omen are $50
- All performances are at the CAPA Theater, 111 9th Street at Fort Duquesne Blvd., next to the Convention Center
- To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666 or visit http://opera.culturaldistrict.org/production/44079/little-women#tab=buy_tickets
- Group discounts are available. For discounted group tickets (6 or more), contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, x 213
Official Chocolatier: Sarris Candies
Cast and Artistic Team
The Little Women Cast
Jo March Corrie Stallings*
Meg March Laurel Semerdjian*
Beth March Adelaide Boedecker*
Amy March Claudia Rosenthal*
Laurie Adam Bonanni*
John Brooke Brian Vu*
The Little Women Creative Team
Conductor Glenn Lewis
Stage Director Crystal Manich
Set Designer Shengxin Jin
Costume Designer Susan Memmott Allred
Lighting Designer Tlàloc Lopez-W atermann
Director of Musical Studies Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist James Lesniak
Hair & Makeup Designer Nicole Pagano
Assistant Director Jennifer Williams*
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
Related Events for LITTLE WOMEN
Saturday, January 9th – 12:00 p.m.
George R. White Opera Studio, Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters, 2425 Liberty Avenue Let LITTLE WOMEN cast members serenade you at a free concert. We have picked a selection of our favorite operatic arias, spanning a delightful range of works including Carmen, La Traviata, and Rigoletto. And to top it off, you’ll be treated to a sneak preview of an excerpt from LITTLE WOMEN. Guests can meet the performers after this casual, one- hour concert. Free and open to everyone; no RSVP required. Bring a friend and bring a lunch! Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Handicapped parking available by reservation. For more information: 412-281-0912 or http://www.pittsburghopera.org/calendar/detail/january-brown- bag-concert
Sunday, January 10th, from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
George R. White Opera Studio, Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters, 2425 Liberty Avenue Opera Up Close is an in-depth look at the music and story of Mark Adamo’s LITTLE WOMEN with members of the cast and artistic team. Admission is $5; free to members of FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera and $50+ donors. Handicapped parking is available by reservation. For more information: 412-281-0912 or http://www.pittsburghopera.org/calendar/detail/opera-up-close-little-women .
LITTLE WOMEN Previews on WQED-FM 89.3 and WQED.ORG
Saturday, January 16 from 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM and Friday, January 22 from 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Hosted by WQED, and broadcast over the airwaves on WQED-FM 89.3 as well as the WQED website, the LITTLE WOMEN preview gives listeners an engaging introduction to the singers, music and story of the opera. For more information: http://www.pittsburghopera.org/calendar/detail/wqed-preview-little-women
Audio Description: LITTLE WOMEN Tuesday, January 26th
Ticketholders with visual impairments are invited to use Pittsburgh Opera’s Audio Description service at our Tuesday performances. Trained volunteers describe the scenery, costumes, and stage action via headphones. Those wishing to use Audio Description should reserve seats to the Tuesday, January 26th performance: contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, ext. 213 or [email protected]. Braille and large-print programs are available for all four performances.
Meet the Artists of LITTLE WOMEN Tuesday, January 26th
Immediately following the opera, in the CAPA Theater’s Black Box
General Director Christopher Hahn interviews the stars of LITTLE WOMEN after the Tuesday evening performance, in the CAPA Theater Black Box. Ask your own questions, too! Free to all Tuesday ticketholders.
COMING UP NEXT for Pittsburgh Opera:
Ric k y Ia n G o r d o n ’s 2 7 , February 20, 23, 26, 28, 2016
Pittsburgh Opera celebrates its 77th season in 2015-16. Established byfive intrepid women in 1939, Pittsburgh Opera is viewed as one of the most vibrant opera orga nizations in the U.S., with a rich artistic tradition,
outstanding educational programs, an acclaimed artist training program, and a progressive outlook toward the
future. Its green initiative culminated in LEED® Silver certification for its Strip District headquarters, and its capacity as a true communitypartner has increased significantlyunder General Director Christopher Hahn’s leadership.