Opera: 'The Scarlet Professor'
September 15—September 16, 2017 8:00 pm
September 23, 2017 8:00 pm
September 17—September 24, 2017, Sundays 3:00 pm
Tickets are now available for The Scarlet Professor , a major new American opera that will have its professional premiere at Smith College.
Presented by Five College Opera, The Scarlet Professor dramatizes the true story of Newton Arvin, a Smith College literature professor arrested in 1960, with two of his colleagues, for possessing male erotic photographs. The opera centers on Arvin’s friendship with a young colleague, as well as Arvin’s literary obsession with The Scarlet Letter, whose characters spring from his imagination onto the opera stage. The opera also explores the ways in which Arvin’s case can be seen as a historical fulcrum, perched between the cultural McCarthyism of the 1950s and the “new world” of personal liberation ushered in by the 1960s.
Based on a biography by Barry Werth, The Scarlet Professor is composed by Amherst College music professor Eric Sawyer to a libretto by UMass Amherst theater professor Harley Erdman. Ron Bashford of the Amherst College Theater and Dance faculty directs.
About the Casting
Uniquely cast, The Scarlet Professor will premiere Friday, Sept. 15, in a performance by leading professionals from the opera world. (Additional performances by the professional cast follow Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16 and 17.) The following weekend -- Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23 and 24 -- students from the Five Colleges, mentored over the summer by the professional cast, will fill principal roles. This casting model, says composer Eric Sawyer, “allows students from the Five Colleges to learn from cast mates who are professional singers, while bringing their own intensity of engagement with this story and its contemporary implications. A chorus of students and community members and an orchestra of Five College faculty will perform both weekends.
A symposium examining the Arvin case in light of contemporary politics and attitudes is planned for Saturday, Sept. 16, in Sage Hall at Smith College. http://www.thescarletprofessoropera.com/uploads/6/9/4/6/69460311/public_symposium.pdf
Performance and Ticket Information
Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.thescarletprofessoropera.com/tickets.html.
Friday, Sept. 15 -- 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 16 -- 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 17 -- 3 p.m.
Tickets $15/$25/$35; free for Five College students
Young Artist Performances
Saturday, Sept. 23 -- 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 24 -- 3 p.m.
Tickets $5/$15/$25; free for Five College students
All performances will take place in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts at Smith College, 122 Green St., Northampton, Mass.