Gordon’s “The Grapes of Wrath” Garners High Praise

On May 27th, Opera Theatre of St. Louis premiered a new version of RICKY IAN GORDON‘s The Grapes of Wrath. Trimmed down from three acts to two, this reworking of Gordon’s 2007 opera – based on Steinbeck’s classic novel – has drawn exceptionally high praise from critics (see below). With five more performances throughout the month of June, there is still time to catch this new production.


…rich in human characterization and detail, and expressed in an enchanting, emotional musical language, with a poetic, vernacular libretto…”The Grapes of Wrath” stands at the pinnacle of the new canon of American operas
–Eric A. Gordon, People’s World
In all aspects, it is outstanding … Michael Korie’s libretto is sustained free verse, a treatment of the American vernacular, as sensitive and authentic as I’ve ever heard outside my native American South. Ricky Gordon’s music is an Ozark stream in the springtime, full of energy, muddy here, turbulent there, calm and sweet in crystalline pools that refresh the soul, but dangerous and deadly on the loose.
–Robert W. Duffy, St. Louis Magazine
I have never in my life been more emotionally moved by an opera than by this glorious production. … this current version is a work of remarkable beauty and power.
–Steve Callahan, Broadway World
“Grapes” packs a dramatic punch, and pleases harmonically. Gordon’s score, grateful to the voice, explores almost every thread of musical style from the era it depicts. This is a version that should have wide acceptance, particularly from smaller opera companies.
–Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Opera Catalog Highlights

Welcome to Theodore Presser Company’s online portal for everything related to the 2017 Opera America conference. We are committed to making it easier for you to discover some of the best music in the world. Please select a genre or ensemble above to explore this year’s featured operas.

Victoria Bond’s Opera, Mrs. President, Grows in the Polls

On October 28th, scenes from Mrs. President took the stage at the National Opera Center in New York City. The opera by Victoria Bond and Hilary Bell featured Valerie Bernhardt, soprano, as Victoria Woodhull and Scott Ramsay, tenor, as Henry Ward Beecher (the high-powered preacher who is determined to destroy Woodhull). The production marks a series of noteworthy events surrounding the opera, which has continued to gain national attention as the 2016 Presidential Election draws closer.

Mrs. President is currently being featured on WQXR, I Care If You Listen, and the Huffington Post. Explore excerpts from the opera below and visit www.mrspresidenttheopera.com to learn more.

MasterVoices Bring “27” to New York

On October 20th and 21st, MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) brought 27, an opera by RICKY IAN GORDON and ROYCE VAVREK, to New York City for the first time. The “clever, witty libretto” [Saint Louis Post-Dispatch] of 27 celebrates the life of Gertrude Stein and the legendary salons she hosted at 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris. The opera draws the audience into the artistic environment that Stein created and shared with many important artists of the twentieth century including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Man Ray, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. At its core, it is a portrait of a genius and her legacy as knitted to life by Alice B. Toklas, her wife.
Soloists Stephanie Blythe, Heidi Stober, Theo Lebow, Tobias Greenhalgh, and Daniel Brevik, were accompanied by the 150 singers of MasterVoices and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s (directed by James Robinson and conducted by Ted Sperling). The production was a hit with the New York audiences — find some of the reviews below.
Review from StageBuddy
Ultimately the essence of 27 is the deep love between Alice and Gertrude. Their love duet sung with tenderness and passion by Ms. Blythe and Ms. Stober is an example of Mr. Gordon’s melodic brilliance. And Gertrude’s final moments in the arms of her wife asking “what is the answer?” evoke the essential existentialism at the core of her writings. Exquisitely crafted musically and lyrically… [read full review]
Review from Q On Stage
27 is a triumph for Gordon and Vavrek and a tour-de-force for all of the performers.
[read full review]
Review from La Scena
For 27, Gordon has done something equally remarkable. The sprightly, piquant and smart interplay of themes instantly evokes the time and tone of Stein’s Paris, and does it by brilliant and intentional musicological design. [read full review]

Learn More About The Opera Below
Duration: 95′
Cast: Mezzo-soprano, 4 supporting singers (Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Bass-Baritone)
Instr: 2 2 2 2 AltoSax. – 2 2 2 0; Timp. 2Perc. Hp. Pno. Str.
Commission: Commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Premiere: June 14, 2014. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano
Act I: Prologue, Alice Knits the World
Act IV: “Jury of My Canvas”
Piano/Vocal Score
Purchase – $75.00
Full Score (Acts 1-2)
Online Perusal
Full Score (Acts 3-5)
Online Perusal

Opera Catalog Highlights – Index