Ellen West

Libretto by Frank Bidart

Commission: Commissioned by Opera Saratoga, Lawrence Edelson, Artistic & General Director; and Beth Morrison Projects
Premiere: June 30, July 6 and 12, 2019. Opera Saratoga; The Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs, NY.

About the Opera:
Ellen West brings us deep into the personal internal struggle of a young woman’s battle with a severe, chronic eating disorder, as well as the attempts by her doctor to diagnose and save her. The opera is inspired by one of the earliest cases of existential analysis.

Libretto by Barbara Zinn Krieger

Duration: 120′
Voices: Sop. 2Mezzo-sop. Ten. 2Bar. Bass-Bar.; Optional SATB Chorus
Premiere: April 14, 17, 21, 2019. Karajan-Akademie der Berliner Philharmoniker e. V., Michael Hasel, director; Theater Baden-Baden, Baden-Baden, Germany.

Introduction, Andante and Allegro

For Orchestra

Duration: 15′
Commission: Co-commissioned by Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot, conductor, and LA Philharmonic Association, Gustavo Dudamel, director.
Premiere: February 6, 2019. Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Ludovic Morlot, conductor; S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium of Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA.

The Yellow Wallpaper

Opera in One Act after “The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Duration: 75′
Voices: 2Mezzo-sop. (1 offstage)
Orchestration: 1(dbl. Picc.) 1(dbl. E.H.) 1 1 – 1 1 0 0; Perc. Pno./Synth. Hp. Str.
Premiere: December 5, 2018. University of Texas New Music Ensemble, Ellie Jarrett Shattles and Page Stephens, mezzo-sopranos; Bates Recital Hall, Austin, TX.

About the Opera:
In this world premiere performance of Welcher’s one-act opera based on the famous novella by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a woman has been locked away by her husband in a rented farmhouse after the birth of their child because of her “hysterical tendencies”. The child has been removed, and the woman (unnamed) is forbidden to read, write, or see people for three months. This was known as the “rest cure” for post-partum depression, and was the predominant course of treatment in the late 19th century when this book was written.