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Work of the Week – Gregory Spears: The Righteous

A haunting look into the entanglements of the 1980s: Santa Fe Opera presents the world premiere of the opera The Righteous by Gregory Spears on 13 July 2024. The opera, based on an original libretto by Tracy K. Smith, with whom Spears regularly collaborates, is a full-length work spanning twelve years of American history (1979-1990).

Kevin Newbury directs a fascinating new production set in the American Southwest. The production features an all-star cast including Anthony Roth Costanzo, Michael Mayes, Elena Villalón, Jennifer Johnson Cano and Greer Grimsley. Jordan de Souza makes his debut as conductor at the Santa Fe Opera.

The Righteous by Gregory Spears: Religion and Power

The Righteous begins with David, a preacher who establishes a church in the American Southwest in the 1980s. He marries into a wealthy oil family and is eventually urged to run for governor of his state to succeed his father-in-law Paul. At the same time, he has an affair with Sheila, whose rather mystical theology enraptures him, leading them both to a personal crossroads at the end of the decade.

Gregory and I were interested in the role of politics in religion, the role of women in the church, the way in which faith and power influence each other. (Tracy K. Smith)

The Righteous can be seen at the Santa Fe Opera for one month until 13 August 2024.


Further Reading:

Gregory Spears: Composer Profile

The Righteous: Work Details and Online Score 

Website Santa Fe Opera

photo: Santa Fe Opera


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