Review: Voices Raised in Song at Grover’s Corners

Anne Midgette of The New York Times reviews the new Our Town opera, which premiered last Friday at the Indiana University Opera Theater.

“Aaron Copland wanted to make it an opera. So did Leonard Bernstein. But Thornton Wilder, the author of Our Town, turned both composers down. Now, 68 years after it was written and 30 years after Wilder’s death, the play has made it to the opera stage. Our Town, with music by Ned Rorem and a libretto by J. D. McClatchy, received its premiere here on Friday evening by the Indiana University Opera Theater, one of six commissioners of this opera.
The question remained whether Mr. Rorem was a good fit. He was, it turns out, and not only because he wrote an intimate chamber opera to match the play’s spareness. Our Town opens with a hymn, and Mr. Rorem retained and refracted the familiar melody, turning pat modulations slightly bitter, as if the music were heard through a lens of nostalgia that turned it sepia. This nostalgia proved a hallmark of the score.”

To read the complete review, please visit The New York Times website.