Balls: An opera about Billie-Jean King

Balls: An opera about Billie-Jean King


norman lebrecht

February 23, 2017

Balls is one of six new operas featured in ‘First Take’,  a Los Angeles initiative.

The composer is Laura Karpman.

Read on here.

And view video here.


  • John Borstlap says:

    Art in the service of social engineering, and on top of that with a theme of a sports event, fails to universalize its subject, and takes it down to banal actuality. Unless the music is that of a genius, such opera seems sure to fail. There is nothing against gender equality but is opera the right battle field?

    Karpman’s film music:

    Karpman’s concert music:

    No doubt disenfranchised women will love this kind of music. But will it help them?

  • Stephen says:

    Who is Billy-Jean King? I hope the title does not reflect the quality of the opera.

    • M. Foster says:

      First-rate tennis player.

    • Giorgio says:

      In addition to her other tennis accomplishments, she is known for defeating the sneering Bobby Riggs, who was dismissive of female athletic prowess (remember, this was 1973). “King is an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice.[2] In 1973, at age 29, she won the Battle of the Sexes tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, ”

      Also “Billie Jean” is not hyphenated.

  • Steve P says:

    Double Entendre alert. Wonder what the SWJ male musical will be called – can’t imagine a female anatomy part being deemed appropriate for usage.