Boston premieres an American opera

Boston premieres an American opera


norman lebrecht

December 02, 2017

Last night, Odyssey Opera and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project gave the world stage premiere of Norman Dello Joio’s The Trial at Rouen, based on the last hours of Joan of Arc.

Dello Joio (1913-2008) was a leading American composer in his time. Joan of Arc was his lifelong obsession.

The opera was surely worth a fragment of media attention. But there was no preview and, so far, no review.

The only notice appears in Boston Classical Review.

That’s the sorry state of opera in US media these day, folks.




  • MacroV says:

    When I lived in Boston about 20 years ago, the Globe – mostly Richard Dyer – covered a lot of musical events besides the BSO (in fact I found Boston to be a great music city even without the BSO, which I rarely had the time or money to hear). Opera has always taken a backseat to the BSO. But for what it’s worth, a review in Boston Classical Review might actually get more reads than a couple column inches in the Globe.

  • David Leibowitz says:

    Truly an obsession for Dello Joio – he wrote THREE operas on the subject of Joan of Arc.

    From Wikipedia:

    “The Triumph of St. Joan was originally an opera in three acts by Norman Dello Joio…on the subject of the martyrdom of Joan of Arc by Dello Joio and Joseph Machilis. It was premiered at Sarah Lawrence College on May 9, 1950. Although the opera was received positively, the composer was unhappy with the work and declined to have it performed again. However, he did adapt part of the opera into a symphony of the same title in 1951. The symphony was later renamed Seraphic Ode.

    Dello Joio returned to the subject of Joan of Arc in 1955 when he was commissioned by the NBC Television Opera Theatre to produce an original 75-minute opera for television. The resulting work in two acts was retitled The Trial at Rouen, and, in using new music and a new libretto by Dello Joio, was in effect a completely different musical drama from its predecessor. It premiered on April 8, 1956 on NBC.

    Dello Joio adapted the work a third time, extending the music at the beginning and end of the 1956 version (including some music from the 1950 opera) to create a one-act opera for the stage. This third version, once again called The Triumph of St. Joan, was premiered by the New York City Opera on April 16, 1959.

  • Bruce says:

    [see link provided] That looks like a review to me…

  • Saul Davis says:

    This is exactly why the US needs its own national classical music magazine, not a website, a single publication that pays attention to all the significant goings-on, and the insignificant. There is a huge audience of readers being neglected. So, if by some miracle, I find a publisher or investors who start it up, be sure to subscribe.

    • The View From America says:

      The American Record Guide does just that. And it has included concert and stage reviews for decades, too.

  • Larry says:

    He won the Pulitzer Prize for a wonderful string orchestra work, “Meditation on Ecclesiastes.” Sadly, it never gets performed these days.

  • Larry says:

    Here’s a thought….2018 is the 75th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize in Music, Why doesn’t some enterprising American orchestra program some of the winners — there are about 40, including concerti. (I was at the world premiere of “Deja Vu” by Michael Colgrass.) Better yet, why not perform all of them over a 3-4 year period? When was the last time you heard music by Gail Kubik, Quincy Porter, Ernst Toch or Leslie Bassett?

    John La Montaine, any one???

  • j in boston says:

    This is maybe the stupidest rant I have ever read on Slipped Disc and that’s saying a lot. Learn to use Google. The Boston Globe had a big feature article on this upcoming production back in September

    Also, a review of a Saturday night performance would not be expected to appear until at least Monday or Tuesday so it’s too early to know whether or not The Globe is reviewing the performance.

    The lack of coverage for musical events of all genres is a real and depressing issue, but you’ll never make the case with this kind of hysterical nonsense.

  • Will says:

    Two companies I’ve never heard of give opera by composer i’ve never heard of. Can’t think why it hasn’t been covered.

  • Tim Schwa says:

    Is the role of Jeanne sung by a man or by a woman??

  • J in Boston says:

    and here’s a link to The Boston Globe review right on schedule. Now don’t you feel just a little bit…silly?