James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.
Glen Roven to Premiere Star-Studded Operatic Work on Inauguration Day
Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 12:00 AM
Inauguration day protests have a long history in our country, from the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade on the eve of President Wilson’s inauguration, to the Women’s March on Washington scheduled for the day after Donald Trump takes office. Popular and respected musical guests are also spotted in the political landscape at this time, either as voices of celebration or dissent.
On Friday, Emmy Award-winning composer Glen Roven will continue both unofficial traditions with his premiere of “The Hillary Speeches,” a vocal setting of Clinton’s 2007 campaign announcement and her 2016 concession. The performance was recorded as a film, with individual singers taped separately and edited together. It will be screened at the National Sawdust in Brooklyn at noon — which is the same time Trump will be sworn in as president.
But it’s the star power that’s really stealing the show and helping to build anticipation. Some of the biggest names in opera and musical theater are a part of “Speeches,” including Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Dominic Armstrong and Camille Zamora. According to Roven in a statement on National Sawdust's website, he “wanted to involve as many artists from the classical community as possible and split up all the lines.” The response was “overwhelming,” and that’s when the idea for a film was born — it was the medium that would best accommodate all those voices. James Gray, Warren Elgort and Larry Robbins direct the film.
Other featured performers are Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee, Matthew Polenzani, Chilina Kennedy, Donna Lynne Champlin, Carin Gilfry, Lester Lynch, Kyle Ketelsen, Laquita Mitchell, Sidney Outlaw, Arianna Zukerman, Eve Gigliotti, Glenn Seven Allen, Daniel Sumegi, Blythe Gaissert, Andrew Garland, Michael Kelly, Gilda Lyons, David Adam Moore and Jonathan Blalock.
The screening is free. For those who cannot make it out to Brooklyn, National Sawdust will be streaming the film on their website. Until then, listen to the first of Rover's Four Melancholy Songs:
Update: You can now watch the film below.