The University of Kentucky Opera Theatre is planning a new opera about President Abraham Lincoln's life in his native Kentucky. The opera is currently being composed by UK music professor Joseph Baber and the libretto is being written by former UK theater professor James W. Rodgers. Opera Theatre director Everett McCorvey says the show is currently penciled in for the Spring of 2009, when it would coincide with celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.
Baber's last big work was American Requiem, a piece for orchestra, chorus and soloists that set Civil War writings -- from authors such as Herman Melville to letters from foot soldiers -- to music. It was presented by the Lexington Singers in 1999 and the Singers and the Lexington Philharmonic in 2003. Baber has also penned operas such as Frankenstein.
The Civil War is somewhat in vogue in opera lately, with the San Francisco Opera readying the world premier of Philip Glass' Appomattox next month.
Meanwhile the UK Opera is preparing for its half of the "multi-city world premier" with the San Francisco Opera of Thomas Pasatieri's Hotel Casablanca, Oct. 12, 13, 19 and 20 at the Lexington Opera House. Pasatieri will be in town for the premier as well as for a master class Oct. 13, a recital of his songs Oct. 15 and a talk and barbecue, to match the Texas theme of the opera, Oct. 16. The opera had its first performance in San Francisco in August.