The American opera composer Jake Heggie and his librettist Terrence McNally decided to follow their “Dead Man Walking”–a successful but harrowing opera about capital punishment–with a lighter, more comic work, entitled “Great Scott.”
Now, librettist McNally winced when people called “Great Scott” a “comic” opera, since it deals with a serious topic– for opera lovers, at least, namely, “Does opera still matter?”
“Great Scott” is set in a large American city with a respected–but struggling–opera company. The city also has a powerhouse professional football team. In “Great Scott,” international opera star Arden Scott returns to her hometown to save the opera company by staging the world premiere of a long-lost Italian Bel Canto work, “Rosa Dolorosa, Figlia di Pompei.” Unfortunately, the scheduled premiere falls on the same day as the home team’s first Super Bowl.
Does the diva save the opera company? And who wins the Super Bowl?
Well, you’ll just have to listen to the opera to find out!
Fortunately, a Dallas Opera recording of “Great Scott” was made at its premiere on today’s date in 2015–featuring the powerhouse American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role.