Today, the Opera Saratoga presents the world première of Ellen West, a chamber opera composed by Ricky Ian Gordon with a libretto by Frank Bidart based on his own poem.
It is the composer's sixth opera after The Grapes of Wrath (Minneapolis, February 10, 2007), A Coffin in Egypt (Houston, March 14, 2014), 27 (St. Louis, June 14, 2014), Morning Star (Cincinnati, June 30, 2015) and The House Without a Christmas Tree (Houston, November 30, 2017).
The opera delves into the story of a girl named Ellen West, and the attempts by people around her to save Ellen from herself. Through the evocative poetry of Pulitzer Prize winner Frank Bidart and the beautiful music of Ricky Ian Gordon, Ellen West reveals both the emotional roller-coaster of a woman fighting her own body and mind, battling starvation and obsessive control. Eventually she returns to the home she shared with her husband, where he and her doctors intervene in an exploration of the emotional, psychological and physical challenges of a woman struggling with her perceptions of her body, her relationship with food, and the world closing in around her. (reproduced from the Beth Morrison Projects website)The cast includes soprano Jennifer Zetlan (Ellen West) and baritone Keith Phares (Dr. Binswanger). Lidya Yankovskaya conducts. Emma Griffin directs.
The venue is the Spa Little Theater in Saratoga Springs.