About this work:
Emma is a two-act opera based on the play with the same name by Howard Zinn (revised in 1987) about the American Anarchist Emma Goldman (1869-1940). The narrative of the opera is woven from relationships and events in Goldman's autobiography Living My Life. It is at once a story of a passionately-driven social and political reformer, and the story of a woman torn between her feminist ideals and her vulnerability in matters of love.
The action of the opera begins 1887 when Emma is an 18-year-old factory worker in Rochester and ends in 1917 when, at age 48, she is about to be exiled to Russia.
The music is mainly tonal with a musical color that often evokes the Yiddish theatre of the early 20th century.
Principals: Emma Goldman, mezzo-soprano; Alexander Berkman, baritone; Fedya (Modest Stein), tenor; Johann Most, tenor; Ben Reitman, baritone; Anna Minkin, soprano; Vito, bass-baritone.
Additional characters: Jenny, Rose, Dora (factory workers) Vogel (factory foreman); J. Edgar Hoover, Henry Clay Frick; Thomas Gregory; Newspaper reporter, Receptionist; a chorus of workers, strikers, and police.
Instrumentation: clarinet, trumpet, piano, violin, cello, and percussion.
The music for this opera is available through the Emma Goldman Papers at the University of California, Berkeley.
Year composed: 2005
Ensemble type: Opera/Theater:Opera, More than One Act, with Chorus
Instrumentation: 1 Clarinet, 1 Trumpet, 1 Percussion (General), 1 Piano, 1 Violin, 1 Cello, ,3 Soprano soloist(s), ,2 Mezzo-Soprano soloist(s), ,2 Tenor soloist(s), ,1 Baritone soloist(s), ,1 Bass-Baritone soloist(s), ,8 Unspecified choral part(s) soloist(s)