Anton Coppola, "Sacco and Vanzetti", opera. World Premiere Tampa Opera, March 16-18, 2001

VANZETTI, Bartolomeo (1888-1927)SACCO, Nicola (1891-1927)Music. OperaMusic. Musical creations

Based on music he wrote for a film his nephew Francis Ford Coppola had planned to make but never did.

Maestro Anton Coppola

"Composer/Librettist/Conductor Anton Coppola brings many years of experience to the podium. Throughout his career, he has conducted for many of the great opera companies in the United States and Canada, including the San Francisco Opera and New York City Opera. Included among his many outstanding professional achievements and contributions. Coppola conducted many Broadway musicals, recordings and film soundtracks, as well as the world premiere productions of Lizzie Borden, Deseret and Of Mice and Men. He served as conductor and opera consultant in his nephew Francis Ford Coppola’s film "Godfather III" and conducted the score for the Coppola film Dracula. Throughout his most impressive career, Coppola has composed numerous works, including a symphony, a violin concerto, chamber works, and film scores. For 15 years, Coppola served as Director of both the Symphony and the Opera Departments at the Manhattan School of Music. He holds a Master’s Degree in Composition and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Quinnipiac College (Connecticut)." (Artist’s statement)

"Completed by Coppola in 1999, Sacco and Vanzetti is a full-scale opera, comprised a prologue and 14 scenes in two acts, with both interior and exterior settings. The production will utilize a cast of 20 (including multiple roles and supernumeraries) and a chorus of 25. Running time is approximately three hours. <<...>>

Scored in a traditional musical style, the opera will utilize a full orchestra of 58 musicians as well as a 5 piece Italian "banda," or small band. The Center has engaged The Florida Orchestra for Sacco and Vanzetti. ... The musical score for Sacco and Vanzetti presents both lyrical and angular musical styles. The lyrical passages - in general, those sections written for the Italian characters - evocative of popular Italian music of the 1920s, as well as more modern, angular passages that are used for minor characters and narrative sections of the opera.

"Noted director Matthew Lata will stage Sacco and Vanzetti, and John Farrell will design the original sets for the production. Sacco and Vanzetti will be fully staged, with sets commissioned for the production. Adding to the excitement of this project is the appointment of legendary film director Francis Ford Coppola, the Maestro’s nephew, as artistic supervisor. Written in both English and Italian, the opera’s libretto reflects the different ethnic backgrounds, with each character singing in his or her native language. English supertitles will be projected above the stage for the entire opera. Sacco and Vanzetti recounts the story of two Italian immigrants who were tried, convicted and ultimately executed for a murder that, it is still widely believed, they did not commit. The case became the "cause celebre" for prominent figures of the time, including George Bernard Shaw, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Katherine Ann Porter, Maxwell Anderson and Felix Frankfurter, who believed that Sacco and Vanzetti were the innocent victims of a strongly biased and red-baiting judicial system. The famous case, with its socio-political implications has been considered "the murder trial of the century," reaching far into the corners of the world. To this end, the composer has interwoven a tender and compassionate story of love and sacrifice. The production will be mounted in Carol Morsani Hall, The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center’s largest theater, and a traditional concert/hall opera house, which seats 2,427 in opera configuration. The hall has a 60’ wide x 40’ high proscenium, a 60’ x 55’ stage, and 100’ grid height, which allows ample room for staging grand opera productions." (Press release)

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