Civil War Opera given First Production
Mark Twain and the General - one-act opera about Mark Twain, Ulysses S. Grant and Julia Grant, Music composed by Robert W. Butts to a libretto by Jewel Seehaus-Fisher. Given its first production by Eastern Opera of New Jersey. May 31 at 8:00 PM and June 1 at 3:00 PM. Brook Arts Center, 10 Hamilton Street, Bound Brook, New Jersey. For tickets: www.easternopera.org
Dr. Butts composed the music and first performed the 40 minute opera at NJIT in semi-concert form in March 2013. The opera explores the emotionally wrenching moments as General Grant, suffering from cancer and his failing financial situation is trying to write his book on The Civil War. Julia, his wife, expressed her hatred of the violence and human loss of war and her fears that writing the book will hasten Ulysses's death. Mark Twain, himself a deserter from the war, appears with a solution that enables Grant to complete his book which has been hailed as an American literary masterpiece.
The production stars Don Sheasley as Ulysses S. Grant, Karole Lewis as Julia Grant, Brian Jamieson as Mark Twain and Ira Barth as The cook.