Treemonisha performance courtesy of Trilogy, An Opera Company, 2009
Words and music by Scott Joplin. Adapted, arranged, and orchestrated by T.J. Anderson.
Orchestration: T.J. Anderson
The first fully staged performance of the Scott Joplin opera was given on January 28, 1972 at Morehouse College, in a production staged by Katherine Dunham and conducted by Robert Shaw, with orchestrations by T.J. Anderson. This production received fine notices, and brought Treemonisha to international attention.
Conductor: Robert Shaw
Editors: T.J. Anderson & William Bolcom
Wendell Whalum, Chorus Director
Katherine Dunham, Stage Director
Premiere featured cast members: Alpha Floyd, Simon Estes, Seth McCoy, Louise Parker, Joseph Bias, the African-American Workshop of Morehouse College, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Score and parts available from American Composers Alliance; Recording of this performance with interviews available to NPR stations through satellite, 2000.
On January 30, 1972 The New York Times published a review by Harold C. Schonberg: “In writing 'Treemonisha' - the libretto was his own – Joplin clearly intended to author a social as well as musical document. He set up the forces of ignorance and superstition against liberalism and education represented by a young lady named Treemonisha.” “Morehouse College, aided by a Rockefeller grant, gave 'Treemonisha' an ambitious performance.
Thomas J. Anderson, a visiting professor at the college, orchestrated the opera in a style that follows the one example of Joplin's orchestration that has come down to us.” The opera concludes with 'A Real Slow Drag.' Schonberg writes: “This slow drag is amazing. Harmonically enchanting, full of the tensions of an entire race, rhythmically catching, it refuses to leave the mind. Talk about soul music!”
Scores/ rental parts available from ACA;
Vocal scores also available for purchase;
Overture inst: fl, ob, cl, bsn, hn, cornet, tbn, tba, drumset, piano, 5-part strings;
Full opera incl overture: fl/pic, ob, cl, bsn, hn, cornet/tpt in Bb, tbn, tba, drumset, piano, strings