2019 Calendar

Opera Saratoga

Ellen West - World Premiere

FridayJuly 127:30 PM


Program Notes

Music by Ricky Ian Gordon
Libretto & Poem by Frank Bidart

Commissioned by Opera Saratoga and
Beth Morrison Projects.

Sung in English with English Supertitles

Through the evocative poetry of Pulitzer Prize winner Frank Bidart and the beautiful music of Ricky Ian Gordon, explore the emotional, psychological and physical challenges of a woman struggling with perceptions of her body, her relationship with food, and the world closing in around her.

Inspired by one of the earliest cases of existential analysis, Ellen West is a remarkable new opera that brings the audience into the lives of psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger and his patient, “Ellen West.” Throughout her life, Ellen filled journals and wrote poetry. Frank Bidart’s poem, which serves as the primary source for the opera’s libretto, juxtaposes the clinical observations of Binswanger with fictitious entries of Ellen’s writing, which shine light on her deeply personal struggles. This tour-de-force chamber opera stars soprano Jennifer Zetlan in her Opera Saratoga debut as Ellen, alongside baritone Keith Phares as her doctor. The world premiere production is directed by Emma Griffin, also in her Opera Saratoga debut, with conductor Lydia Yankovskaya at the podium.

Audience Advisory

This production contains mature themes and is not recommended for young children.

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