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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Emmeline, by Tobias Picker


Tulsa Opera / Tulsa / Music

Think Oedipus Rex in Carousel country, minus the Sphinx, with the focus on the mother. An underage mill worker gets pregnant by the boss’s son-in-law, gives up the baby not knowing even whether it’s a boy or a girl, and withdraws into decades of inconspicuous spinsterhood. Enter a young stranger who asks for her hand. A sad, sad slice of Gothic Americana, Emmeline made a splash at Santa Fe in 1996 for its sure pulse of story and music that sings. Yet despite a PBS telecast and a New York City Opera premiere soon after, revivals have been few. As artistic director of the Tulsa Opera since 2016, the composer has carte blanche to promote his own oeuvre, and in the circumstances, who can blame him? —M.G.

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