The Tender Land
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A youthfully exuberant performance by this young theater troupe in a complete performance of Copland's neglected opera.

By the early 1950s, Aaron Copland had become a skilled composer of dramatic music for the stage and screen, with five ballets and seven film scores to his credit. In fact, Copland judged his film work to have been "excellent preparation for operatic writing. At the time I was composing for films, I believed that it was a new form of dramatic music, related to opera, ballet and theatre music, and that it should be explored for its own unique possibilities". Thus, all the elements were in place for Copland's consideration of a commission offered him by the League of Composers in 1952. They were seeking to follow up the enormous success of Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors on NBC Television Theatre during the 1951 Christmas holidays with another television opera, again to be produced and broadcast by NBC. When the opera was finished, NBC reneged on the production without offering any substantive reasons, and the completed opera, nearly two years in the making would have remained unperformed, had not the New York City Center Opera decided to present the premiere of this prominent composer's work. However, the cavernous space of City Center dwarfed the intimate television opera. The result was a lukewarm initial response from the critics and crowds. Basically the music was praised and the libretto was criticized. As the years passed, many realized that the scope of The Tender Land is perfect for smaller budgets and budding talents. Copland himself acknowledged that a college production is perhaps the most congenial atmosphere for this opera. How pleased we are to be able to present this wonderful recording by the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. Accompanied by the full orchestra, conducted by the fine American conductor, Kirk Trevor, it is marvelous.
Aaron Copland, composer
The Tender Land
Andrea Jones, Dawn Coon, Mary Hawkins, Benjamin Smolder, Judson Perry, Michael Turay, Shederick Whipple, Sherri Phelps, Eli Griggs, Charis Strange, Stacia Brock, Julia Gilreath, Lindsay Hathaway, Margaret Shelton, Tara Anderson, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, Kirk Trevor, conductor

Review to come.
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