Robin Hood
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Robin Hood is referred to as the first great American light opera.

James Stuart, the person in charge of preparing the new performance edition of Robin Hood writes: "The Ohio Light Opera production of Robin Hood brings my world of operetta full circle. As a lad a few years into his teens, I attended a performance of this work given by Louisiana State University. I had caught the opera bug a few years earlier when the boys' choir in which I sang was chosen to appear as acolytes in the Te Deum scene of LSU's Tosca. At that time, I didn't distinguish a difference between opera and operetta to me they both meant orchestra, singers, sets and costumes. I soon learned that although the ingredients were the same, there are distinctions. There are patronizing persons who equate lightness of style and subject with lightness of quality. This, of course, is not accurate. The finest operettas may be of vastly superior musical quality to grand operas produced by more minor composers. To my mind, this is the case with Reginald De Koven's Robin Hood, generally referred to as the first great American light opera. But is it American? Although De Koven was born and died in this country, most of his formative years were lived in England and Europe. Born in Middletown, Connecticut on April 3, 1859, he moved to England with his family at the age of 11. He studied with among others, Franz von Suppe in Vienna and Leo Delibes in Paris. De Koven felt that light opera needed "to be as well sung in its way as grand opera," and composed for his singers in that manner. When Robin Hood was first presented critics generally wrote of "reminiscences of Sullivan and Offenbach." Like Sullivan, he wanted to write a grand opera. It is said that Sir Arthur Sullivan remarked with disenchantment while attending a performance of his own opera Ivanhoe. "...a cobbler should stick to his last." And so with De Koven. Richard Aldrich, theatrical producer and husband of Gertrude Lawrence wrote in The New York Times (March 11, 1917): "Such popularity as Robin Hood has had is not given to many comic operas to win and to keep so long."
Reginald DeKoven, composer
Robin Hood
Cast, Chorus & Orchestra of Ohio Light Opera, J. Lynn Thompson, conductor

Review to come.
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