The Mother of Us All

Manhattan School Of Music Opera Theater

Catalog #: TROY1486-87
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Format: Digital

Long overdue, this recording of Virgil Thomson's 1947 opera with libretto by Gertrude Stein by the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater, makes a major American opera available. The opera, commissioned by the Alice A. Ditson Fund, tells the story of Susan B. Anthony, but Stein's approach mixes real and fictional characters from different historical periods. Premiered at Columbia University, the opera impressed the distinguished audience and press, but neither of New York's major opera companies took on the work. Thomson's music, a continuation of his style of making text come alive through natural inflections and sparing instrumental supports, is suggestive of its American theme with fanfares, political songs, Salvation Army-style marches and parlor songs.


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
The Mother of Us All Virgil Thomson Noragh Devlin; Scott Russell; Alexander Frankel; Addison Hamilton; Carlton Moe; Manhattan Opera Orchestra; Steven Osgood, conductor


  • "Thomson's style can be compared to Charles Ives in his use of typical 'American' mu-sic: marches, folk songs, and hymn tunes. I find it a fascinating work–very enjoyable to listen to and offering many interesting possibilities for creative staging. "

    – American Record Guide

  • "A cast of twenty nine [Manhattan School of Music] students plus chorus, led with con-centration and suppleness by Steven Osgood, gives a rousing performance here, marked by clear projection of text, flexibility and fresh, promising vocal timbres."

    – Opera News

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