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Hudson Area Library to Screen A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS Opera

Hudson Area Library to Screen A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS OperaThe opera A Thousand Splendid Suns is totally concerned with the political upheavals that have transformed Afghanistan over the past half-century. It is also the story of how the lives of women in that country have been transformed. And, yes, it features human drama. What else should one expect from an opera?

This Thursday, November 9th at 6pm, the Hudson Area Library will screen a performance of Act I - filmed last year in Key West. And, next Saturday, November 18th, Act II will be presented live in the Community Room at the Library at 1pm and again at 4. Both events are free. However, reservations are requested as there has been exceptional interest in this opera. It is scheduled to make its world debut at the Seattle Opera in 2020.

The cast has pretty good credentials, too. Included among the 7 singers are a 2010 grand finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a holder of an artist diploma from the Royal Conservatory, a Carnegie Hall performer under Leon Botstein, and a singer who spent a year "covering roles" at the Metropolitan Opera. The director, Leslie Swackhamer, has workshopped, directed or produced over 100 new works at theatre and opera companies across America. Conductor Sara Jobin, a Leonard Bernstein Music Scholar, will be leading 13 musicians for the Act II performances.

There is quite a bit of nail-biting involved in creating an opera, too. From initial discussion between the composer and the author (She wanted to do it. He didn't.) to the need for funding (American Opera Project wrote a substantial check to get started.) to the challenge of relating the story accurately (All Afghani women must be completely covered when they leave the house - not an easy way to sing.)

"That last requirement was one of our most difficult to overcome," said composer Sheila Silver. "Not only would it make the singers uncomfortable, the audience would have no way of identifying whether a stage character was the lead or an extra." Librettist Stephen Kitsakos had difficulties, too. "One challenge was dealing with the domestic violence," he said. "It's not something we want to show in much graphic detail - even though it is integral to the novel's plot and characters."

See how all this comes together when A Thousand Splendid Suns is presented at the Hudson Area Library. Composer Sheila Silver and Librettist Stephen Kitsakos will be present for the Act II performances. Call the Library to make reservations for either the screening this coming Thursday at 6, or to see the Act II workshops on Saturday, November 18th at 1pm or 4pm. 518.828.1792 x101. For more information, go to

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