After Life & Josephine Synopses


Opera Colorado’s double-bill of Tom Cipullo’s After Life & Josephine runs February 23–March 1, 2019. Tickets are sold out. For more information, including a wait list for tickets, click here.

To read a program note written by composer Tom Cipullo, click here.

After Life

Gertrude Stein mezzo-soprano
Pablo Picasso baritone
Girl (teen, a victim of the Holocaust) soprano

Act I

After Life imagines a post-mortem reunion of Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein. Stein believes her beloved, Alice B. Toklas, has conjured her back to life, while Picasso wonders which of his many lovers has called him up from the abyss. When both realize, to their disappointment, that their great loves are not present, the two towering figures discuss their lives, their complex relationship, and their activities during the Second World War. Their outsized egos clash, resentment between them boils over, and as they confront each other, a third voice rises from the darkness. A young girl, a victim of the Holocaust, appears, and it is her questioning that has brought Stein and Picasso back from the dead. Why did she die while they lived on? Can the two artists, whose work endures, ever know death as she does? Who will remember her, when she barely remembers herself?


Josephine Baker soprano

Act I

It is April 1975, and Josephine Baker is preparing for her last, and most spectacular, comeback. In her dressing room, she muses on sex, race, war, the stage, her countless affairs, her experiences in pre-war Paris, and her deux amours.

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