OC Archives: Laura Claycomb in The Scarlet Letter (2016)
By: Suzanne Whitney
Thoughts of The Scarlet Letter may bring back the horror or delight of high school English class for many, but here at Opera Colorado, they recall a sense of pride connected with a world premiere. Five years ago this month, we presented the world premiere of Lori Laitman and David Mason’s opera The Scarlet Letter.
Joanne Sydney Lessner from Opera News reflected, “Lori Laitman’s score succeeds with a surging, sweeping, unapologetically tonal landscape that offers carefully etched character portraits, rapturous choral expostulations and lush orchestrations of insistently tuneful melodic motifs. David Mason’s gently rhyming libretto telescopes the plot, and the reflective moments are earned and don’t overstay their welcomes.”
The story of Hester Prynne and her iconic red A for adultery has been retold in many ways, but one universal feature is Hester’s stoic resolve. She bears the censure of her society alone, while the father of her daughter, minister Arthur Dimmesdale, remains unnamed and unharmed for years.
In this aria “Beyond All Price,” Hester (soprano Laura Claycomb) is in jail with her infant daughter, Pearl. Despite her hopeless situation, she is overwhelmed, not by despair, but with love for her child. Hester croons a lullaby, vowing to love, nurture, and protect her despite all that may come. Laura Claycomb’s silvery soprano voice agilely skates through her highest registers, revealing Hester’s purity of heart and dedication to her child.
Conducted by: Ari Pelto
Stage directed by: Beth Greenberg
Videography by: Brad Stabio
Image: Opera Colorado/Matthew Staver
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