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Opera Las Vegas Presents the West Coast Premiere of Scalia/Ginsburg

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“We are different. We are one.”  So sing two unlikely friends and colleagues, Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Yes, that’s right. They “sing.”

Delightful surprises unfold as Opera Las Vegas proudly presents the West Coast premiere of composer-librettist Derrick Wang’s opera, Scalia/Ginsburg for four performances July 8, 9, 10, and 11 in the Thomas & Mack Moot Court of UNLV’s Boyd School of Law.

With his 70-minute Scalia/Ginsburg production, Wang triumphantly ushered in the era of Supreme Court-themed art, with an operatic comedy focusing on friendship in a divided world.  The spirited, often diametrically opposed philosophical disagreements of the two famed jurists are cleverly counterbalanced by their mutual passion for opera.

The one-act opera was first heard at the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC, before its world premiere at renowned conductor Lorina Maazel’s Castleton Festival in Virginia.  In 2017, the opera received a sold-out debut at the famed Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York, at which Justice Ginsburg attended as the guest of honor. Derrick Wang, the composer and librettist – who is also an attorney – pulled and tweaked the work after the passing of Justice Scalia, and last year, after the loss of Justice Ginsburg.

In early 2020, just before pandemic lock-down, the piece enjoyed a sold out run at Opera Naples.  Opera Las Vegas postponed their current production, not once but twice, but is now eagerly putting the finishing touches on a staging that will be the first in a courtroom setting. 

Opera Las Vegas welcomes back three favorite singers to bring the melodious debating and bantering to life.  Mezzo-soprano Mary Beth Nelson will return to the role of the notorious RBG, having already scored a resounding success at the prestigious Glimmerglass Festival.  She is fresh off being awarded at LA’s esteemed Zachary Vocal Competition and is well remembered for her thrilling assumption of the title role in OLV’s 2018 production of Cinderella.

As her opinionated sparring partner Scalia (or Nino, as Ruth affectionately calls him). Aldo Perrelli will bring his Italian American heritage and his sizable tenor to bear in an imposing characterization of a formidable personality.  Perrelli is popular locally thanks to his assured solo contributions to such diverse past programs as Bravo, Bernstein!, One Amazing Evening, and Our Three Tenors, among others.

LA-based baritone Gabriel Manro completes the cast as the Commentator, a glib and manipulative narrator who tests the two protagonists by pitting them against one another.  Manro, who comes back to Las Vegas from assignments at LA Opera, Valley Opera and Performing Arts, and Mission Opera, previously scored success with OLV as the mysterious, frolicsome Alidoro in Cinderella.

Valley Theatre Award-winner Marcus Weiss is the stage director and is considering some immersive moments for this site-specific venue.  Wang’s endlessly surprising script provides plenty of inspiration for Weiss, assisted in staging by Bonita Bunt, who twice directed OLV’s holiday presentations of Hansel and Gretel.  

Conductor Tim Warren is on the podium to lead a stellar septet of players through their paces in an orchestration specially devised by the composer.  Warren kicked off OLV’s Twentieth Anniversary Season in 2019, conducting the West Coast premiere of Sasha Matson’s Cooperstown – A Jazz Opera in Nine Innings.

Scalia/Ginsburg West Coast Premiere

July 8 and 9 at 7:30 pm; July 10 and 11 at 3:00 pm

UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law – Thomas & Mack Moot Court, 4505 South Maryland Pkwy

Owing to the limited seating, VIP Tickets, Including Artists Meet & Greet, now on sale at $125!  

General Admission Tickets at $75 Available from 18 June 2021.   

Remaining Tickets at $45 Available from 1 July 2021.Sign up for $10 Lottery Tickets, pending availability, drawn on 5 July.  See You in Court!

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