Abigail Stone

Opera in Two Acts

1999

110 minutes

Libretto: Randall Shinn

3 sop, 2 mez, 1 ten, 2 bar
Orchestra: 2.2.2.2,4.2.3.1,perc,strings

[Not available for performance]

Composition Notes: When I began sketching the libretto for this opera, my first images were of Elias Stone, a fundamentalist preacher, whose intense religious convictions included vehement anti-theatrical prejudice. Elias had a daughter Abigail, who loved life’s pleasures, secretly went dancing, and longed to leave home. Abigail had a beautiful singing voice, and Elias loved having her sing for his congregation. But when she was offered a career in theater, Elias forbade her entering a career based on pretense and lies. She left home despite Elias's efforts to stop her.

The second act involved their efforts to reconcile many years later. In my first version of the libretto, when Abigail visited him, Elias was senile and had forgotten her. In a subsequent version, when Abigail returned, Elias became enraged during an argument about his perception of her immoral lifestyle. He killed her and then himself.

The music for that version was completed in 1999. While orchestrating the final scene I was offered a commission to write the opera Sara McKinnon. Wanting to work with playwright Mark Medoff, I put Abigail Stone on the back burner. Then came an opportunity to create Beautiful Princess Available for Rescue.

A few years later, looking again at Abigail Stone, I found myself unhappy with the plot. I felt the story lost focus, with too many subplots and minor characters spread over too many years. Someday I may rework the libretto and make it into a shorter opera.