MEET THE LIBRETTIST / STORYTELLER...
DON MORELAND: the man who writes the words

BORIS' STORY BORIS' ARTISTES A SLIDESHOW MUSICMAKER STORYTELLER HOW IT BEGAN
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" To this day...reading a libretto is a special delight."

For Donald Moreland, the music wasn't always there. Unlike his friend Myron Fink, he came to classical music a bit later in his youth. In fact, he vividly remembers the precise moment when he discovered opera -

I did not discover classical music and particularly opera until a much later age, 14 to be exact. As a student at Concordia College in Milwaukee, a prep school for Lutheran ministers, I turned on the radio one Saturday afternoon and heard, to my intense pleasure and astonishment, singers singing in a language I did not understand and singing with beauty and powerful emotions. What were they saying? Why were they saying it - or rather, - singing it? Who were they? What was the story? I had to know.

This was, of course a Saturday broadcast from the Metropolitan opera and the beginning of my fascination with a story that is sung, not merely told, with human feelings, expressed and enlarged through music. It was a heady experience and still is.

I rushed to the library. I discovered the libretto, the actual written words -
Carmen, Rigoletto, La Boheme - like small plays I could read quickly. The who, the what, the why... all became clear. I had found the key that unlocked the drama.

After 7 well-spent years in the Lutheran seminary, Don Moreland found his true calling. He entered the University of Illinois as a music student. There, in 1954, he met Myron Fink when he sang one of the lead parts in The Boor, Myron's first opera based on a Chekov short story. Their professional lives were linked from then on, though treading somewhat different paths. While Myron followed the music, Don went after the story... and the drama, graduating from the Yale School of Drama a few years later. In 1960 he went to Germany on a Fulbright opera grant to collaborate with the famed composer Paul Hindemith on the American premier of his comic opera, News of the Day (Neues vom Tage). And when it premiered in 1961, he was commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera of New Mexico to stage it. He has also directed Verdi's Macbeth and Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Primarily a man of the theater, Moreland has produced and directed stage plays. His works include the off-Broadway play The Chronicles of Bohikee Creek with James Earl Jones and the late Moses Gunn, The Tenth Man and Room Service with Jane Alexander, both at the Arena Stage in Washington DC.

His collaboration with Myron Fink over the years as librettist - storyteller or playwright of the opera if you will - has produced the biblical story-based Judith and Holofernes, Chinchilla, Fink's fifth opera set in 1920s Manhattan, The Conquistador and Animalopera. They have just completed a new opera based on the life of the famous novelist, Edith Wharton.


See a VIDEO of Don and Myron in conversation about the music and language of ANIMALOPERA.

BORIS' STORY BORIS' ARTISTES A SLIDESHOW MUSICMAKER STORYTELLER HOW IT BEGAN
KIDS' KORNER QUIZ ENHANCED CD OUTREACH PRODUCE THE OPERA TEACHING GUIDE
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