Greenport, New York
Body/Soul | Local culture | Soft news
22 September 2017 05:25PM
Betsy Miller


HUDSON – On Thursday, September 28th at 6pm learn how an opera is created. The Hudson Area Library is presenting composer Sheila Silver and librettist Stephen Kitsakos in “A Thousand Splendid Suns: Turning a Novel into an Opera Libretto.” It is a backstage, nuts and bolts look at how all the pieces come together. And it’s free.

Enjoying opera puts a fan in pretty rarified company. Most Americans have had little exposure to the genre. And, let’s face it, when was the last time anything by Puccini hit the Top 40?

On the other hand, the vast majority of Americans are book readers. Witness the success of Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner”, a smash hit in 2003 when it was published. More than 7 million copies were sold in this country and the author instantly gained a worldwide following. His next novel, “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, had equal success with more than 30 million copies sold world-wide. That means familiarity with the characters and plot is a commonality that crosses multiple demographics – a fancy way of saying everyone knows the story.

So how does a composer, tucked away in Spencertown, decide to pursue that storyline as the basis for an opera? And, how does that same composer end up in India, studying Hindustani music in order to add authenticity to the score?

Then there are the challenges of the librettist. The story includes religion, hatred, brutality, war and hope. What words does one choose? What stories remain intact while others are discarded for the sake of time or clarity?

The event is one of several being held in advance of the workshop presentation of “A Thousand Splendid Suns” – Act II on Saturday, November 18th at 1pm and 4pm – complete with 6 singers and 7 musicians.

Also scheduled are a Humanities NY Reading & Discussion Series: Muslim Journeys with Karuna Foudriat (already filled), a Book Group discussion of the novel (November 8th, 4pm) and the screening of Act I – performed as a workshop last year at Trinity Church in Manhattan (November 9th, 6pm).

All events are free to the public but, due to the level of interest in this series, reservations are requested. Contact brenda.shufelt@hudsonarealibrary.org or call (518) 828.1792 x101 during library hours. The Library website also has information at http://www.HudsonAreaLibrary.org.

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