The Glenn Korff School of Music is premiering a new opera, “The Gambler’s Son,” by composer Tyler Goodrich White and librettist Laura White, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 and 3 p.m. Nov. 17 in Kimball Recital Hall.
The opera is adapted from Mari Sandoz’s 1960 novel, “Son of the Gamblin’ Man,” which tells the story of the gambler and townsite promoter who founded Cozad, Nebraska, and of his family, particularly his young son, who became the world-famous artist and teacher known as Robert Henri.
William Shomos, the Richard H. Larson Distinguished Professor of Voice and Director of Opera, said he was on board from the get-go to produce the opera from White, who also composed the opera “O Pioneers!” based on Willa Cather’s novel, which premiered at the university in 1999.
“I’ve been given the gift of a lifetime, and I feel the responsibility to be the best possible steward of that gift,” Shomos said. “My goal, simply stated, is to create the most beautiful stage realization of Tyler and Laura’s opera that I can. Nebraska has become our home these past 25 years. I think of this production as something of a thank-you to the state, presented with deepest gratitude for the life my family and I have enjoyed here.”
Shomos said the story is especially suited for opera.
“The subject matter of John J. Cozad’s past, even though true, feels so much larger than life,” he said. “There’s Wild West violence, danger, betrayal, and risk… all on a grand scale. Cozad was this enormous personality, with an enormous vision for what could become of the 100th Meridian in Western Nebraska. And yet, there is also an intimate focus on the uneasy relationship between a son and his father, which speaks to us on the most personal of levels.”
Tickets are $20 general and $10 students/seniors, and are available at the door or in advance at the Lied Center Box Office at (402) 472-4747 or online.
“The Gambler’s Son” was created with the generous support of Jane Rohman, the family of Willard Bellamy, the family of Ivan and Shirley Paulsen, the Lincoln Community Foundation, the UNL Friends of Opera and the Wilson Foundation.