Music by Conrad Cummings
Libretto from the novel in verse by Vikram Seth, adapted by the composer
About the Work Creators Video/Audio Gallery Press Performances


"...clear, appealing score... lithe melodic lines that flow and entwine in the manner of Monteverdi. . . intensity more often encountered in Stephen Sondheim’s musicals..." – The New York Times

Five twenty-somethings experience love, life, and loss in the magical and innocent San Francisco of the early 1980’s. John, handsome and successful, discovers too late the price of his emotional detachment. He meets Liz through a personals ad placed by his former college girlfriend Jan, a sculptor and punk rock drummer. Phil, John’s best friend from college, reeling from a divorce which has left him the single parent of a six-year-old, begins a passionate relationship with Ed, Liz’s younger brother. Couples come apart, new couples form, families are created, friendships are severed. A tragic death leads John, always the outsider, to the promise of a deeper connection and a warmer life.

"Vikram Seth's best-selling novel-in-verse awakens the vivid memories I have of my home town and reminds me acutely of the romantic adventures of my younger life. Boys with girls, boys with boys, it's all there, along with the exhilaration and the heartbreak. Seth's verse makes these experiences sing; I've tried to capture in music their unique mixture of pathos and humor." - Conrad Cummings

Liz: Soprano / Jan: Mezzo / Ed: Tenor
John: Baritone / Phil: Bass / Paul: Speaking role for a child actor

2 keyboardists on piano, synthesizer, and celeste
2 percussionists on marimba, vibraphone, percussion, and drumset
1 guitarist on acoustic and electric guitars
violins (2) / viola / cello / bass
flute / oboe / clarinet / bassoon / trumpet / horn

two hours including one fifteen-minute intermission

Additional info:

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A versatile composer on the faculty at The Juilliard School Evening Division, Conrad Cummings has received the following praise from the NYTimes: "Mr. Cummings is his own man;...[with an] impressive ability to change styles...while retaining a compositional image." His works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, and by the New Jersey, Indianapolis, and Louisville Orchestras. Commissions include Canadian Brass, Opera Delaware, and San Francisco Opera Center. His ensemble of amplified instruments and voices appears frequently at alternative clubs and performance spaces. The Golden Gate is his fifth opera.

A full-evening version of Positions 1956, a self-help opera in three parts with libretto by Michael Korie, commissioned by the new Washington DC-area opera company UrbanArias, received its premiere in April 2012. Additional operas include Eros and Psyche, libretto by the composer; Photo-Op, libretto by James Siena; and Tonkin, libretto by the composer with Thomas Bird. Recordings are available on CRI’s Emergency Music label; honors include MacDowell, Djerassi and Tanglewood fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Opera America, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

(author, The Golden Gate)
Best-selling author Vikram Seth was born in 1952 in Calcutta, India, educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Stanford University and Nanjing University, and has traveled widely and lived in Britain, California, India and China. His first novel, The Golden Gate: A Novel in Verse (1986), describing the experiences of a group of friends living in California, gained international attention and extraordinary sales. His acclaimed epic of Indian life, A Suitable Boy (1993), won the WH Smith Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize and sold over two million copies. An Equal Music (1999), the story of a violinist haunted by the memory of a former lover, has been translated and published in sixteen languages. Vikram Seth is also the author of a travel book, From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983), an account of a journey through Tibet, China and Nepal that won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and a libretto, Arion and the Dolphin: A Libretto (1994), which was performed at the English National Opera in June 1994, with music by Alec Roth. His poetry includes Mappings (1980), The Humble Administrator's Garden (1985), winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia), and All You Who Sleep Tonight: Poems (1990). His children's book, Beastly Tales from Here and There (1992), consists of ten stories about animals told in verse. Vikram Seth's Two Lives, a memoir of the marriage of his great uncle and aunt, appeared in 2005. Recently announced, A Suitable Girl is the much-awaited sequel to A Suitable Boy, scheduled for release in 2013.

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Opera profile: "Q&A: Golden Gate composer Conrad Cummings"

January 18, 2010 - THE NEW YORK TIMES
Opera review: Workshop of The Golden Gate

January 18, 2010 - MUSICAL AMERICA
Opera review: Workshop of The Golden Gate

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January 16 and 17, 2010
Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Studio, NYC
Staged Workshop of opera in partnership with LivelyWorks
Performances by: David Adam Moore, Keith Jameson, Hai-Ting Chinn, Kevin Burdette, Katrina Thurman
Music Direction: Steven Osgood; Stage Direction: John Henry Davis

January 19 and 20, 2008
South Oxford Space & Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Studio
Piano/Vocal Workshop of ACT I
Performances by: Joshua Bouchard, Grant Clarke, Jessica Miller, Daniel Neer, and Caroline Worra
Music Direction: Steven Osgood; Piano: Charity Wicks

March 18, 2007
New American Opera Previews: From Page to Stage
Manhattan School of Music - Greenfield Hall, New York, New York 10027
Staged workshop of scenes w/ panel discussion
Presented in association with Opera Index and the Manhattan School of Music Department of Opera Studies
Midge Woolsey, panel moderater

September 22 and 23, 2006
Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes
South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217
Concert reading of Act I, Scene 1
Performances by: Caroline Worra (Liz), Stephanie Woodling (Jan), Michael Zegarski (John), Matthew Curran (Phil).
Music Direction: Steven Osgood; Conductor: Jennifer Peterson



May 30, 2013
From Lyric Novel to Lyric Stage: The Golden Gate
Bing Concert Hall Studio, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305
(Pre-recorded) Performances by: soprano Katrina Thurman, mezzo Hai-Ting Chinn, tenor Keith Jameson, baritone David Adam Moore, and bass Justin Hopkins
Music Direction: Steven Osgood

November 18, 2011
Reading and recording with full orchestra and cast of thirty minutes of excerpts
Merkin Concert Hall, New York City
Performances by: soprano Katrina Thurman, mezzo Hai-Ting Chinn, tenor Keith Jameson, baritone David Adam Moore, and bass Justin Hopkins
Music Direction: Steven Osgood

November 16, 2011
Opera America's Salon Series presents excerpts from The Golden Gate
Performances by: soprano Katrina Thurman, mezzo Hai-Ting Chinn, tenor Keith Jameson, baritone David Adam Moore, and bass Justin Hopkins
Music Direction: Steven Osgood; Piano: Charity Wicks

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