Review: “Scalia/Ginsburg” opera debuts at Castleton Festival

Posted on: July 14, 2015

In Monday’s (7/13) Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed writes that “it makes sense” that Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia should “have their own buddy opera. Derrick Wang’s ‘Scalia/Ginsburg’ had its premiere Saturday at the Castleton Festival, begun by conductor Lorin Maazel on his Virginia farm 70 miles west of Washington, D.C. The affectionate, hour-long one-act comic opera shared a double bill with Ravel’s ‘L’heure Espagnole,’ and it was streamed live…. An ambitious young composer who holds law and music degrees, [Wang] wrote a funny, sentimental rhymed libretto with hundreds of footnotes citing legal and operatic precedents and showed it to Scalia and Ginsburg. They’ve attended Washington National Opera together for more than two decades and have even performed together onstage with the company as supernumeraries…. The score is a jokey pastiche of famous bits from popular operas…. The opera opens with Scalia carrying on in a clever Handelian rage aria.… As in Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute,’ Scalia is made to undergo three trials. But Ginsburg … insists on going through the trials with him…. Could we please make it a constitutional requirement that no one can be sworn into office in the White House or Congress without having first seen ‘Scalia/Ginsburg’?”

Posted July 14, 2015