Opera at USC’s free performances of Armida are April 12 and 14
In addition to two fully staged operas with orchestra each year, Opera at USC directed by Ellen Douglas Schlaefer, presents free one-act operas with piano accompanist in the UofSC School of Music Recital Hall (813 Assembly St.). The Lanny and Sidney Palmer One Act Series presents the North American premiere of Armida on Friday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, April 15 at 3:00 p.m.
Armida, by Judith Weir, is a contemporary love story that follows the passionate development of the relationship between two characters set in a modern war zone. Rinaldo is an army officer conflicted about his love for peace and his duty as a soldier. Armida, a high-powered television journalist, is equally conflicted by her profession as a war reporter in her occupied country. She enters the army camp to interview a soldier; she spirits him away and they start to fall in love. His fellow soldiers want him to return, but Rinaldo no longer has an appetite for combat. In the end, love triumphs. The war ends and Rinaldo and his comrades start growing flowers and vegetables in the desert. Armida's employer, Metropolis News, decides to stop covering wars and specialize in gardening shows.
Judith Weir (1954-) was born into a Scottish family but grew up near London. She began her musical training as an oboe player with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain while studying composition. She continued her training at Cambridge University before spending a summer at Tanglewood. Weir then decided to teach in England before moving to positions at Scotland’s Glasgow University and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. While teaching, she began to compose opera, drawing on sources from medieval history and the traditional stories and music of Scotland. She has worked as resident composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, and under commission with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra and London Sinfonietta. Weir has received many honors for her compositions, including the Critics’ Circle, South Bank Show, Elise L. Stoeger and Ivor Novello awards, The Lincoln Center's Stoeger Prize, CBE, The Queen’s Medal for Music and The Master of The Queen’s Music. Judith Weir resides in London, England.
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