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'A Single Man' the Opera
based on the novel
by Christopher Isherwood

 

In March of 2023, Fulbright Scholar and composer Wojciech Stępień approached the Christopher Isherwood Foundation with his proposal for a new work—an adaptation of A Single Man for opera. After pairing with librettist Amanda Hollander, they received development support from the Isherwood Foundation and were granted the rights from Don Bachardy for an opera adaptation. As a team, they have been working steadily on the process of writing and developing the opera.

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Wojciech Stępień, Don Bachardy and Amanda Hollander in the Christopher Isherwood's studio in Santa Monica

The opera is planned as an 90-minute, one-act opera for six singers (baritone, soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) and one dancer covering the action of the novel, which is told from the perspective of George, an English professor in deep mourning for his partner Jim, who died unexpectedly in an accident. The story is set in 1960s southern California amid the increasingly hostile arms race. Meanwhile, George and others must negotiate the suspicion leveled at minority communities in Los Angeles and nationwide. Following Amanda’s completion of the libretto in summer 2023, Wojciech has been steadily composing the score. They anticipate having a full working draft by fall 2024.  

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Katherine Bucknell, Gregory Evans from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, Wojciech Stępień,
Peter Kazaras - director of the UCLA opera (the Huntington Library)

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