The Butler School of Music of the University of Texas at Austin have announced the commission of Daniel Catán
's fifth opera. Meet John Doe
, based on the classic 1941 Frank Capra comic drama, will premiere at The University of Texas at Austin Butler Opera Center (BOC) in the 2012-13 season. The Butler School commissioned the work in dedication to Sarah and Ernest Butler for their long history of support to the school.
"Daniel is one of the most significant operatic composers today," said BOC director Robert DeSimone. "Presenting the world premiere of Meet John Doe
is an extraordinary project for the Butler Opera Center." Catán commented, "I am deeply honored to be writing an opera to celebrate Sarah and Ernest Butler. This will be one of the happiest events in my entire life. They've done so much for music and musicians that I am moved to write my very best work."
photo: Elizabeth Beristain
Marking a significant departure from the Latin themes of Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas
, Meet John Doe
focuses on American musical and theatrical ideas of the early 1940s. The libretto, based on the original screenplay by Richard Connell, Robert Presnell, and Robert Riskin, tells the story of a grassroots political campaign that is unwittingly started by a newspaper columnist and gains national recognition when a wealthy businessman gets behind it. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Story in 1942.
Catán will be in residence at the Butler School of Music in spring 2011 to complete the opera and workshop select scenes with the BOC. As part of the residency, Catán will also work with the Butler Opera Center on their upcoming production of his earlier opera La Hija de Rappaccini
. The BOC production marks the world premiere of Catán's new orchestration of the work. The original requires a large orchestra; Catán's new scoring uses only two pianos, harp, and percussion.