The opera tells the story of a remarkable woman who was an ex-slave, and who spent most of her life in bondage in frontier Kentucky. During these years she had lost contact with her husband and children when they were sold to different owners. She obtained her freedom after the death of her owner in 1857 and traveled west in search of her missing family.
Clara arrived in Central City, CO, around 1860, already some 60 years old. She opened her own laundry business and with hard work and successful investments, Clara became wealthy, owning scores of properties and mining claims throughout Central City, Georgetown and Denver. She used her money to help dozens of beleaguered freedmen come to Colorado to start new lives. Surviving fires, flood and frauds, Clara continued her good works throughout the 1870’s, however, she searched in vain for her long-lost family.
In her later years, her health failing and impoverished from a lifetime of unflagging generosity, Clara moved to Denver and had to depend upon her many friends and admirers to provide for her. In a truly operatic denouement, the faith that sustained her through her entire life was finally, and gloriously, rewarded by a miraculous reunion with her daughter Eliza Jane.
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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)
very melodic; eclectic, using both ‘modern’ and post-romantic elements, along with some Gospel and Jazz influences.
Vocal & Musical Forces
Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, 2 Sopranos, Baritone; Chorus. Instrumentation: 2 Flutes (2nd doubles on Piccolo) 1 Oboe (doubles on E.H.) 2 Clarinets in B-flat (2nd doubles on Bass Clarinet) 1 Bassoon 2 Horns 2 Trumpets in B-flat 2 Trombones 2 Percussion (including Timpani) Harp Piano Strings
Lori Brown Mirabal as Clara Brown, Heidi Stober as Wife 1/Quilter 1, Angela Leson as Wife 2/Quilter 3, Jean Broekhuizen as Wife 3/Quilter 2, Carl Mees as Overseer, Jeremy Cady as Auctioneer/Miner 3/Tommy, KrisAnne Weiss as Evaline, Danielle Pastin Colonel as Lucinda, Raymond Diaz as Wadsworth, Sumayya Ali Colonel as Becky/ElizaJane, Chad Shelton as Chivington, Alfred Walker as Barney Ford, Michael Rice as John Evans, John WadeThomas as William Byers, Christina Carr as Jane Gordon, AnneMarie Sandy as Eliza Brooks