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Composer:William Bolcom
Librettist:Arnold WeinsteinRobert Altman
Through a series of flashbacks and action in the present, the story reveals that McTeague, a slow-witted giant of a man, is an unlicensed dentist in San Francisco. He is asked to fix Trina Sieppe's broken tooth. She is given ether and McTeague, overcome by her beauty, kisses her. McTeague eventually marries Trina Sieppe, the sweetheart and cousin of his best friend, Marcus Schouler. Marcus accepts this marriage with good grace until he learns that Trina has just won $5,000 in gold on a lottery ticket. Furious at losing what might have been his, Marcus maliciously exposes McTeague to the authorities, telling them that McTeague practices dentistry without a license. Once his dentist parlor is forced to close, McTeague and Trina sink into more desperate circumstances. McTeague comes home to find that Trina has sold everything of value to a new dentist, lies about how much she got for it, and refuses to dip into her lottery winnings to help. Trina has also seemed to have developed a sexual obsession with her gold pieces. Drunk and enraged, McTeague murders Trina, takes the gold, and flees into Death Valley with Marcus in pursuit. In the desert, McTeague eventually runs out of water. Marcus finds him and tries to arrest him. During a struggle with Marcus, a gun goes off and pierces Marcus's canteen, spilling the last of the water. Marcus manages to handcuff himself to McTeague before McTeague kills him. Unable to travel, McTeague is left to die slowly under the desert sun.

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Lyric Opera of ChicagoMcTeague10/3/1992 - 11/23/1992

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Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1990
Opera for the Eighties and Beyond 1988

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
Tonally accessible, with vocal lyricism and some biting dissonances; colorful orchestration; ragtime and blues elements, with period hall tunes; arias, duets, and ensembles throughout. A mixture of musical theater and opera which shows off Bolcom's t

Vocal & Musical Forces
Three flutes (piccolo, alto flute), 3 oboes (English horn), 3 clarinets (bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets (flugelhorn), 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, 3 percussion, 2 timpani, harp, Kurzweil piano sampler (only), strings; small chorus (SATB); treble part, soprano, 2 mezzos, 4 tenors, 2 baritones, bass-baritone, 3 basses

Original Cast
McTeague: Ben Heppner
Trina Sieppe: Catherine Malfitano
Marcus Schouler: Timothy Nolen
Maria Macapa: Emily Golden
Sheriff: Patrick Denniston
Papa Sieppe: William F. Walker
Mama Sieppe: Martha Jane Howe
Owgooste: John Capone
Lottery Agent/Health Inspector: Wilbur Pauley
Dentist: Victor Benedetti

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