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Harvey Milk
Composer:Stewart Wallace
Librettist:Michael Korie
Act I: The Closet: Dianne Feinstein, President of the Board of Supervisors, announces the murder of Milk and Mayor George Moscone, identifying Dan White as the suspect. Young Harvey, standing at the old Metropolitan Opera, wonders about the "men without wives" and follows them, after the opera, to Central Park. There he is arrested and handcuffed. The boy transforms into Milk later in life as a 39-year old Wall Street stockbroker, still handcuffed, representing his repressed sexual identity. Scott Jones, a street activist and Milk's lover, ridicules Harvey's fears and dares him to confront his identity. The act ends as Harvey snaps free of his handcuffs, embracing his identity. Act II: The Castro: Dan White, a fireman, laments the transformation of his old, Irish neighborhood into the Castro, San Francisco's openly gay ghetto. Milk is now an activist for gay and minority rights. He runs for office and loses. Outside on the street, a gay man is beaten to death. Dan White is elected to the Board of Supervisors, condemning the gay community. Harvey Milk, in retaliation, is elected to the Board of Supervisors on the platform of hope and faith in the power of every individual to affect change. Act III: City Hall: Milk and White clash over neighborhood issues. White votes against Milk's gay rights ordinance and resigns in fury. White, backed by a group of downtown real estate interests, tries to regain his position. Milk convinces the Mayor not to reinstate White. White plots his revenge. The opera ends with a candlelight vigil representing the silent parade down Market Street the night of the killings.

Click company name to view productions details.
Opera Theatre of Saint LouisHarvey Milk6/11/2022 - 6/25/2022
San Francisco OperaHarvey Milk11/11/1996 - 11/29/1996
New York City OperaHarvey Milk4/1/1995 - 4/21/1995
Houston Grand OperaHarvey Milk1/1/1995 - 2/1/1995

OPERA America/Opera.ca Grants Awarded
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Opera for a New America 1994

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
Tonal; chromatic, with occasional full atonality; post-minimalist repetition; popular music influences; some musical quotations; broad vocal lines

Vocal & Musical Forces
principal roles: Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones, Bass, Male Soprano; Full orchestra; Chorus

Original Cast
Original Cast: Harvey Milk, Robert Orth; Dan White/Man in Trenchcoat/Cop, Raymond Very; George Moscone/Horst Brauer/The Teamster, Gidon Saks; Scott/Closet Lover, Bradley Williams; Dianne Feinstein/Mama, Juliana Gondek; Messenger/Mintz/Empress/Reverend Barcus, James Maddalena; Anne Kronenberg/The Beard, Jill Grove; Henry Wong/Closet Lover, Randall Wong; Young Harvey, Matthew Cavenaugh

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