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Desert of Roses
Composer:Robert Moran
Librettist:Michael John LaChiusa
Set just after the American Civil War, an army officer is transformed into a monster through guilt because of all of the destruction he has caused. He is cursed to live in a prison of thorny roses that spring out of the desert. A man is invited by an invisible host to stay the night. In the morning he picks a rose for his daughter. The host (the Monster) threatens him with death unless the daughter comes to live with him. To save her father, the daughter goes to the garden. The lives and emotions of the Monster and the Girl begin to intertwine, but she cannot bring herself to love him. Upon returning home, her greedy sisters steal the ring the Monster has given her. She returns to the Monster, realizing the inward nature of love and beauty. With her love, the Monster is redeemed.

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Encompass New Opera TheatreDesert of Roses4/2/1994 - 4/23/1994
Houston Grand OperaDesert of Roses2/1/1992 - 2/29/1992

OPERA America/Opera.ca Grants Awarded
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Opera for a New America 1991

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
Tonal chamber opera with small ensemble numbers, trios, quintets, and arias; minimalism; lyrical vocal lines

Vocal & Musical Forces
Eighteen-member orchestra (with synthesizers, percussion and strings); chorus

Original Cast
Original cast: The Girl, Jayne West; The Monster, John Stephens; The Woman, Stella Zambalis; The Sisters, Heidi Jones and Patricia Johnson; The Brother, Eric Perkins; The Father, Kelly Anderson

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