July 22, 2006 | Glimmerglass Festival
The Greater Good
Composer:Stephen Hartke
Librettist:Philip LittellStephen Hartke
Act I. In the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war, a group of largely well-off French citizens flee enemy-occupied Rouen in a stagecoach bound for Dieppe. The passengers are outraged to discover the well-known prostitute Boule de Suif in their midst, but ultimately befriend her when it turns out that she is the only one to have remembered to bring food for the journey. When the coach reaches the village of Tôtes, the travelers are detained without explanation by Prussian soldiers at the inn.

Act II. The travelers learn that the Prussian commandant will not let them continue on their way unless Boule sleeps with him. At first, the others support Boule in rejecting his demand, but soon their impatience leads them to play elaborate psychological games to make her give in. Eventually, she does, for "the greater good". In the final scene, the passengers re-embark, Boule joining them, worn and bedraggled from a hard night’s work. They snub her: a common whore. The coach rumbles on.

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Glimmerglass FestivalThe Greater Good7/7/2006 - 8/28/2006

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Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker: “Hartke seizes control with a subtle riot of sprung rhythms, colliding tunes, jazzy rave-ups, onomatopoeia, musical in-jokes, and, at the end, a delicately shattering anthem of despair. Hartke is celebrated for his

Original Cast
Caroline Worra, John David Dehaan, Jill Gardner, Christopher Burchett, Christine Abraham, Seth Keeton, Andrew Wntzel, Elaine Alvarez, Liam Moran, Jeanine Thames, Katherine Calcamuggio

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