September 11, 1998
The Black Swan
Composer:Thomas Whitman
Librettist:Nathalie Anderson
Setting: 1922, Düsseldorf, Germany.
The widow Rosalie von Tummler lives placidly with her daughter Anna, an abstract painter. Hoping to kindle romance for Anna, Rosalie hires a young American, Ken Keaton, as an English tutor. Rosalie, herself, falls in love with Ken. At first, she is horrified by her own desire, but as she gradually gives herself over to love, she begins to grow radiant, more youthful. After an outing to see the famous swans at Holterhof Castle, Rosalie discovers the true explanation for her apparent rejuvenation--paradoxically, an advanced cancer has mimicked renewed youth. In the final scene, Rosalie, though weak from illness, comforts her daughter with a vision of perennial natural vitality. Anna leads Ken to see Rosalie when she is still beautiful, youthful, desirable, desiring.

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
Lush; lyrical; coloristic; influenced by Debussy, Mahler, Berg, Britten, and Crumb

Vocal & Musical Forces
Singers: soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone. Orchestra: 4 woodwinds, 2 brass, 2 percussion, harp, pianoforte, 5 strings.

Original Cast
Tamara Matthews (Anna)
Freda Herseth (Rosalie)
David Kravitz (Ken)

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