April 8, 2016
The Big Bonanza
Composer:Monica Houghton
Librettist:Jon Christensen

Set in Virginia City, Nevada, at the time of the discovery of the legendary Comstock Lode, this ensemble piece brings to life an important chapter in the history of the American West with a libretto and score drawing upon actual writings and tunes of the times. The central character is a newspaper man and through his interactions with other characters on stage we are led to weigh in our own minds important facets of American life and character that remain relevant today. 

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
tuneful, yet contemporary

Vocal & Musical Forces


William Wright, alias Dan De Quille (bar.)

Caroline, his wife (s)

John Mackey (b)

Samuel Clemens, alias Mark Twain (t)

The Pickboy (t)

Julia Bulette (s)

Jean Millean (t)

Zhang (bari-tenor) 

ORCHESTRATION: 32 piece chamber orchestra, plus erhu and on-stage concertina

MUSICAL STYLE: tuneful, w/ expressive singing, colorfully orchestrated with imaginative use of percussion instruments

Original Cast

William Wright, alias Dan DeQuille - Christopher Langton; Caroline Wright - Anna Hart; John Mackay - Emmy Burroughs; Pickboy - Grayson LaBrie; Samuel Clemens, alias Mark Twain - Thomas Thompson; Julia Bulette - Julie Lenz; Jean Millean - Michael D. Jackson; Baker /Zhang - Nicholas Hummel; Butcher / Fireman1 / Sycophant 2 - Josh Tuaolo; Dry Goods Clerk /Miner 3 /Fireman 2 - Jose Segura; Stock Broker/ Sycophant 1/ Miner 1 /Father Manogue - Adam Faulkner; Miner 2 - Oscar Cordova; Drunken Prospector /Woman 2 /Curbstone Philosopher - Cami Cutler. The Spiritualist - Jenna Simms; Barmaid /Woman 1 - Ashton Whitley

Albert Rudolph Lee, Director Nevada Chamber Opera; Jason Altieri, Music Director, University Symphony Orchestra. 

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