November 6, 1976 | San Francisco Opera
Angle of Repose
Composer:Andrew Imbrie
Librettist:Oakley Hall
Place and Time: Grass Valley, California, the present; California, Colorado and Idaho, 1876 to 1890
A tale of the destructive anguish that inevitably consumes the unforgiven and the unforgiving. Historian Lyman Ward is suffering from a crippling disease, one his wife is unable to deal with; she deserts him. Retreating, he decides to write the history of his grandparents, hoping to find meaning in his life from studying theirs. His daughter Shelly ends an unsuccessful relationship and seeks solace with her father. Her mother soon expresses wishes to come home, but Lyman is unwilling to forgive her. Lyman begins to describe his book revealing the details of his grandmother's (a minor literary figure) and his grandfather's (an engineer) lives of unhappiness, betrayal, infidelity, abused loyalty, guilt, and tragic death. Throughout their marriage, the grandparents never grasped the compassion of forgiveness and its critical significance, thus destroying the possibility of a gracious life together. This realization makes Lyman acutely aware of his situation and anxious to make amends. He is reunited with his wife, with their daughter's blessing.

Title Information

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Number of Acts

Original Cast
Donna Petersen (Ada Hawkes)
Chester Ludgin (Lyman Ward)
Susanne Marsee (Shelly Ward)
Nancy Shade (Susan Burling Ward)
Dale Duesing (Oliver Ward)
John Davies (Miner)
James Hoback (Miner)
Wayne Turnage (Antonio)
Joshua Hecht (Dahl)
William Lewis (Frank Sargent)
James Johnson (Joaquin Miller)
D. Livingstone Tigner (Financier)
Robert Delany (Financier)
John Del Carlo (Financier)
Samuel Byrd (Billy Daley)
Eugene Lawrence (Guest)
Neil Cooper (Guest)
Kenneth Malucelli (Guest)
Claudia Heyneman (Agnes Ward)
Hardy John Crawford (Ollie Ward)
Edna Garabedian (Ellen Ward)

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