The Wall Street Journal praised the Pittsburgh Opera’s February premiere of Christopher Cerrone’s In a Grove as “alluring and dramatically hypnotic.” With a libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann, based on the short story by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, the opera is set in 1921 in a ghost forest in the Oregon mountains. Seven witnesses—some of them suspects—provide testimony about events that transpired in a mountain grove, where an aspiring botanist goes missing and her new husband, a schoolteacher, appears to have been murdered. But all is not as it seems, and each new revelation in this suspenseful tale draws the audience deeper into an examination of the subjective nature of truth and the human experience. Each performance of In a Grove is paired with François Sarhan’s Hands, a set of short musical-theatrical works exploring how hands represent our various roles in society.
Joachim Schamberger, director; Alan Pierson, conductor; members of the Contemporary Music Ensemble; Christopher Cerrone, guest composer