Minnesota Opera commissions Joel Puckett


One of the most notorious scandals in American history comes to life in this world premiere opera by celebrated composer Joel Puckett. The 1919 Chicago White Sox were arguably the best team in the history of the game–they were also the most poorly paid, always at odds with their penny-pinching owner. Resentment, revenge, and ambition gone awry were the motivating factors that led eight players to conspire with gamblers and throw the World Series to the Cincinnatti Reds. Rich with characters such as Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ring Lardner, and Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, The Black Sox Scandal is a tragic tale of mythic proportions, ripe with greed, power, romance, and redemption, all set against the backdrop of America’s favorite pastime.

Composer Joel Puckett says, “I am thrilled to tell this incredible American story of deception, heartbreak, and disillusionment with an establishment. I am even more thrilled to be bringing this story to life with the amazingly supportive team at Minnesota Opera.”

About Joel Puckett

Named as one of National Public Radio’s favorite composers under the age of 40 by their listeners, Joel Puckett is a composer who is dedicated to the belief that music can bring consolation, hope, and joy to all who need it. The Washington Post has hailed him as both “visionary” and “gifted” and the Baltimore Sun proclaimed his work for the Washington Chorus and Orchestra, This Mourning, as “being of comparable expressive weight” to John Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning work.

Mr. Puckett is currently on the full-time faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University where he teaches courses in music theory, co-teaches the composition seminar, and recently finished a term as the composer-in-residence for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras.

About Eric Simonson

For Minnesota Opera, Eric Simonson recently directed The Dream of Valentino (2014), Silent Night (2011) and Wuthering Heights (2011); and Rusalka for Colorado Opera. Other credits include The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Hall; numerous plays for Steppenwolf Theatre; and productions at The Huntington Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Primary Stages in New York, Court Theatre in Chicago, l.a. Theatre Works, The Kennedy Center, City Theater in Pittsburgh, Seattle Rep and San Jose Rep. His production of The Song of Jacob Zulu played on Broadway and received six Tony Awards including Best Director. Mr. Simonson is a member of Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.