The Whole Truth, a new one-act opera by composer Robert Paterson and librettist Mark Campbell, was premiered in January as part of the exciting wave of new operas that overwhelmed New York City. A sold-out success that garnered uniform praise, it was paired with Stewart Copeland’s one-act opera, The Cask of Amontillado.
The Whole Truth is a short comic opera for three singers—soprano, mezzo-soprano and baritone—that uses very limited production elements in its storytelling and has been written to be performed in intimate to medium-sized venues. In the opera, a young married woman named Megan (a role shared by the soprano and mezzo-soprano) carries on an affair with a fellow dentist and a dalliance with young carpenter that lead her to momentarily confront the web of lies she has created to other…and to herself. Using a single bed positioned vertically onstage and a couple of chairs, the settings include a psychiatrist’s office, Megan’s dental office, the bed of her lover, the dining table and the bed she shares with her husband, and another psychiatrist’s office. The Man (played by the baritone) employs six cardboard cutouts to help represent the roles he plays: Psychiatrist 1, The Lover, The Husband, The Carpenter and Psychiatrist 2.
Instrumentation: piano/vocal version—three singers (soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone) and piano. Chamber version (10 instrumentalists): flute, oboe, bassoon, percussion, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass.
Libretto by Mark Campbell • Based on the short story of the same name by Stephen McCauley
Commissioned by UrbanArias, Robert Wood, Executive and Artistic Director
Premiere of Chamber Version: American Modern Ensemble, Tyson Deaton, conductor, Walker Lewis, director, Dixon Place, New York, NY, January 16, 17, 18 and 19, 2016.
Premiere of Piano/Vocal Version: UrbanArias, Robert Wood, conductor, Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington, DC, February 21, 27 and 28, 2015.
Watch the video here: