Middlemarch in Spring | A Note from the Composer


Thursday, March 23 and Friday, March 24 | 2017

A note from the composer, Allen Shearer

There is nothing quite like opera. Its challenges are unique, and so are its possibilities. Composing opera is very different from setting poetry to music for concert performance, where one does not have characters. In opera, being true to the characters requires constant attention, especially when they are as complex and finely drawn as George Eliot’s.

Having characters on stage is also liberating. For example, Dorothea’s Act 2 monolog veers off into a tarantella at one point, a digression that would be incomprehensible in art song. In the context, it reflects Dorothea’s mental state, her fevered enthusiasm that quickly turns to despair.  

The musical language of Middlemarch in Spring ranges from gnarled chromaticism depicting Casaubon’s inner torments to the much brighter palette of tonal colors in the final love scene. It imports a Neapolitan song and a very British march, and there is even some chance music––an unmeasured, freely notated passage while the orchestra is used as a jeering crowd. (That passage cost me a surprising amount of effort.) All of these can coexist in the wide embrace of opera in the 21st century. I did not hesitate to use anything that would serve me for this backward glance at a great work of literature.


Schedule and Tickets

Adult tickets $25-$49 | Youth 12 & under $12 | Students (with ID) $16.50

Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 24 at 2:00 pm

All performances at The Paramount Theater.

Tickets available online or at The Paramount Theater Box Office: (434) 979-1333, 215 E. Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Open 10 am -  2pm, Monday through Friday.

paramount logo website

Learn More!


Dorothea Sara Duchovnay
Casaubon Philip Skinner
Will David Margulis
Celia Tonia D'Amelio
Brooke Michael Mendelsohn
Sir James Gideon Dabi

Artistic Team

Conductor Douglas Kinney Frost
Stage Director Andrea Dorf McGray
Director of Production
and Scenic Designer
Adam Liston
Costume Designer Adalia Vera Tonneyck
Hair and Makeup Designer Karman Boisset
Pianist Gloria Kim

In partnership with


Sponsored by