Department of Music

AU Opera Workshop to Perform Copland’s “The Tender Land” in Telfair-Peet’s Black Box

AU Opera Workshop to Perform Copland’s “The Tender Land” in Telfair-Peet’s Black Box

On April 16 and 17 at 7:30 pm, the Auburn University Opera Workshop will perform Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land” in Telfair-Peet’s new Black Box. This is the workshop’s first performance in a true theatrical space and the first full operatic performance in recent years. For this performance, faculty members Anne Duraski and Matt Hoch will perform in principal roles, Laurelie Gheesling will accompany, and Sara Lynn Baird will conduct.

Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land was written in 1954. Inspired by the Depression-era photographs of Walker Evans (1903–1975) and the writings of James Agee (1909–1955), Copland commissioned the writer Erik Johns (1927–2001) to write a opera libretto about a Depression-era farming family in the American Midwest. Over the course of three acts, The Tender Land explores themes of family loyalty, time passing, and the changing values of younger generations.

Originally written for NBC television but premiered at New York City opera, The Tender Land was Copland’s second opera. (His first foray into the genre, The Second Hurricane—written in 1937—was not a success.) The Tender Land has enjoyed enduring popularity since its premiere. Its most famous numbers include Laurie’s first aria (often called “Laurie’s Song”), the quintet “The Promise of Living,” and the ensemble number “Stomp Your Foot.” Challenging but vocally appropriate for younger singers to perform, The Tender Land frequently receives productions at American universities and regional opera companies.

Advanced tickets are available online for all patrons (students and non-students) at $10 per ticket, available until noon the day before the event. Patrons will need to bring one form of ID to pick up their ticket from the will-call table set up one hour before the event begins. The name on the ID must match the name on the order. If advanced tickets are not picked up by fifteen minutes prior to the event, then they may be resold for waiting patrons. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students and children, and will be sold at the door one hour prior to performance time. For more information including online ticket sales, program information, and ticketing policies, visit or call 334-844-4165.

Last Updated: April 10, 2015