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U of M professor composes 9/11 opera

A University School of Music professors composed the music for a new opera that debuted in New York City on Sept. 12.

Professor Doug Geers, who was a graduate student at Columbia University in 2001, experienced 9/11 firsthand and now has written the 90-minute score for this new show.

As a reporter for the Minnesota Daily, I had the opportunity to talk with those involved with the production for an article released Tuesday. The opera titled, "Calling: An opera of forgiveness" is based on a book of essays titled "A Mother's Essays from Ground Zero" by Wickham Boyle, a New York writer and mother.

School of Music Professor Doug Geers was asked by Boyle to create an opera based on her words, Boyle told me in an interview for the Minnesota Daily.

The story, Geers said in an interview with me, is “up-close and down to earth,? follows the life of one family witnessing the attack on the World Trade Center and the journey they take from sadness to finding forgiveness and hope for the future.

“It’s very personal. It’s not abstracting it. It’s really talking about people,? Geers said in an interview with me for the Minnesota Daily. “Everyone who experienced it has a story.?

Although the story surrounds the events of Sept. 11, Geers told me in an interview the action only sets the story in motion; it’s not the ultimate message of the piece.

“It’s a story of trying to find how you can cope with the bad things that happen in life,? he told me in an interview, “and how you can find your way to the other side and find hope.?

Geers and Boyle were also waiting for the New York Times to review the show.

The New York Times reported Tuesday a "tense undercurrent in the music builds to a sudden whine from Mr. Geers's computer" as a scene plays out with New Yorkers going about their normal morning routinues.

Geers's music, "a tonal vocabulary punctuated with fidgets and squeals, aptly conveys contradictory moods, through it seldom asserts a character as personal as that of Ms. Boyle's words," according to the New York Times review of the show.

Boyle said in a inteview with me for the Minnesota Daily she hopes the show will gain enough attention to move it into the future.

Director of University Opera Theatre David Walsh told me in an inteview for the Minnesota Daily there has been discussion of performing "Calling" in a future opera season at the University.