Music by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Greg Pierce
Based on the 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon
Developed and co-commissioned by G. Sterling Zinsmeyer
Fellow Travelers was performed at Cincinnati Opera in 2016. The season's performances of this opera have concluded.
Sung in English with projected titles
Approximate running time: 2 hours, 5 minutes, including one intermission
At the height of the McCarthy era in 1950s Washington, D.C., recent college grad Timothy Laughlin is eager to join the crusade against communism.
A chance encounter with a handsome State Department official Hawkins Fuller leads to Tim’s first job—and his first love affair with a man. Drawn into a maelstrom of deceit, Tim struggles to reconcile his political convictions and his forbidden love for Fuller—an entanglement that will end in a stunning act of betrayal.
Cincinnati Opera is proud to present the world premiere of this heartrending opera by one of today’s leading composers, Gregory Spears, whose work has been called “astonishingly beautiful” (The New York Times) and “coolly entrancing” (The New Yorker). Playwright Greg Pierce has adapted Thomas Mallon's searing historical novel into an opera with the style of Mad Men and the political intrigue of House of Cards.
The New York Times
“With its smart music and sharp-edged romantic drama, Fellow Travelers seems assured of lasting appeal" Read the review.
The Wall Street Journal
"[The] subtle, lyrical music is beautiful without being obvious or sentimental." Read the review.
"One of the most accomplished new American operas" Read the review.
"Music that breaths along with the story it tells" Read the review.
The Toronto Star
"A well-told, dramatically involving story." Read the review.
"Powerful... a ravishing musical score." Read the review.
"A remarkable cast" Read the review.
"It is the finest new opera I have seen since Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Dead Man Walking premiered in 2000." Read the review.
I Care If You Listen
"The rhythmic integrity of the vocal performances was highly commendable, and the execution of the pulse-based score was even more impressive..." Read the review.
The Broadway Blog
"Composer Spears has created a score that is often hauntingly beautiful yet simultaneously tuneful." Read the review.
"I noticed that the opera resonated with everyone around me...It was a powerful performance and truly an event I will not forget." Read the review.
Jay Harvey Upstage
"...Fellow Travelers captures one of [America's] most intense, toxic eras by focusing on a heart-tugging romance." Read the review.
"The mostly youthful cast is superb all around and the two leads are vocally and physically convincing." Read the review.
Man About World
"The silence and breathlessness after show's impassioned conclusion echoed with an answer of hollow bewilderment, tears hanging on eyelids, ready to jump." Read the review.
Seen and Heard International
"This superb musical drama is cause for celebration, especially in the first-class world premiere..." Read the review.
CAST & CREATIVE TEAM
Timothy Laughlin Aaron Blake
Hawkins Fuller Joseph Lattanzi
Mary Johnson Devon Guthrie
Senator Charles Potter/General Airlie/Bartender Vernon Hartman
Estonian Frank/Interrogator/Senator Joseph McCarthy Marcus DeLoach
Potter's Assistant/Bookseller/Party Guest/Technician/French Priest Christian Pursell
Tommy McIntyre Paul Scholten
Miss Lightfoot Alexandra Schoeny
Lucy Talya Lieberman
Presented in partnership with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
A new production constructed by Cincinnati Opera
Interview with the creators
excerpt: "our very own home"
"Heat Zone in the Cold War" - an essay by Thomas Mallon, courtesy of OPERA NEWS
In The News
2.1.17 Out Magazine: Need to Know: Fellow Travelers, a Gay Opera for These Hectic Times
7.2.16 The Well-Tempered Ear: A new opera takes listeners back to the Bad Old Days of anti-gay America - and reminds us of the bigotry today that camouflages itself as religious freedom
6.26.16 The Creators Project: Here's Why the Lavender Scare Still Matters
6.18.16 Cincinnati Enquirer: Deeply felt Fellow Travelers makes powerful impression
6.18.16 NPR: A New Opera Illuminates The 'Lavender Scare,' A Little-Explored Era In Queer History
6.16.16 Thought Catalog: Composer Gregory Spears: Fellow Travelers and The Nature of Homophobia
6.15.16 Broadway World: BBW Interview: Director Kevin Newbury, Contemporary Opera, and the World of Fellow Travelers
6.8.16 CityBeat: Home Team Advantage
4.18.16 Out Magazine: Behind the Scenes of Cincinnati’s Gay Opera
3.23.16 The China Post (China): Opera throws rare light on 1950s anti-homosexual ‘Lavender Scare’
3.22.16 NewNowNext: New Opera Revisits “Lavender Menace” Scare of the 1950s
3.22.16 Khmer Times (Cambodia): Opera throws rare light on ‘Lavender Scare’
3.22.16 The Manila Times (Philippines): Opera throws rare light on anti-gay scare
3.22.16 Malay Mail Online (Malaysia): Opera throws rare light on anti-gay ‘Lavender Scare’
3.21.16 Daily Mail (UK): Opera throws rare light on anti-gay ‘Lavender Scare’
3.21.16 Yahoo News: Opera throws rare light on anti-gay ‘Lavender Scare’
3.21.16 La Presse (Canada): Un opéra évoque la chasse aux homosexuels durant le maccarthysme
3.21.16 The Citizen (South Africa): Opera throws rare light on anti-gay ‘Lavender Scare’