Eric Sawyer: Our American Cousin

BMOP/sound 1006
July 2008
Disc 1: 67:00
Disc 2: 65:20
  • Boston Modern Orchestra Project
  • Gil Rose, conductor

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CD price: $35.99

Track Listing

Disc 1
  •  Our American Cousin (2007)
  •  Act I
  • 1.Prelude
  • 2.Scene 1: A Sneeze
  • 3.Scene 1: Arts of Theater
  • 4.Scene 2: Harry Hawk's Substitute
  • 5.Scene 2: Walking a Corduroy Road

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  • 6.Scene 3: Mathews and Booth
  • 7.Scene 3: What Happens Here?
  • 8.Scene 4: Chorus of Women
  • 9.Scene 4: Chorus of Amputees
  • 10.Scene 4: Chorus of Freedmen
  • 11.Scene 4: Chorus of Nurses
  • 12.Scene 4: Chorus of Businessmen
  • 13.Scene 5: Drinking Song
  • 14.Scene 6: Laura Keene
  • 15.Scene 6: Emancipate your Sorrows

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  •  Act II
  • 16.Scene 1: Father and Daughter
  • 17.Scene 1: I Feel a Draft
  • 18.Scene 1: Asa's Letter
  • 19.Scene 1: A Moneyed Man
  • 20.Scene 3: Introductions
  • 21.Scene 3: Possum Herding
  • 22.Scene 3: Lincoln

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Disc 2
  •  Act II (cont'd)
  • 1.Scene 4: In the Library
  • 2.Scene 4: Two Letters
  • 3.Scene 5: Musical Chairs
  •  Act III
  • 4.Scene 1: In the Dairy

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  • 5.Scene 1: Ancient Business
  • 6.Scene 1: Mary and Abraham
  • 7.Scene 1: Sic Semper Booth

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  • 8.Scene 2: Assassination
  • 9.Scene 3: The Presidential Box
  • 10.Scene 4: Hawk's Second Chance
  • 11.Scene 4: Burning Letter
  • 12.Scene 5: Blood Stains

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  • 13.Scene 5: Apparition
  • 14.Scene 5: Final Chorus

News & Press

March 1, 2009 — Just in time for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln comes this ambitious opera from American composer Eric Sawyer and librettist John Shoptaw. This is courtesy of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, an exciting program of releases focusing on modern American music.
Music Web International Full review
November 1, 2008 — This is a wonderful surprise. When the Editor proposed the disc, from the title I suspected it would be about the Lincoln assassination, as Our American Cousin was the name of the play performed that evening in Ford’s Theater. But I did not know the composer, Eric Sawyer (b. 1962), nor his librettist John Shoptaw, and knew nothing of this opera, which is truly “hot off the press,” having been premiered in Boston just last year.
Fanfare Full review
November 1, 2008 — A glance at the above cast list might prove to be confusing. Here real people are juxtaposed with characters from a play. What kind of opera is this? A finely crafted, cleverly inventive one. Librettist John Shoptaw has combined a play (Our American Cousin by Tom Taylor, 1851) and real history (the assassination of President Lincoln, April 14, 1865). The assassination is told from the perspective of the actors performing the play at Ford’s Theater in Washington. Backstage and audience realities alternate with (decidedly unfunny and rather too many) scenes from the play.
American Record Guide Full review
October 1, 2008 — Don’t expect the Tom Taylor comedy Lincoln attended the night he got shot. The opera tells the story of the Lincoln assassination seen through the viewpoints mainly of the actors in Ford’s Theater. The effect comes close to what it would be like if Hamlet were told by the company of players. One notes a lot of talk about the Founding Fathers these days, and other than the cynical manipulations of those figures and their thought according to whatever party line, it probably goes through and over most people’s heads.
ClassicalCDReview Full review