The Scarlet Letter is a new opera by composer Lori Laitman and librettist David Mason, based on the Nathaniel Hawthorne classic.

Commissioned and performed by The University of Central Arkansas in November 2008, Opera Colorado presented the professional World Premiere in May 2016.

Naxos released the CD in August 2017, capturing Opera Colorado's premiere with Ari Pelto and the Opera Colorado Orchestra and Chorus. The CD has received glowing reviews:

“The first thing that leaps into one’s ears is the sheer beauty of the music. Laitman has devoted much of her career to the art song, and her ability to meld words with lyrical, often soaring lines is on abundant display in her opera. The score pinpoints the distinctive qualities of the characters. Hester Prynne, forced to wear the letter ‘A’ as a symbol of her adultery, sings in urgent rhapsodic phrases, while her lover, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, ranges from anxious reflections to dramatic outbursts, and Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s estranged husband, strikes sinister notes on his vengeful path. The people of the Puritan community reveal their moral pretensions in passages of reverent rigidity." — Gramophone Magazine

"Lori Laitman’s score succeeds with a surging, sweeping, unapologetically tonal landscape that offers carefully etched character portraits, rapturous choral expostulations and lush orchestrations of insistently tuneful melodic motifs. David Mason’s gently rhyming libretto telescopes the plot, and the reflective moments are earned and don’t overstay their welcomes. The opening is stirring and engaging, establishing the sincerity of the townspeople’s conviction in their own rectitude. Hester’s lullaby to Pearl is refreshingly devoid of self-pity and full of maternal wonder, ending on a celestial high C. The tension-filled confrontation, during which Chillingworth poisons Dimmesdale while pretending to cure his illness, is a gripping cat-and-mouse seduction...The choral singing is particularly strong, and the orchestra, led by Ari Pelto, is polished and precise." — Opera News 

"Lori Laitman writes brilliantly scored music; it’s been a while since I’ve heard such a colorful new American opera. It has many other virtues as well: eminently singable vocal lines in which the words are easily understood—unusual even in English, a credit to the composer and to librettist David Mason as well as to the singers—plus a convincing movement along a dramatic course...Act II accelerates the drama and blossoms musically...Laitman’s music rises in a long impassioned duet; it’s a scene that could wow an audience at the Met. Her writing is tonal yet new, unconstrained and uninhibited by the past...A fine rhymed libretto; terrific, well-crafted music. A little tightening in Act I might make The Scarlet Letter a staple of American opera, on a level with Susannah and Baby Doe." — Fanfare Magazine 

FULL CD BOOKLET AND ALBUM INFORMATION

 

https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.669034-35


LISTEN ON SOUNDCLOUD

 

https://soundcloud.com/yale75/sets/the-scarlet-letter-a-new-opera


LISTEN ON YOUTUBE

 

ACT I: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLhUlVxIUIQ&list=PL_5dvGyBRt0pXm0LdR3iS6bYGuEsjLwa1


ACT II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY_lNbfHDmg

 

The individual arias, listed below, will be available for purchase starting in February 2018. For hard copies, please call Glendower Jones of Classical Vocal Reprints at 1-800-298-7474. For PDF downloads, please click here

 

Soprano:

Beyond All Price — Hester's Lullaby from Act I, Scene 2

This Canopy of Trees — Hester's Aria from Act II, Scene 1

Mezzo-soprano:

Come To The Devil's Fire — Aria for Mistress Hibbons (the Witch) from Act I, Scene 4

Baritone:

Now Truly Know Me — Chillingworth's Lament from Act I, Scene 2

Tenor:

Our Nights — Dimmesdale's Aria from Act I, Scene 4

Ye People of New England — Dimmesdale's Confession Aria from Act II, Scene 2

Soprano and Tenor Duet:

Our Eden Here Is Love — Hester and Dimmesdale's Love Duet from Act II, Scene 1