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Pulitzer-winning opera of ‘The Crucible’ arrives to campus


The Crucible features a student-only cast. | Courtesy of the Moores Opera Center

Originally a play by Arthur Miller, “The Crucible” is a story about the Salem Witch Trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1692 to 1693.

Composer Robert Ward adapted the play into an opera and won a Pulitzer Prize in Music, proving itself as a big success, and it has now made its way to UH.

“’The Crucible’ shows how different people react when pressure is placed on them, most especially by neighbors and loved ones,” said psychology junior Julius Sanchez, the stage manager of the opera. “It digs into the human psyche and breaks people down as to what they value most.”

Although set during the 17th century, Miller wrote the story in the 1950s as a response to the anti-Communist atmosphere that enveloped the U.S. It is, in part, an indictment of the fear-fueled mob psychology that could result in hysteria and tragedies.

The entire cast of “The Crucible” opera is comprised of students. The opera program has provided a professional setting for them to learn and better themselves.

“My colleagues are all very talented and we constantly motivate and encourage each other throughout the season,” said second-year master’s degree candidate in vocal performance and pedagogy (voice) Brianne Mathews, who plays Ann Putnam in the opera. “This show has really shown us what it takes to pull together a professional show, because this opera is definitely on that level.”

The cast hopes that people will be more interested in opera and see that it’s an interesting, fun and exciting music genre.

“The parts of the play which tend to get talky and a little preachy, vanish. We go right to the emotional heart of the piece,” said Buck Ross, director of Moores Opera Center in an interview with Houston Press.

“The Crucible” runs Oct. 21, 22, 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Moores Opera House, sung in the original English with the text projected over the stage. Tickets are available online.

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