The Tender Land

Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam

  • You compose because you want to somehow summarize in some permanent form your most basic feelings about being alive, to set down... some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today.

    Aaron Copland, composer
  • You never live an inch without involvement and hurting people and f*cking yourself everlastingly.

    James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
  • So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning.

    Aaron Copland, composer

Production Details

Production Highlights

  • New Production, 2016
  • Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam

Creative Team

Director:
Alison Moritz
Conductor:
Kirk Severtson
Scenic Designer:
Ann Beyersdorfer
Costume Designer:
Catherine Mason
Lighting Designer:
Tonry Lathroum
Photographer:
Katrina Sheats

A Message From Alison

The Tender Land is part of a fascinating period in American music-theatre when the genre lines between musicals, operas, television, and film were blurred, as were the distinctions between “high art” and popular culture. NBC originally commissioned composer Aaron Copland to write something for television, and that project turned into The Tender Land—a story about a Depression-era family in the Midwest, inspired by the work of James Agee and Walker Evans.

The opera was not destined to be televised, though, and it received its premiere in 1954 at New York City Opera instead. Critics disliked the show, and many deemed the intimate scale of a story created for television to be unsuitable for the operatic stage. Our production of The Tender Land is an attempt to highlight the emotional realism and intimacy of this wonderful piece and to show that those qualities are not antithetical to being “operatic.”

Production Photos

  • A scene from a live stage production of The Tender Land, directed by Alison Moritz.
  • A scene from a live stage production of The Tender Land, directed by Alison Moritz.
  • A scene from a live stage production of The Tender Land, directed by Alison Moritz.