About the opera
Inheritance (2018) is a chamber opera that revolves around Sarah Winchester, the eccentric widow and heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune. According to popular belief, she imprisoned herself in her labyrinth-like home to seek refuge from the spirits of those killed by the same weapons whose manufacture and sale gave her a life of indescribable wealth. With music by composer Lei Liang and libretto by poet Matt Donovan, Inheritance juxtaposes elements of Winchester’s biography with contemporary events in a work that explores America’s deeply complex relationship with guns Visual artist Ligia Bouton creates the production design and Susan Narucki serves as producer of the opera and creates the role of Sarah Winchester.
Photos: Farshid Bazmandegan
Music director Steven Schick led the world premiere performances in a staging by innovative young stage director Cara Consilvio, with lighting design by Mary Ellen Stebbins. The hour-long work has a cast of four. In addition to Narucki, Ghost 1 and Ghost 2 were played by sopranos Kirsten Ashley Wiest and Hillary Jean Young, while renowned Mexican baritone Josué Ceron created the role of the Tour Guide/Ghost.
The opera is scored for chamber ensemble of eight musicians. The musicians of the world premiere included: Mark Dresser (bass), Anthony Burr and Madison Greenstone (clarinet/bass clarinet), Takae Onishi (harpsichord, Pablo Gomez Cano (guitar) David Aguila (trumpet), Fiona Digney and Sean Dowgray (percussion).
Inheritance had its world premiere on October 24, 2018 at the Experimental Theater of the Conrad Prebys Music Center at the UC San Diego, with two subsequent performances on October 26 and October 27, 2018.
Inheritance is supported by the Creative Capital Foundation, the University of California at San Diego, the UC San Diego Department of Music, UC San Diego Division of Arts and Humanities, New Music USA and the National Endowment for the Arts. It is a co-presentation of ArtPower and the UC San Diego Department of Music