Friday, Feb 2, 2024 @ 8:00 PM – Sydney Laurence Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, Feb 3, 2024 @ 8:00 PM – Sydney Laurence in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Sunday, Feb 4, 2024 @ 4:00 PM – Sydney Laurence in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
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“A SUPREMELY comical look at a HIGHLY improbable friendship!”
Hailed as “a dream come true” (Ruth Bader Ginsburg), a “perfect … jewel” (Opera Today) and a “buoyant show with a deeply serious core” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Derrick Wang’s comedic “opinion” causes no “dissents”! Put this Alaska premiere production on your entire family’s “docket”. Inspired by the late justices’ own words and by the “operatic precedent” of Händel, Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Verdi, Offenbach, Bizet, Sullivan, Puccini, Strauss, et al. A delightful look at the notorious RBG, and her fierce judicial opponent Antonin Scalia, through the lens of their great friendship, setting forth the case…”We are different. We are one.”
Performed in English with English supertitles
The worlds of the opera house and courthouse collide in Derrick Wang’s opera Scalia/Ginsburg, a comedy about friendship in a divided world. The work is inspired by the real-life words and relationship of two ideologically different US Supreme Court Justices: Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Even though these two disagreed on many things, what united them was humor and a love for opera. But what would happen if the two unlikely friends had to appear before a higher power? The opera begins in the Supreme Court Building when Justice Scalia is confronted by the Commentator, a supernatural being who seals the room (as in the opera Aïda), stating “No man shall enter.” Scalia is forced to defend his approach to the law to the Commentator and may escape only by passing three trials (not unlike Mozart’s The Magic Flute). Since Justice Ginsburg is a woman, she is able to break into the courtroom to aid her friend, insisting on taking the trials alongside him. Justice Ginsburg comforts Justice Scalia (in the style of Bellini) debates him (in the style of Verdi and Mozart) and explains her view of the evolving Constitution (in evolving musical styles). The trials undergone by the Justices include an inquisition (in which the Commentator directly questions the Justices), a trial of silence (in which the Justices must not say anything) and a mystery. If the Justices pass the trials they will receive their freedom from the sealed chamber, access to another realm and a special talent. The opera is inspired by the opinions of Justices Ginsburg and Scalia and by the “operatic precedent” of Händel, Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Verdi, Offenbach, Bizet, Sullivan, Puccini, Strauss, et al. “Scalia/Ginsburg is for me a dream come true,” said Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Could we please make it a constitutional requirement that no one can be sworn into office in the White House or Congress without first having seen Scalia Ginsburg?” wrote the Los Angeles Times.
Brian DeMaris – AO Principal Conductor
Cedar Cussins – Lighting Designer
Elle Janecek – Hair & Makeup Designer
Josh Shaw – Stage Director/Set Designer
TBA – Costume Designer
Helen Irene Muller – Stage Manager
Ruth Bader Ginsburg explains Scalia/Ginsburg
Video: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explains Derrick Wang’s opera Scalia/Ginsburg. (Source: Bloomberg / The David Rubenstein Show.)
About the Composer
Derrick Wang is a creator, thinker, and advisor unlocking value in unlikely places.
As a creator, he is known in worldwide media as the composer and librettist of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called “a dream come true,” and which ushered in the current era of Supreme Court-themed art. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “Could we please make it a constitutional requirement that no one can be sworn into office in the White House or Congress without first having seen Scalia/Ginsburg?” Hailed as “a perfect…jewel” (Opera Today), “a fiercely entertaining crash course on the U.S. Constitution and the people who uphold it” (Broad Street Review), and “the kind of opera that should be everywhere” (OperaWire), Scalia/Ginsburg was premiered to international attention at noted conductor Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival and (in its revised version) at The Glimmerglass Festival, featured as its own chapter (the audio version of which Derrick Wang narrates) in Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s book My Own Words, broadcast on national radio in the United States, featured on Live with Carnegie Hall, and performed across the United States and abroad, including its sold-out Australian premiere in 2021.
As an interdisciplinary thinker in fields including music and law, and as the creator of the motto “We are different, we are one,” Derrick Wang demonstrates the power of the arts to transcend intellectual and ideological divides. U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia both wrote forewords to Derrick Wang’s work. His scholarly research, noted for “successfully integrat[ing] huge amounts of constitutional theory [and] legal scholarship” (Above the Law), has been published in academia (e.g. the Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts), covered in legal periodicals (such as the ABA Journal and Landslide), and featured on network television (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). His creative work has been covered in U.S. news outlets ranging from The Wall Street Journal to MSNBC, and in international media from The Economist to the Süddeutsche Zeitung and beyond.
As a speaker, he has addressed the nation’s leaders, including scholars, judges, and lawmakers across the American political spectrum, in places ranging from the Chautauqua Institution to the Supreme Court of the United States. Select events and hosts have included TEDxBroadway, the Judicial–Congressional Dialogue at the Library of Congress, Second Circuit Judicial Conference, National Constitution Center, U.S. Copyright Office, Stanford Arts Institute & Stanford Law School, Columbia Law School, and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
“A perfect…jewel” (Opera Today)
“Swingingly irresistible, but also rhetorically compelling” (Opera News)
“A fantastic gem…a blast to watch…the very definition of inclusive…this is the kind of opera that should be everywhere” (OperaWire)
“Brilliant…gorgeous” (DC Theatre Scene)
“Funny, exceedingly clever” (Above the Law)
“A buoyant show with a deeply serious core” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)
“Laser-accurate…top-notch” (Classical Voice North America)
“Engaging…plays cleverly [with] musical wit” (Wall Street Journal)
“Sassy” (Naples Daily News)
“Riveting…inventive” (Town Topics)
“Lusciously funny, divinely witty…[Scalia/Ginsburg] glitters dazzlingly” (U.S. 1)
“A fiercely entertaining crash course on the U.S. Constitution and the people who uphold it.…Who knew that an opera audience could holler and cheer like it was the Super Bowl?” (Broad Street Review)
“Opera simply is not supposed to be this much fun. There are few comic operas that maintain intense humor throughout — Gianni Schicchi may be an exception. Scalia/Ginsburg not only shares that rare comedic perch, but it is informative almost like no other opera.” (Berkshire Fine Arts)
“This is ecumenical non-partisanship with intelligence, wit, verve, style, and an utter sweetness of purpose.” (Houston Press)
“Could we please make it a constitutional requirement that no one can be sworn into office in the White House or Congress without having first seen Scalia/Ginsburg?” (Los Angeles Times)
On June 27, 2013, the day after the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, composer-librettist Derrick Wang appeared at the Supreme Court to present selections from his new opera, Scalia/Ginsburg.
For more information, watch Derrick Wang’s TEDxBroadway talk on his journey with Scalia/Ginsburg from the Supreme Court to the stage.
In July 2015, the world premiere production of Scalia/Ginsburg took place at the Castleton Festival, founded by renowned conductor Lorin Maazel in Castleton, Virginia.
(MSNBC reports that Justice Ginsburg attended and said, “I had a wonderful time. I loved every minute of it.”)
In August 2017, Scalia/Ginsburg received its sold-out second production in a revised version at The Glimmerglass Festival, one of the largest summer opera festivals in the United States. Acclaimed tenor William Burden, celebrated for originating lead roles in major American operas, sang the role of Scalia. The final performance was followed by a discussion with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Libretto & Forewords
Justices Ginsburg and Scalia wrote forewords to Derrick Wang’s libretto [script], an early version of which was published in 2015 by the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. Excerpts from the libretto are republished in Justice Ginsburg’s 2016 book My Own Words as the chapter “The Scalia/Ginsburg Opera,” the audiobook version of which is narrated and performed by Derrick Wang from New York’s Steinway Hall.
After the passing of Justice Scalia, the libretto was revised for the 2017 production of Scalia/Ginsburg at The Glimmerglass Festival. This revised libretto is to be published in a forthcoming new edition.
Free Pre-Opera Talks
Saturday, Feb 3, 2024 at 7:00 pm – Sydney Laurence Theatre
Sunday, Feb 4, 2024 at 3:00 pm – Sydney Laurence Theatre
Free Student Final Dress Rehearsal
Anchorage Opera would like to open the final dress rehearsal to K-12 students at no cost for our production of Scalia/Ginsburg by Derrick Wang on Jan 31, 2024 at 7:00 pm performed in English with projected Supertitles in English. This production will be held at Sydney Laurence Theatre, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and seating is limited. We will do our best to accommodate any K-12 student that would like to come, however some parties may receive fewer tickets than requested based on availability.
Please contact Kaylee Wagle at 907-279-2557 or email email@example.com to request your vouchers.
As this is a coveted event for many schools in the Anchorage area, please do not request more tickets than you will use. If you are promised a certain number of tickets and find you will not be able to use them all, please contact us as soon as possible so that people on the wait list can be notified and make arrangements to attend.
We hope to see a full house of K-12 Students there! BRAVO