‘Kept: A Ghost Story’ To Get World Premiere at Virginia Arts Festival

Credit: Virginia Arts Festival / Facebook

This weekend, the Virginia Arts Festival showcases the World Premiere of “Kept: a ghost story,” an opera by composer Kristin Kuster and librettist Megan Levad. It marks their first operatic collaboration.

The performances are slated for May 25 and May 28 and will feature an all-female creative team.

Per a press release, the opera shines a light on a wild young girl, a lighthouse keeper she marries, and many secrets they keep from one another. Kuster and Levad were inspired by the stories of the haunted Old Presque Isle Lighthouse in northern Michigan. This work is the duo’s first collaboration together.

Other major team members include stage director Mary Birnbaum, who is also associate director of the Artist Diploma Program at the Julliard School. Conducting the work will be JoAnn Falletta.

The lead roles of the Keeper and the Bride will be sung by tenor Willian Burden. He has performed all over the world at such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Opéra and National de Paris, among others.

The opera was developed through the John Duffy Institute for New Opera, “on ongoing initiative of the Virginia Arts Festival to support emerging writers of opera.” The program is led by Grammy Award-winning composer Libby Larsen.



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About the Author

David Salazar
Prior to creating OperaWire, DAVID SALAZAR, (Editor-in-Chief) worked as a reporter for Latin Post where he interviewed major opera stars including Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Vittorio Grigolo, Diana Damrau and Rolando Villazon among others. His 2014 interview with opera star Kristine Opolais was cited in a New York Times Review. He also had the opportunity of interviewing numerous Oscar nominees, Golden Globe winners and film industry giants such as Guillermo del Toro, Oscar Isaac and John Leguizamo among others. David holds a Masters in Media Management from Fordham University. During his time at Fordham, he studied abroad at the Jagiellonian University in Poland. He also holds a dual bachelor’s from Hofstra University in Film Production and Journalism.

1 Comment on "‘Kept: A Ghost Story’ To Get World Premiere at Virginia Arts Festival"

  1. I just finished watching the opening night, and while I enjoyed the very basic theme of it, the fact that the majority of it is sung only by the tenor and the all-male choir when the female lead could sing beautifully really took away from it. The poetry was interesting, but not necessarily good. The singers were fantastic, but the repetition in the chorus was pointless. And worst of all, to my mind, was the fact that it was billed as a gothic ghost story, when it was more awkwardly sensual than gothic and ghostly until the last two minutes or so. That being said, those last two minutes were hair-raising. I’m honestly not sure how to take it. The libretto was meh, but the acting portion was lovely. If it had been written for two leads to go back and forth from the start, I probably would have adored it. (Also, I get that the male lead singing both parts indicates that the female lead was essentially voiceless in their relationship, but MAN did it take away from the effect of the prose!)
    In short, I would not necessarily recommend people go to this opera vice most other shows, but if this is all that is being performed, give it a go and just keep a REALLY open mind.

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