A Look At ‘JFK’ As We Celebrate Former U.S. President’s Centennial

By David Salazar

Today is the birthday of John F. Kennedy. But it is no ordinary birthday, as the former U.S. President would have turned 100 had he lived to this day.

While the President has been showcased throughout history in books and films, his appearance in opera is actually far rarer. In fact, there is really only one opera dedicated to him and it was composed last year. Here are some fun facts about “JFK.”

For starters, the opera was composed by David T. Little and relates the final night of the President’s life before he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The work was commissioned by Fort Worth Opera, Opéra de Montréal, and American Lyric Theater, its world premiere coming on April 23, 2016 at Fort Worth Opera.

The opera features the roles of JFK, his wife Jackie Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Nikita Khrushchev, and Jacqueline Onassis.

But the two most interesting figures in the opera are Clara Harris and Henry Rathbone, American figures from the mid-1800s who appear throughout the opera in different time periods. Both are most famous for their presence at the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in 1865, which is among the time periods featured in the opera. They also appear as a maid and FBI agent and in the Greek mythological period of the opera as Lachesis and Clotho, Fates that weave the thread of life.

There is a unique documentary feature that illuminates the making of the opera even further:


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