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

By David Salazar

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.