Ricky Ian Gordon to Release Memoir ‘Seeing Through: A Chronicle of Sex, Drugs, and Opera’

By Afton Wooten

Composer Ricky Ian Gordon is set to release his memoir “Seeing Through: A Chronicle of Sex, Drugs, and Opera” on July 23.

In “Seeing Through,” Gordon writes with humor, insight, and candor about his life and work. He describes his tumultuous youth on Long Island, his artistic collaborations and obsessions, and the creation of “The Grapes of Wrath,” “27,” “Orpheus and Euridice,” “Intimate Apparel,” and “Ellen West.”  He talks about addictions, abuse, and the loss of his partner to AIDS and the devastation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Of that period Gordon writes, “We were, thousands of us, Lazarus. We had to rise from the ashes. We didn’t have to rebuild our lives, we had to build new ones.”

Gordon has succeeded in building a remarkable life, as well as a body of work that bears witness to all he survived in the process. “Seeing Through” drops the reader into ‘a life that comes out of chaos,’ one punctuated by hardship, scandal, and sorrow, but sustained throughout by music.

William C. Carter, author of “Marcel Proust: A Life” says in an advanced review of the book, “I have never read a more candid and engrossing memoir than ‘Seeing Through.’ Told in vivid detail, Ricky’s story is poignant, entertaining, and ultimately inspirational.”

Gordon’s body of work spans art song, opera, and musical theater. His songs have been performed and recorded by Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Nathan Gunn, Judy Collins, Kelli O’Hara, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, among others. His opera “Intimate Apparel” was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater, where it made its premiere in 2022.