Marie's Orchard
Composer: Philip Westin
Composer Bio: PHILIP WESTIN has received composition commissions from, among others, the Eastern Brass Quintet, CSU Long Beach, and the California Wind Symphony. In 1972, composer William Schuman asked Westin to orchestrate his Credendum for Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and was present for its premiere performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center under Westin’s baton. Studying composition with Roy Harris, Ingolf Dahl and Halsey Stevens, Westin earned degrees in Music Composition from USC in 1968 and 1970. In 1990 he earned a Doctorate Degree from the University of La Verne, and in 1992 earned a Post-Doctoral Certificate from Harvard University. Westin is also well known as a conductor of choral and wind ensemble works, symphonies, operas and musical theatre productions. He founded and conducted the Los Angeles Chamber Chorale and the California Wind Symphony, which included Aaron Copland, Howard Hanson, Roy Harris, Henry Mancini, Walter Piston, Gunther Schuller, William Schuman, Roger Sessions, Halsey Stevens, Virgil Thomson, and John Williams as members of its advisory board (partial listing). In 1980 he founded the Master Symphony Orchestra which performed concert series with world-renowned guest soloists at Ambassador Auditorium, Bridges Auditorium, the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, and many other Southern California venues. Writing for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner in 1982, Mark Swed (now Music Critic for the Los Angeles Times) wrote, “He (Westin) went for broke by taking huge chances in his attempts to create genuine drama, and he hit the jackpot in a truly exciting and well-paced performance of the Verdi Requiem with soloists Martina Arroyo, Marvellee Cariaga, Carlo Bergonzi and Arnold Voketaitis.”
Librettist: Dylan F. Thomas
Librettist Bio: DYLAN F. THOMAS is the Founder and Artistic Director of Center Stage Opera where he has directed full productions of numerous operas, including the Company’s June 2011 World Premiere Production of Marie’s Orchard. As stage director for the Pacific Symphony in Costa Mesa, California, Thomas wrote and directed numerous shows for the Family Musical Mornings series, and in May 2011, he wrote and directed a Casablanca-themed show for the Pacific Symphony's prestigious annual Gala. Metropolitan Opera soprano Ana Maria Martinez described Thomas as "thinking out of the box in an intriguing and captivating way ... an inspiring director and mentor, particularly for young artists." As a singer and actor, Thomas has performed extensively throughout California and internationally in opera, musical theater, and jazz. For ten months in 2006, he was engaged as a performer in three different variety shows at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan where he sang opera, musical theater repertoire, and jazz.
Other Artistic Personnel:

Brian Onderdonk, Conductor
Steven Huber, Violin Soloist
Center Stage Opera Chorus
Center Stage Opera Orchestra
Original Cast: Shira Renee Thomas (Marie Shabata)
Benjamin Bunsold (Emil Bergson)
Abdiel González (Frank Shabata)
Jay Stephenson (Anthony Chevalier)
Adrien Roberts (Angelique Chevalier)
E. Scott Levin (Bill the Bartender)
Nathan Baglyos (Preacher / Bar Scene Friend)
Carl Darchuk (Bar Scene Soloist)
Jacqueline Crist-Franzen (Wedding Scene Soloist)
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: June 01, 2011
Description: THE CURTAIN OPENS in the cherry orchard on the Shabata farm in rural 1892 Nebraska as Frank and Marie Shabata's former housemaid, Angelique, and the farm's hired hand, Anthony, are getting married. Once the ceremony is complete, the wedding party erupts into a country hoedown. Noticing that the orchard needs care, Emil offers his help to get the space cleaned up. A month later, Emil is in the orchard clearing weeds when Marie enters with Angelique. Emil and Marie share an awkward moment that is broken by the arrival of Frank and Anthony who are coming from the fields for lunch. The group is preparing to eat a picnic that Marie and Angelique have prepared when Frank and Marie get into an argument. Three months later, Frank and Anthony are building a cherry booth for Marie to sell her wares at the Catholic County Faire. Anthony leaves with Marie and Angelique to get pies and jams from the wagon, leaving Frank alone when Emil enters looking for Marie. Frank and Emil get into an argument, and Frank forbids Emil from seeing Marie. Frank’s head begins to pound and he exits. Emil hears Marie singing and he hides from her. He then confronts Marie about her commitment to Frank. They argue; then Emil reveals some of his true feelings for her. Before they can kiss, the church bells ring and Emil leaves. Frank comes back looking for Marie; he has seen her talking to Emil. Frank tells Marie that she can no longer have anything to do with Emil. As he raises his hand to strike her, church lets out and the parishioners begin celebrating for the County Faire. While the churchgoers celebrate, Marie, Frank, and Emil, each in their own worlds, sing of their longings and predicaments.

LATER, EMIL SECRETLY summons Anthony and Angelique into the orchard. Emil requests that they deliver a letter to Marie asking her to meet him in the orchard. Left alone, Emil sings of his feelings for Marie. Having received the letter, Marie enters the orchard and Emil confesses his love for her. Marie admits that she has feelings for him, but when Emil tells her that he loves her, she gets angry and defends her marriage. Emil decides it would be best for him to leave the county and they agree to write to each other in his absence. Emil meets his friends at the local bar where he finds a celebration in full steam. Anthony tells him that he and Angelique are expecting their first baby. When Anthony asks Emil to be the baby's Godfather, Emil announces that he is leaving town the following morning. Frank enters the bar already drunk, and seeing Emil, becomes infuriated. Marie enters looking for Frank and tries to persuade him to go home with her. She tells him he's acting like a fool. In response, Frank slaps her across the face, enraging Emil. The two men brawl and the men in the bar throw Frank out into the street. Marie returns home to the Shabata farm alone and sings of her desire to be close to Emil. Emil enters and they are overcome by their passion for each other. They kiss, and Marie seductively leads Emil into the orchard. Frank arrives home early and finds Marie gone. Drunk and angry, he sings about his desire to have an obedient wife. Suddenly, he sees Emil's hat on the porch and realizes Marie and Emil are together in the orchard. He works himself into a rage, and vows that he will take back his wife. As Marie and Emil are in the orchard slowly undressing each other and beginning to make love, Frank quietly enters and, seeing them together, is frozen in silence for a moment. Suddenly, without thinking, he takes action.
Character List (Major): Marie Shabata, Soprano
Emil Bergson, Tenor
Frank Shabata, Baritone
Anthony Chevalier, Baritone
Angelique Chevalier, Soprano
Character List (Minor):

Bill the Bartender, Baritone
Preacher / Bar Scene Friend, Baritone
Bar Scene Soloist, Tenor
Wedding Scene Soloist, Soprano
Bit Parts: Bar Scene Friend 2, Tenor
Reviews: Center Stage Opera's 'Marie's Orchard' takes a page from Willa Cather - Los Angeles Times 6/8/2011
Video Clip:
Length: 02:23
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: SATB
Orchestration: Flute/Piccolo, Oboe 1, Oboe 2/English Horn, Clarinet 1, Clarinet 2/Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, 2 Horns, 1 Trumpet, 1 Trombone, Timpani, Percussion, Harp and strings
Musical Style: Tonal, Rhythmic, Melodic, Intense.
Contact: Philip Westin Music
Address: 34744 Chinaberry Drive
Winchester, CA 92596
E-mail Address:
Phone: (951) 325-8221
Composer Web Site:
Librettist Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
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