Composer: Stephen Sondheim
Composer Bio: Award winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim does not consider his musicals to be Broadway Operas but they have been embraced as such wholeheartedly. Blurring the lines between musical theatre and traditional opera, he has written music and lyrics for some of the 20th century’s most important stage works for voice, incorporating both humorous and dark subject matter.

Born into a Jewish family in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Sondheim showed early ability in both music and mathematics. After the departure of his father at age ten, he moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania where he gained an important musical role model, Oscar Hammerstein II. Watching the success of Rodgers and Hammerstein as a teenager and already guided toward musical theatre he studied piano and wrote scripts and scores during his four years at Williams College, earning him a two year composition scholarship studying with avant-garde composer Milton Babbitt.

Sondheim’s breakthrough came with his lyrics to Leonard Bernstein’s musical West Side Story in 1957. The collaboration's success earned him a multitude of creative partnerships before finally writing both the music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1962. Recognized as a master of songwriting he went on to win multiple Tony and Grammy Awards as well as an Academy Award for Best Song and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.
Librettist: Stephen Sondheim
Other Artistic Personnel: Jeremy Sams (Director)
Paul Farnsworth (Set Designer)
Mark Henderson (Lighting Designer)
John A. Leonard (Sound Designer)
Jonathan Tunick (Orchestrator)
Mark W. Dorrell (Musical Director)
Original Cast: Marin Mazzie (Clara)
Jere Shea (Giorgio)
Gregg Edelman (Colonel Ricci)
William Duff-Griffin (Doctor Tambourri)
Francis Ruivivar (Lieutenant Torasso)
Marcus Olson (Sergeant Lombardi)
William Parry (Lieutenant Barri)
Cris Groenendaal (Major Rizzolli)
George Dvorsky (Private Augenti)
Donna Murphy (Fosca)
Linda Balgord (Fosca's Mother)
John Leslie Wolfe (Fosca's Father)
Matthew Porretta (Ludovic)
Juliet Lambert (Mistress)
Premiere Date: May 09, 1994
Producing Company: Plymouth Theatre
Description: Giorgio and his married mistress Clara are found in bed singing of their undying love for each other. Giorgio tells Clara that he must leave Milan; he has been posted to a remote military outpost. When he arrives, Giorgio encounters Fosca, the mentally disturbed, very unattractive cousin of the commanding officer. Discovering that Giorgio is a sensitive man who shares her love of books, Fosca develops an all-consuming passion for him. Through various forms of emotional blackmail, Fosca schemes to entrap Giorgio and make him love her. Invariably, Giorgio keeps succumbing to her scheming. During this time, Giorgio and Clara communicate through love letters. Clara offers to abandon her child for him. Giorgio spurns her offer and returns to Fosca. They share one night together during which Fosca forces Giorgio to write a love letter to her, dictated by her, declaring that they have found true happiness. Drawn into Fosca's obsession, he comes to share it, and it eventually kills them both.
Reviews: The Village Voice, Leighton Kerner, 8-23-94; The Village Voice, Michael Feingold, 5-24-94; The Wall Street Journal, Edwin Wilson, 5-20-94
Comments: On 26 March 1996, a new and revised version of "Passion" opened in London's West End under the direction of Jeremy Sams.
Length: 01:50
Total Acts: Not Available
Orchestration: 5 woodwinds; 2 French horns, trumpet, 2 keyboards, percussion, 5 strings
Musical Style: Tonal; popular style; some speech-song; recurring drum motif
Contact: Music Theatre International
Address: 421 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-541-4684
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
Passion (Sondheim)
Saturday, February 28, 2004 - Minnesota Opera
Passion (Sondheim)
Sunday, April 6, 1997 - Tapestry New Opera Works
Passion (Sondheim)
Friday, September 20, 1996 - Pensacola Opera
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