Margaret Garner
Composer: Richard Danielpour
Librettist: Toni Morrison
Other Artistic Personnel: Stefan Lano (Conductor)
Kenny Leon (Stage Director)
Cynthia Stokes (Assistant Director)
Marjorie Bradley Kellogg (Scenic Designer)
Paul Tazewell (Costume Designer)
Duane Schuler (Lighting Designer)
Original Cast: Denyce Graves (Margaret Garner)
Angela M. Brown (Cilla - Cincinnati & Philadelphia)
Jessye Norman (Cilla - Detroit)
Gregg Baker (Robert Garner)
Rod Gilfry (Edward Gaines)
Roger Honeywell (Auctioneer)
John Mac Master (Casey)
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: May 07, 2005
Producing Company: Michigan Opera Theatre
Description: When Edward Gaines acquires his deceased brother’s Kentucky estate, he pledges to let all the slave families on Maplewood Plantation stay together. However, when he takes a special interest in one of the slaves, Margaret Garner, it is not long before her husband Robert is sent away alone to another plantation. One night, Robert sneaks back to Maplewood and attempts to escape with Margaret and their children to the ‘Free State’ of Ohio. They are caught and Margaret murders her children in a crime passionel to spare them the indignity of a life of slavery. Margaret is condemned to death and although she is granted clemency at the last minute, she chooses the freedom of the gallows over life as a slave.

(Courtesy of G. Schirmer)
Character List (Major): Margaret Garner(mz)
Robert Garner(lyr bar)
Cilla(dram s)
Edward Gaines(lyr bar)
Character List (Minor): Casey(t)
Caroline Gaines(lyr s)
George Hancock(t)
Auctioneer & Judge 1(lyr t)
Slave Catchers(8 t, 8 bar from chorus)
Foreman & Hangman(non-singing)
Judges(t, b, b-bar from chorus)
Militia Officers(2 non-singing)
Margaret's Children(2 non-singing)
Reviews: Russell Platt, New York Observer; Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times; Mary Ellyn Hutton, Cincinnati Post; George Loomis, Financial Times (London); Paula Citron, Toronto Globe and Mail; Pierre Ruhe, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; William Littler, Toronto Star; Janelle Gelfand, The Cincinnati Enquirer; Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press; Donald Rosenberg, The Cleaveland Plain Dealer; David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal; Bernard Holland, The New York Times; Lawrence B. Johnson, Detroit News; Dag Ryen, Lexington Herald-Leader
Comments: The highly anticipated result of a landmark collaboration between Grammy Award winning composer Richard Danielpour and Nobel Proze winning author Toni Morrison, Margaret Garner is destined to be one of the opera events of the decade. Conducted by Stfan Lano and directed by Kenny Leon, the opera features an extraordinary cast, including Denyce Graves, Rodney Filfry, Gregg Baker, Jessye Norman (Detroit), and Angela Brown (Cincinnati and Philadelphia). Margaret Garner is based on the true story of a fugitive slave's quest for freedom, and the tragic decision she made to scrifice the lives of her children to save them from slavery. The opera conveys, through the universal language of music, a positive message about how one woman achieved a powerful, spiritual inner freedom. Margaret Garner will receive its World Premiere at Michigan Opera Theatre's Detroit Opera House on May 7, 2005, with subsequent performances by co-commissioners Cincinnati Opera in July 2005 and Opera Company of Philadelphia in February 2006.
Length: 02:45
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: SATB Black Chorus (32 voices), SATB White Chorus (40 voices)
Orchestration: 3 fl(picc), 2 ob(Eng Hrn), 3 cl(bcl), 3 bsn(cbn) - 4 hrn, 3 tpt(Ctpt), 2 tbn(btbn), 1 tba - timp, 3 perc - hp, pf(cel) - str(min 10vln1, 8 vln2, 6vla, 6 vc, 5 db)
Musical Style: American mix of spirituals, gospel, jazz and folk set tonally, vibrantly and lyrically.
Contact: Associated Music Publishers, Inc.
Address: 257 Park Avenue South, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10010
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-254-2100
Publisher Web Site:
Audio Visual Materials
Cincinnati Opera/Opera Company of Philadelphia

The Opera Fund Awardee Information
Award Category: 2004 Repertoire Development Consortium
Project Name: Margaret Garner
Awardee: Cincinnati Opera Association
Director: Bill T. Jones
Conductor: Stefan Lano
Award Category: 2005 Audience Development Project
Awardee: Cincinnati Opera Association
Director: Kenny Leon
Award Category: 2005 Audience Development Project
Awardee: Opera Company of Philadelphia
Director: Kenny Leon
Schedule of Performances Listings
Margaret Garner (Danielpour)
Saturday, October 18, 2008 - Michigan Opera Theatre
Margaret Garner (Danielpour)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - New York City Opera
Margaret Garner (Danielpour)
Thursday, April 20, 2006 - Opera Carolina
Margaret Garner (Danielpour)
Friday, February 10, 2006 - Opera Philadelphia
Margaret Garner (Danielpour)
Thursday, July 14, 2005 - Cincinnati Opera
Margaret Garner (Danielpour)
Saturday, May 7, 2005 - Michigan Opera Theatre
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