“I am a lucky man. Time has been kind to me! Well, mostly kind…”

Preview

Language: 
English (Subtitles : French and English)
Duration: 
2H10
Intermission: 
1

Summary

An intimate and poetic drama about a man who changed the destiny of 20th century America. A spectacular work… moving music and a libretto with a few smiles to help illuminate the tears…

In a hotel room, twelve hours before the gunfire rings out in Dallas, Jack (John F.) and Jackie drift in and out of hallucinatory dreams, taking them to various times and places. The dreams explore the innermost struggles of these fragile humans, as their tragic fate swiftly approaches.

 

Multimedia

Musical excerpts

JFK - Musical excerpts

Composer

David T. Little  >

David T. Little is “one of the most imaginative young composers” on the scene, a “young radical” (The New Yorker), with “a knack for overturning musical conventions” (The New York Times).

Stage Director

Thaddeus Strassberger  >

 "Few young stage directors in opera have demonstrated an intellectual drive to match Thaddeus Strassberger's." 
- Opera News 'Opera's Next Wave' Feature

Cast

Sets Thaddeus Strassberger / Costumes Mattie Ullrich / Lighting Chad R. Jung / Orchestre symphonique de Montréal / Opéra de Montréal Chorus / Production Fort Worth Opera

Commissioned by Fort Worth Opera, Darren K. Woods, General Director; American Lyric Theater, Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director; and l’Opéra de Montréal

Commission underwritten by Linda H. & Richard N. Claytor, Ph.D. for Sophie.Historical research provided by William Madison. Dramaturgical support by Michael Cohen and Cori Ellison. Russian translations by Vita Tzykun.

Synopsis

  • Synopsis

    Restless in the Presidential Suite at the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, as two of the three fates guide the Kennedys toward the impending tragedy—a third fate awaits in Dallas—they drift into sleep. In vivid dream states—both natural and narcotic—the opera explores the subconscious of this complicated couple, examining their physical and emotional pain, their joy and love, and their metamorphosis into American myth.

  • A note about the work

    JFK delves into the hours President John F. Kennedy spent in Fort Worth, Texas immediately before his assassination in Dallas. This new grand opera explores the inner life of the President and Mrs. Kennedy during their final moments together. While we conducted extensive background research into these figures and events, the opera is not a historic document and does not depict the assassination. As with our chamber opera, Dog Days, this work departs as far from reality as the truth requires.

    Drawing on real details of the Kennedys' final night, the opera uses dreams to create an imaginary time and space, allowing the couple to revisit those who helped to shape their personal and political lives. Jack travels to the moon with his sister Rosemary, where he spars with political rivals, and relives his courtship of the demure Jacqueline. Jackie sings a duet with her future self, Jacqueline Onassis, who dresses her in her iconic pink Chanel suit, assuring her that she has a part to play in the day’s proceedings. Time is flexible in this drama; fate is not.

    JFK is a portrait of a precipice. The fleeting moments of hope before a cosmic page turned, optimism faltered, and America was forced into a new and uncertain era.  The opera is a portrayal of the man as we project our hopes, dreams and fears upon him.  It explores the sense of profound loss we still feel.  It presents the innermost struggles of a fragile human, fated to an early demise, as time presses ever forward.  And though the opera identifies with the emotions of President and Mrs. Kennedy, it is also our story.  Drawing us ever closer to our destinies, and of that final moment, real or imagined.

    David T. Little, composer and Royce Vavrek, librettist