Press Release: New Opera to Premiere in San Francisco: Howards End, America

Tuesday February 12, 2019 - 10:59:00 AM

In its first-ever adaptation for opera, Howards End has found an American voice. Allen Shearer and Claudia Stevens, creators of the acclaimed Middlemarch in Spring, now bring you the premiere of a bold new opera Howards End, America. The unforgettable characters of the book and Oscar-winning film take on new life, transported to our own shores. Can the lovely, generous Margaret forgive her husband Henry for his sordid relationship with club singer Jacky? Will Charles get away with manslaughter? And what will become of Leonard, a young black poet who courts disaster in a love affair with rich society girl Helen? In a gripping tale of illicit love, racial conflict and real estate set in Boston of the 1950’s, this is a story about us!  

Composer and long-time East Bay resident Allen Shearer writes, "Of my eight operas large and small, this is the only one set in the U.S. Claudia Stevens' libretto transports the story of this famous English novel to our own soil, casting the character of Leonard Bast as an aspiring African-American poet. It's remarkable how well the transfer succeeds, with our ubiquitous racism replacing the rigid British class discrimination of the novel. 

It has been gratifying to be able to incorporate jazz standards by Fats Waller and Gershwin into the score, which also references Beethoven's Ninth. Do come and see for yourself how it all goes together! I promise a memorable experience. 

Howards End, America, a new chamber opera 

Who: composed by Allen Shearer, libretto by Claudia Stevens based on E. M. Forster’s novel Howards End. Conducted by Mary Chun, directed by Philip Lowery, presented by Earplay in partnership with RealOpera 

When: February 22-24, 2019. Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm; Sunday Matinee at 2:00 pm 

Where: Z Space, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco, CA 

How much: general admission, $45; students, seniors, disabled persons, and groups of 8 or more, $30. 

Run Time: 2 hours, plus one intermission 

How to buy: online here or at the Z Space box office beginning one hour before the show.