Overview

The Tender Land is the quintessential American opera composed by Aaron Copland, the Dean of American composers. His music is readily recognizable and speaks of the American landscape. The opera is about a traditional, humble, rural 1930s family suspicious of outsiders and their morals. When two worldly drifters arrive seeking work on the Moss family farm, their daughter Laurie, about to graduate from high school, falls in love with one of them and is torn between her roots and her desire to explore the world. In 1971, David DiChiera mounted a major revival that was conducted by the composer. The March 2016 performances are based on the MOT production.

The New York Times Vivian Schweitzer wrote that the 1930s setting “seems uncannily relevant: Contemporary America is still often touted as a place whose small-town heartland, inhabited by plain-spoken, wary and conservative folk, is framed by cities teeming with deviants and elitists.”

Read more about MOT’s history with the work here.

Patrons’ Reviews

 Study Guides

The Tender Land: An Introduction 

The Tender Land: Study Guide

The Tender Land: Classroom Guide

Community Events

Click here to view upcoming public events related to The Tender Land

Student & Senior Dress Rehearsals

  • Friday, March 11, 2016 – 11:00 a.m. (Macomb Center for the Performing Arts)
  • Friday, March 18, 2016 – 11:00 a.m. (Heinz C. Prechter Center for the Performing Arts)

Student Admission Price: $10 |  Senior Admission Price: $25

For more information on Student and Senior Group Sales or to place an order, please call Jon Rosemond at 313.237.3425 or e-mail: jrosemond@motopera.org

Artists

Angela Theis

Laurie

Soprano Angela Theis will perform several roles this year at Michigan Opera Theatre through her engagement as a Studio Artist, including Laurie in The Tender Land and Papagena in The Magic Flute. Previously, she has appeared with the company as Yvette in The Passenger, Marzelline in Fidelio, Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro, and the High Priestess in Aida. A highlight of her career was when Dr. David DiChiera chose her to sing his compositions at his 2013 Kresge Eminent Artist award presentation and his 2015 tribute concert at the Detroit Opera House. Outside of her native Detroit area, Ms. Theis has performed Adina in L’elisir d’amore and Mabel in Pirates of Penzance (Eugene Opera), Clorinda in La Cenerentola and Frasquita in Carmen (Opera Roanoke), Johanna in Sweeney Todd (Syracuse Opera), and Pamina in The Magic Flute School Programs Tour (The Metropolitan Opera Guild). The Boston Globe praised her for “a bright, bold, and beguilingly sung Zerlina” in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In 2013, Ms. Theis won the Audience Choice Award at the 2013 Meistersinger Competition in Austria. Ms. Theis completed a postgraduate fellowship in Salzburg, Austria, and holds degrees from New England Conservatory and University of Notre Dame.

Angela Theis

Laurie

Joseph Michael Brent

Martin

Tenor Joseph Michael Brent is a member of the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio. His roles in Michigan Opera Theatre’s 2015 -16 season include Martin in Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land, 3rd SS Officer in Mieczysław Weinberg The Passenger, Malcolm in Verdi’s Macbeth, and first armored man in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. In 2015, Mr. Brent made both role and company debuts as Mayor Upfold in the Bronx Opera’s production of Albert Herring, Edgardo in the New York Opera Exchange production of Lucia di Lamermoor, and Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly at the Quisisana Resort. Of his Edgardo Lei, a coauthor of the Allegri con Fuoco blog, said “Tenor Joseph Michael Brent made me weep too, his sound is beautiful, round and tender but also agile and powerful. Brent is truly a romantic hero, with a handsome stage presence and an expressiveness to match.” Mr. Brent also made two concert debuts, adding both Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Mozart’s Requiem to his repertoire. Mr. Brent earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Georgia in the fall of 2014 with a dissertation on selected vocal works of Giovanni Paolo Bottesini. A native New Yorker and proud graduate of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, he holds an undergraduate degree from the conservatory of music at Purchase College SUNY in double bass performance. He was a student of Metropolitan Opera veteran, baritone Frederick Burchinal.

Joseph Michael Brent

Martin

Raehann Bryce-Davis

Ma Moss

Raehann Bryce-Davis (Mezzo Soprano) has been hailed by the The New York Times as a “striking mezzo soprano” that “sang and spoke potently and moved vivaciously.” She is the 2015 winner of the International Hilde Zadek Competition at the Musikverein in Vienna and the Sedat Gürel – Güzin Gürel International Voice Competition in Istanbul.  Young Artist engagements have included Merola Opera Program, Florida Grand Opera (2 seasons), Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Chautauqua Opera.  She holds a Professional Studies Certificate and Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music.

Raehann Bryce-Davis

Ma Moss

Brent Michael Smith

Grandpa Moss

As a Studio Artist with Michigan Opera Theatre this season, Bass Brent Michael Smith has recently sung Colline in La Bohème and 2nd SS Officer in The Passenger. He was an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera this summer, where his performance as Billy Jackrabbit in La fanciulla del West received critical acclaim by Opera News as a “standout.” Colorado Music Buzz praised him for “making the most of his brief appearances.” This year, Brent sang Harry Hopkins in the world premiere of Daron Hagen’s A Woman in Morocco, as a part of Kentucky Opera’s American Opera Initiative, and was an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera where he covered Charles V/The Monk in Don Carlos as well as sang in scenes from FidelioL’italia in Algeri and I Lombardi. In 2014, Brent sang the role Jim Larkens in Kentucky Opera’s production of La fanciulla del West, as well as Doctor Grenvil in their touring production of La Traviata. Additionally he made his debut with Central City Opera, as an Apprentice Artist, singing Antonio in their production of Le nozze di Figaro. Brent sang Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the University of Northern Iowa, where he received his Master of Music degree under the tutelage of John Hines. He received his Bachelor’s in Music in piano performance from Hope College (Holland, MI). While at Hope, he studied voice with Linda Dykstra and sang Harry Easter in Street Scene. Brent is a first-place winner in the Grand Rapids Opera Competition (2012).

Brent Michael Smith

Grandpa Moss

Harry Greenleaf

Top

Baritone Harry Greenleaf, Wixom native and recent graduate of Michigan State University, makes his Michigan Opera Theatre debut in the role of Top.

Harry Greenleaf

Top

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Production Team

Suzanne Mallare Acton

Conductor

Kristine McIntyre

Director

Monika Essen

Production Designer

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