Storrs - posted Nov, 30 2012
STORRS- An idea that was sparked nearly six years ago is about to become a reality as “Always Hope”, an original opera written by Enfield resident Spencer Reese, makes its world premiere. Performances will be held on Dec. 7 and 8 as part of the Headliner Series at The Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. “Always Hope”, composed and directed by Reese is a full length opera set during the Holocaust. Performed in English, the show highlights themes of perseverance and bravery within the setting of a poignant love story. It looks in on the lives of a Jewish mother and daughter as they hide underground in Berlin from Nazi exile. With the help of a Christian postman, the young girl stays in touch with two close friends, and finds that even in a world of hate she can still find love. With messages of enduring hope, unconditional love, and unbounded courage, “Always Hope” is relevant to even the most modern of audiences. Spencer, a lifelong resident of Enfield and valedictorian of Enrico Fermi High School’s class of 2009, has been working on this, his first show, for several years. The title and concept of unending hope was originally inspired by a conductor’s pre-concert talk. As a high school sophomore, Reese was performing at the All State Choir Festival. The conductor used the phrase “There is always hope” in a different context but the sentiment remained in Reese’s mind as he formulated the groundwork for his opera. Over the course of his high school years, he fleshed out the story and characters. During his sophomore year at UConn, he began writing the musical themes and he completed the first draft of the score and libretto the following summer. Performances of “Always Hope” will be presented on Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8 at 7:00 pm at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on the Storrs campus of The University of Connecticut (2132 Hillside Road). Tickets for reserved seating are $10 ($5 for students) and can be purchased online at Jorgensen.uconn.edu, by calling 860-486-4226 or at the door. Parking is available adjacent to Jorgensen at the North Garage.