First Bourland chamber opera completed

June 20, 2006

[This is a letter to my overseers for this commission, Tappan Wilder and J. D. McClatchy. I finished the opera today; it’s a CHAMBER opera that is only 15 minutes. There will be a total of three operas, all based on short plays by Thornton Wilder. If you’d like to hear a mockup instrumental version of THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT, click below.]

J. D. McClatchy

J. D. McClatchy.

Dear Sandy and Tappy,

Well, I’ve finished the first chamber opera, and I’ve decided to keep Thornton Wilder’s original title, “Flight into Egypt” even though John Harbison already won a Pulitzer for a piece by the same title. I’ll send you both under a separate cover, the vocal score so that you can watch along with the music. This isn’t “Come to Jesus” in whole notes; this is chamber music, with three opera singers. The piece is an onion type piece, meaning you’ll be able to do a version for the three voices and piano, a version for piano trio and the three voices, and then you can add oboe, clarinet, and bassoon who double the voices to thicken out the orchestration.

We will workshop it in the spring featuring Juliana Gondek as the donkey, Hepzibah, in a chamber music concert next spring at UCLA and then premiere all three the year after that. Let our New York City premiering party (secret) know that the FLIGHT is done and is ready for them to premiere this coming season (2006-7).

I’ll sing it for you next time I see you, until then, let me know what you think. I’ll be in touch with you about the next one.

All best,




Tappan Wilder.

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