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9 weeks till our 50th! Help us celebrate great moments in Seattle Opera history as we approach our golden anniversary. This week, we remember Seattle Opera’s first commissioned opera, Carlisle Floyd’s “Of Mice and Men.” This powerful American drama, based on the well-known Steinbeck story, premiered in Seattle in January 1970 and quickly became one of Floyd’s most often-performed operas. (Seattle Opera also presented his “Passion of Jonathan Wade” in 1993.) A fine recording of a Houston production starring Gordon Hawkins, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Julian Patrick, is available at http://www.albanyrecords.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AR&Product_Code=TROY621-22.
In this excerpt, ranch hands George, Candy, and Slim have discovered the corpse of Curley’s wife—killed inadvertently by Lennie, who doesn’t know his own strength. George sadly takes Slim’s gun and exits, prepared to give his slow-witted best friend a mercy killing before Curley comes for revenge. Old Candy (Archie Drake), his hopes for a better future finally dashed, curses Curley’s wife: “May you rot in hell for what you took from us!” Drake created the role in 1970 and reprised his performance in the 1976 Seattle Opera revival excerpted here, conducted by Richard Buckley.
Photo (William Chapman as George, Donald Collins as Slim, Kathy Knight as Curley’s Wife, and Archie Drake as Candy) by Des Gates.