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What Magic Reveals | STACY GARROP • COMPOSER

What Magic Reveals

Running time: 17 minutes, 30 seconds
Music by Stacy Garrop
Libretto and Original Story by Jerre Dye

Commissioned by Chicago Opera Theater for the Vanguard Initiative
Composed in 2019

This opera is related to THE TRANSFORMATION OF JANE DOE.
Both operas share about 10 minutes of material.

Theodore Presser Company
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Photo by Eric Kirkes for Chicago Opera Theater

    In 1908, a young girl and her father go to a magic show in Chicago, where there’s more to the act than meets the eye.

    This original story takes place at the Studebaker Theatre on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, and alternates between 1908 and 1920.
    • ABIGAIL (soprano) - daughter of Oskar

    • MAGICIAN'S ASSISTANT (mezzo-soprano) - the memory of the magician’s assistant


    • USHER (tenor)

    • OSKAR (baritone) - father of Abigail

    • MAGICIAN (bass baritone) - the memory of a seasoned showman

    piano (grand piano preferred)
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    Photo by Eric Kirkes
    for Chicago Opera Theater


    Please note that the opera is performed without any breaks. It has been divided below for ease of listening.

    1. No one saw it in the cards
    Chicago, 1920: Abigail, age 20, walks into the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, where she remembers a tragic afternoon when she was 8 years old.

    2. The magician’s marquee
    Chicago, 1908: In her memory, 8-year old Abigail and her father stand in front of the marquee outside the Studebaker, excited to see the French magician Monsieur Francois Miraculeaux and his beautiful assistant.

    3. Death by milk truck
    Chicago, 1920: Abigail reveals the tragic reason her father brought her to the magic show that fateful day.

    4. The magic show
    Chicago, 1908: In her memory, Abigail and her father watch the magician and his assistant perform a number of magic acts. When Abigail sees the assistant, she can’t shake the feeling she’s seen those eyes before.

    5. Vanished…gone…where to?
    Chicago, 1908: In her memory, Abigail asks her father what happened to her mother.

    6. No one saw it in the cards (reprise)
    Chicago, 1920: Abigail reprises her opening aria, wondering why her father concealed her mother’s death from her for so many years.

    Chicago Opera Theater Young Artists:
    Abigail - Samantha Schmid
    Ticket Taker/Magician’s Assistant - Emma Ritter
    Father - John Mathieu
    Usher/Magician - Ryan Stoll
    Piano - Josh Quinn