The Cabildo in New Orleans was built in 1799 and served as the place’s town council building up to and after annexation by the United States, ceasing in that function in the 1850s.  This place stands at the center of the history of Louisiana and was the location of the ceremony marking the Louisiana Purchase.

The American composer Amy Beach wrote Cabildo, her only opera in 1932.  Set inside the Cabildo itself, it was never performed in her lifetime, receiving its premiere in 1947.  The only fully-professional production was staged in 1995, and as far as I know, it was not performed again until this past week when Houston-based Opera Vista gave the work’s New Orleans premiere inside the Cabildo itself to rave reception.

For this production, Opera Vista’s Co-Founder and Artistic Director Viswa Subbaraman needed a new score and orchestral parts transcribed from the original manuscript which was nigh-on-illegible.  Yes, it was legible enough (barely) for a transcription to be made, but certainly not for performance, and no orchestral parts could be found.  And while Viswa was the brains behind the editing and final decisions with the new score and parts, he did not have the time to do the grunt-work of transcribing the hundred-page full score or to make the needed parts.

This is where Transpose My Song came in.  Using industry-standard software, I was able to do the many hours of grunt-work Viswa needed to have done.  He then was free to do other things and had more freedom to make the changes and edits necessary to make Cabildo come alive for the audiences of New Orleans.  The performances were a triumph, and I am proud Transpose My Song was able to play a part.

2 Responses to “Cabildo”  

  1. 1 Ian Ragsdale

    That’s a great story, Jeff. I didn’t know the full history behind your work on that opera.

  2. 2 Bob Chapman

    A recording is available on the Delos label (DE 3170) of a May 15, 1995 performance at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in New York City. Ransom Wilson conducts the original cast: Stephen Mo Hanan (Barker), Anthony Dean Griffey (Tom), Charlotte Hellekant (Mary), Eugene Perry (Pierre Lafitte), Paul Groves (Dominique You), Thomas Paul (Gaoler), Lauren Flanigan (The Lady Valerie), the New York Concert Singers, violinist Mark Peskanov, cellist Carter Brey, and pianist Christopher O’Riley.

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