The new chamber opera, Middlemarch in Spring, based on George Eliot's Middlemarch, by composer Allen Shearer on a libretto by Claudia Stevens, received a high-profile, critically acclaimed premiere in San Francisco in March 2015. The librettist describes the opera's genesis from initial conception of a single scene, that of Dorothea and Celia dividing the jewelry, into a two-hour opera in six scenes and two acts. The challenges in adapting, condensing, and dramatizing a novel of such breadth, richness, and complexity required composer and librettist to work in close collaboration. Stevens discusses the development of her text, working within the constraints of the operatic medium while maintaining the tone and sensibilities of Eliot's language. Certain creative liberties were necessary in order to streamline the narrative and convey the most essential and compelling aspects of the book, enabling an audience uniquely to experience Middlemarch as an opera.

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