Zane Grey met his muse in 1906 when he first visited Arizona. His 1912 best-seller, Riders of the Purple Sage, brought the magic of the Southwest to readers around the world. In the documentary film Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera, a new generation of artists turns to Ed Mell, Arizona’s pre-eminent landscape artist, to re-create the soaring mountains, hidden canyons, and sprawling sunsets that bring Zane Grey’s story to life.
The documentary film "RIDERS of the PURPLE SAGE: The Making of a Western Opera" explores Arizona’s artistic influence on Zane Grey, Composer Craig Bohmler, and painter Ed Mell. The film travels from the untamed places that inspired Grey over a century ago to the creative process behind mounting a modern American opera.
The entire opera, RIDERS of the PURPLE SAGE, will be released by the WFMT Radio Network for broadcast nationally on November 25, 2017. As part of the WFMT Radio Network’s American Opera Series, the broadcast, a presentation of Classical Arizona PBS, will be heard in more than 370 markets, on more than 60 stations throughout the United States. Check your local station listings for details. Additionally, the broadcast will be distributed internationally to the European Broadcasting Union, making it available to more than 50 national broadcasters around Europe for broadcasts during 2018.
The documentary is directed by Emmy-Winning filmmaker Kristin Atwell Ford and scheduled for release in 2019. Executive Producers Billie Jo & Judd Herberger. Produced by Quantum Leap Productions in partnership with Arizona Opera. SPECIAL THANKS to Arizona Opera Center, Phoenix Symphony Hall, Scottsdale's Museum of the West, Rim Country Museum & Zane Grey Cabin, Mormon Lake Lodge, Desert Mountain Communities, Navajo National Monument, and Pipe Spring National Monument.
WORLD PREMIERE CAST & CREATIVE TEAM
PRESENTED BY ARIZONA OPERA
Composer Craig Bohmler
Librettist Steven Mark Kohn
Conductor Joseph Mechavich
Stage Director Fenlon Lamb
Scenic Design Ed Mell
Projection Design Jake Pinholster
Costume Design Kathleen Trott
Lighting Design Gregory Allen Hirsch
Co-Producer Kristin Atwell Ford
Executive Producers Billie Jo & Judd Herberger
Sponsored by Dr. Rex and Arlyn Brewster and Frieda Elizabeth Reish
Lassiter: baritones Morgan Smith / Joshua Jeremiah
Jane Withersteen: sopranos Karin Wolverton / Laura Wilde
Bern Venters: tenor Joshua Dennis
Bess: soprano Amanda Opuszynski
Bishop Dyer: bass-baritone Kristopher Irmiter
Elder Tull: baritone Keith Phares
Production and Post provided by Quantum Leap Productions: qlpnow.com
For more on "RIDERS of the PURPLE SAGE: The Making of a Western Opera" visit: ridersoperafilm.com
For more about the opera "RIDERS of the PURPLE SAGE" and how to book it, visit: ridersopera.com
For more on the radio broadcast visit: azopera.org/blog/riders-purple-sage-goes-international