With a sold-out run of four performances, Elmer Gantry, the new American opera
with music composed by Robert Aldridge, director of Montclair State’s John J.
Cali School of Music, and libretto by Herschel Garfein, came to the University
in January. The opera, a coproduction of
Montclair State University and the Nashville Opera, had its world premiere in
Nashville in November 2007 and news of its success there made its Montclair State
debut eagerly anticipated.
Living up to its billing, the Montclair State performances
of Elmer Gantry won rave reviews from
audiences and critics alike. Vivien Schweitzer wrote in The New York Times, “The opera is a tunefully entertaining and
thoughtful piece of theater.” In
addition to praising the professional singers, Schweitzer also lauded the
student performers noting that “the well-rehearsed student chorus sang with
heartfelt conviction,” and “the Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra,
conducted by Paul Hostetter, played with more polish and verve than some
Without a doubt, Elmer Gantry was a highlight of the 2007-2008 Peak Performances@Montclair season and a production that will be talked about for years to come. It was a showcase for the creativity and talent that exists here at Montclair State.