Tri-State Premiere! “Elmer Gantry,” a New American Opera with Music Composed by Robert Aldridge and Libretto by Herschel Garfein at Peak Performances January 23rd through January 27th

Peak Performances 2008 begins with Elmer Gantry, a new opera with music composed by Robert Aldridge and libretto by Herschel Garfein on January 23rd through January 27th. This unique opera is based on the 1927 novel written by Sinclair Lewis. With fundamentalism of every stripe on the global rise, the tale of Elmer Gantry remains relevant. Aldridge and Garfein have created a new opera that walks the line between satire and tragedy.

Elmer Gantry is a co-production between Montclair State University and the Nashville Opera and in this production utilizes the university setting of Peak Performances @ Montclair integrating both students and professionals in the performances. The cast includes Keith Phares as Elmer Gantry, Jennifer Rivera as Sharon Falconer, and Chauncey Packer as Frank Shallard, in addition to other prominent professional singers. Members of MSU choral ensembles as well as selected musicians from the John J. Cali School of Music support the cast in this Tri-State Premiere performance. The conductor of the MSU Symphony Orchestra for these performances is Paul Hostetter and the opera is directed by John Hoomes.

Creators Aldridge and Garfein take a new approach to the novel, which differs from the 1960 film starring Burt Lancaster. The opera echoes the novel in addressing the main issue: religion. Aldridge and Garfein have created their own hymns and religious songs for the opera. For inspiration, they turned to the King James Bible, which Garfein calls “one of the greatest pieces of writing in the English language.”

Tickets for Elmer Gantry are only $15. To order your tickets call the Box Office at 973-655-5112 or order online at Peak Performances @ Montclair: Every Performance, every seat $15.

WNYC is a media sponsor for the 2007/2008 Season of Peak Performances @ Montclair. Peak Performances also acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Elmer Gantry, a New American Opera
Based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis
Peak Performances @ Montclair
Alexander Kasser Theater
Montclair State University
One Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey

Performance Schedule:
Wednesday, January 23rd and Friday, January 25th at 7:30 pm,
Saturday, January 26th at 8pm (All Student Cast)
Sunday, January 27th at 2pm

All tickets: $15, For tickets: 973 655-5112 or visit

Media Contact:

Alfred R. Fredel

Released: December 18, 2007