Mrs. President Goes To New York (A Review of The Preview)

Valerie Bernhardt as Victoria Woodhull–Mrs. President (Photo courtesy of Sophia Negron)

Anchorage Opera
Mrs. President, composed by Victoria Bond
A special preview concert
Libretto by Hilary Bell
Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, NY
Monday, July 9th, 2012

This preview of Mrs. President, Victoria Bond‘s opera about women’s equality pioneer Victoria Woodhull that is set to have its official premiere in Anchorage, AK this October, was presented as simply a “Mrs. President in Concert”, with the principal singers performing in concert wardrobe instead of the costumes you’d expect to see for the fully-staged opera, and the music was performed not by an orchestra, but with piano accompaniment by Richard Gordon.
And there was also no chorus. The concert reveals Mrs. President to be sort of a work-in-progress.
Having said this, I’m happy to say that this preview of Mrs. President was far from disappointing. Even the trappings of a non-staged preview of an operatic work don’t necessarily stop the work from revealing its true beauty, and potential vibrancy. Continue reading

Victoria Bond ~ On The New York Preview of Mrs. President and Other Victoria-Related Things

Composer-conductor Victoria Bond had some time to talk to me via Skype about, among other great things in her music history as both a composer and performer, the New York preview of her opera Mrs. President. The official premiere of this piece about the once-controversial historical figure Victoria Woodhull is going to be in Anchorage, Alaska this coming October, but if you are in the New York area next week on Monday, July 9th, at 7:30 PM at Symphony Space, you’ll be able to see this opera first-hand at a special preview performance.

CM: So, the main character of Mrs. President is a real, not a fictional, person?

VB: She is! If you Google Victoria Woodhull, you’ll find she was a very controversial person! She was not one of these lilly-white sufferages, she had very fascinating baggage attached to her name. She ran on the equal rights party ticket in 1872 against Ulysses S. Grant in his second term, and her running mate was Frederick Douglass. A little bit ahead of their time I would say! Continue reading