Rose in Flames

An Opera in Two Acts


Utah Festival Opera presented a workshop of portions of this opera on July 28, 2015.

Duration: 120'

Vocal score available for purchase at Subito Music Distribution. Performance materials available for rental through Subito Music Rental Library.

Librettist: Mark Medoff

Cast List

Synopsis (including audio samples)

Orchestra: 2121 2210 1perc strings

Composer Notes: In this fictional story Rose Wingate and her older brother John move West in the 1870s to escape their memories of the American Civil War. They arrive at the small town of Vida Nueva, where John has been hired to be sheriff. At a town dance outlaw Florentino Ralston behaves rudely, John intervenes, and Florentino kills him in a gunfight. Florentino then declares he will return later to claim Rose.

In a later scene Rose proves she is skilled with a gun, and she publicly challenges Florentino to come face her in a gunfight. When Rose begins to show an interest in Diego Delarosa, the town doctor, Florentino confronts him and threatens to kill him. Rose decides that until either she or Florentino is dead, no one around her is safe.

Mark Medoff and I developed Rose in Flames by reimagining our earlier opera, Sara McKinnon. Audiences responded enthusiastically to university productions of Sara McKinnon in Las Cruces and Boulder, but we decided that we could create a more focused, more powerfully expressive opera by simplifying the story. We reduced the time spent telling the story by focusing on the principal characters, eliminating several secondary characters, and simplifying the plot. This allowed us to increase the time the remaining characters spend showing their feelings by means of expressive singing.