30 Apr New videos from “Heartbreak Express”
I’m excited to share two videos from the recent Rhymes With Opera presentation of Heartbreak Express in Concert, this opera that I’ve been writing with my friend John Clum as librettist.
Heartbreak Express is a chamber opera in two acts. The opera follows four Dolly Parton super-fans waiting to meet their idol for the first time. Sisters Darlene and LuAnne entered an essay contest and won the chance to meet Dolly Parton in person. Darlene thinks that this encounter with Dolly will change their lives for the better, but LuAnne is not so sure. Longtime partners Don and Travis have amassed a huge collection of Dolly memorabilia. They poured their life savings into making a new Dolly doll, and came to get Dolly’s blessing to manufacture the new dolls. A fifth character – Dolly’s assistant – has grown numb to both the star and the unending queue of fans who make the pilgrimage to meet her in person. Act 1 introduces the four fans as they meet in the waiting room before their encounter with Dolly, and Act 2 is an extended quintet where the characters describe their life-changing encounters with the superstar.
“Really, LuAnne!” and “You Are My Everything” (Act 1)
At the opening to Act 1, we meet sisters Darlene and LuAnne. In their butterfly costumes, LuAnne reveals to Darlene her misgivings about their meeting with Dolly Parton. “You Are My Everything” is a quartet for Darlene, LuAnne, Don and Travis. Darlene sees Don and Travis and calls them “sissies”. As Travis confronts her, they both gradually realize their shared love for Dolly and their excitement in meeting her for the first time.
“The Photographer Made A Quiet Exit” (Act 2)
“The Photographer Made A Quiet Exit” finds LuAnne and Travis after their meeting with Dolly Parton. LuAnne recalls how Dolly consoled her after Darlene inexplicably left the room, and Travis describes how the real Dolly Parton did not live up to his expectations.