Rhodes Music Faculty to Perform the World Premiere of a New Opera in New York

image of two college professors
William Skoog (left) and Thomas Bryant

Rhodes College music faculty and guests will perform the world premiere of Sohrab and Rustum in New York City on Oct. 10. The one-act opera is written by award-winning New York composer Lucas Mason, who will attend the performance.

Adapted from a 10th-century Persian epic poem, Sohrab and Rustum is the story of Rustom and his son Sohrab, who are leaders of opposing armies. It is not until they engage in combat that they learn the truth about each other.

The cast will present an hour-long concert of excerpts from the opera beginning at 2 p.m. at the Marc A. Scorca Hall, National Opera Center. Sponsored by the Springfield Music Lecture Series at Rhodes College, the performance is free and open to the public, and COVID-19 protocols will be observed.
William Skoog, professor of music and choral director at Rhodes, serves as conductor/artistic director for the performance, and Thomas Bryant, associate professor of music and piano coordinator, is co-music director.

“I have known Lucas Mason, an esteemed and award-winning composer, for almost 30 years, having conducted a number of his beautiful works,” says Skoog. “His music is new and fresh and has neo-Romantic qualities. His vocal lyricism, particularly in his arias and duets, is where his real genius is heard. It is our great pleasure and honor to perform a world premiere of excerpts from this opera, which he has never heard. As Lucas is now 90 years old, this is a special performance indeed. It is free and open to the public in case you are in New York this weekend.”
The cast includes:
Sohrab: William Compton, tenor, section leader, Rhodes MasterSingers Chorale

Rustum:  Marcus King, baritone, music faculty, Rhodes College

Queen Elena:  Carole Blankenship, soprano, music faculty and chair, Rhodes College

Dalnod: Narrator: Patrick Jones, baritone, section leader, Rhodes MasterSingers Chorale

Rasta: Elena’s assistant, Jayne Skoog, soprano (and sister of William Skoog)

On Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m., the cast will give another free public performance of the opera at Rhodes in McNeill Concert Hall.