Ann Putnam Overture
Ann Putnam was planned as an opera based on the life of one of the central figures in the Salem witch trials of 1692. Work on the opera has been placed on hold so that other more pressing projects may be completed. The only portion of Ann Putnam that has been finalized to date is the overture. The overture presents the two principal influences in Ann’s life: her Puritan faith and the Indian slave woman Tituba. Three themes intertwine to depict the inner turmoil Ann faced. The first theme reflects her tormented soul, while the second represents her Christian faith (the Puritan hymn tune “Martyrs” being used for this theme). In competition with these is a theme which depicts the Barbadian influence of Tituba in Ann’s life that bespeaks a dark and occultic background at odds with her Christian faith. Ann is torn between her enjoyment of Tituba’s tales and the thrill of fortunetelling on the one hand, and her Puritan upbringing that tells her this diversion will doom her soul to hell on the other. At one point all three themes juxtapose to paint the dilemma of her internal struggle. The opera, should it come to be written, hopes to portray the life of Ann Putnam and to seek to understand her motives in accusing so many of her fellow Puritans of the capital crime of witchcraft.
The overture was premiered by the combined orchestras of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and the BNL Symphony Orchestra on 25 February 2012 under the baton of Guy Rumsey. For an mp3 of the Sibelius playback click here. To request a review score, click here.
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