HomeOperaMeet the Librettist: Mark Campbell

Meet the Librettist: Mark Campbell

Mark Campbell and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs team accepting their GRAMMY Award
Mark Campbell and The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs staff, together with composer Mason Bates and Edward Parks who performed Jobs, with their GRAMMY Award at Microsoft Theater in L.A. Photograph: LA Instances

By: Angelica DiIorio

In 2012, Mark Campbell was working at an promoting studio in a windowless room in Lengthy Island Metropolis, New York when he acquired an electronic mail that modified his life. Whereas Campbell’s 2004 work creating the libretto for John Musto’s full-length opera Volpone had been praised, his profession was not but centered on music. That fateful day in 2012, he acquired an electronic mail informing him that Kevin Places’ Silent Evening, for which he wrote the libretto, received the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Writing lyrics and librettos had been an curiosity for Campbell, however this second allowed him to completely embrace a profession as a librettist.

Expertise Campbell’s work dwell this February & March on the Ellie Caulkins Opera Home>>

The Street to Success

Album artwork for the Silent Night opera
Silent Evening: An Opera in Two Acts. Picture: Invoice Holab Music

Campbell graduated from College of Colorado at Boulder with a level from the Division of Theatre and Dance. He didn’t wish to be an actor without end and commenced writing lyrics for musicals, however he was unsure in regards to the route musical theater was taking. Later, Campbell found a love for opera, however his spectacular profession of making thirty-nine opera librettos, writing lyrics for seven musicals, and growing the textual content for six music cycles and three oratorios was not created in a single day.

Quickly after leaving his day job, Campbell labored with composer Kevin Places once more to create The Manchurian Candidate, which premiered with the Minnesota Opera in 2015, in regards to the paranoia of post-Chilly Conflict America. Amongst his many works, he went on to win a GRAMMY® Award for Finest Opera Recording for The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs in 2018 and acquired a lot reward the next 12 months for Stonewall, an opera commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion.


“Language isn’t valuable: construction and story are valuable. Language is adaptable.” – Mark Campbell


Mark Campbell sits for an interview with the artwork for Stonewall in the background.
Mark Campbell speaking about Stonewall at Construct Studio on June 17, 2019, in New York Metropolis. Photograph: Billboard

Creating The Shining

Librettist Mark Campbell with composer Paul Moravec
Mark Campbell with Paul Moravec. Photograph: The Shining Opera web site

In the midst of all his success, Campbell partnered with Paul Moravec to create the libretto for The Shining, which premiered with the Minnesota Opera in 2016. He explains in a observe in regards to the manufacturing he was apprehensive about utilizing this story to create an opera. Nonetheless, studying the guide shortly dispelled any issues as he noticed its dramatic potential.

A part of the creation strategy of the opera concerned getting the libretto authorised by Stephen King himself. Any nerves or issues surrounding receiving approval had been shortly appeased, as Campbell acquired approval from King inside twenty-four hours! The libretto’s success is not any shock as Campbell is meticulous along with his wording. Whereas writing the lyrics to a selected aria in The Shining, he was feeling uncertain, so he wrote three completely different variations for Moravec to decide on between. Campbell’s flexibility is greatest defined in his personal phrases from an interview with Bachtrack: “Language isn’t valuable: construction and story are valuable. Language is adaptable.”

Whereas we at Opera Colorado are excited to current The Shining, this isn’t the primary libretto of Campbell’s we now have produced. In 2017 we introduced As One, an opera following the lifetime of a transgender girl, which he created with composer Kimberly Reed. Expertise a part of this manufacturing in OC Archives: Kelly Markgraf in As One (2017).

The Street Ahead for Campbell

Advocacy is important to Campbell’s life and work. In April 2020, he partnered once more with Paul Moravec to create Mild Shall Carry Us, bringing collectively over 100 opera singers in a digital efficiency to share hope and solidarity through the pandemic. Watch the efficiency>>>

Moreover, Campbell mentors younger writers by means of tasks like American Opera Initiatives, Washington Nationwide Opera’s American Opera Initiative, American Lyric Theatre, the College of Colorado’s New Opera Workshop, and Opera Philadelphia’s Composer-in-Residence Program. By his work, we hope the up-and-coming librettists of at the moment shall be impressed to depart their day jobs and comply with their ardour, similar to Campbell.

Now that you’ve met Mark Campbell, expertise his work in motion. Come see The Shining and listen to the phrases of Campbell for your self. Tickets on sale now>>

Have you ever heard any of Campbell’s different creations? What are your favourite items? Who’re a few of your favourite residing American librettists? Tell us within the feedback beneath!




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