February 20, 23, 26, 28, 2016
Composed by Ricky Ian Gordon; Libretto by Royce Vavrek
NEW PRODUCTION. Spotlighting LARGER THAN LIFE novelist, poet, playwright, and Pittsburgh native Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas, 27 will delight you with Ricky Ian Gordon's "tuneful score" and Royce Vavrek's "quick-witted libretto." It's a humorous and touching snapshot of the women's shared lives at 27 Rue de Fleurus, and their very famous visitors, including Picasso, Hemingway, and Matisse. Capacity is very limited; order now.
• Sung in the original English with projected English titles
• All performances at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters
► Contains adult language
► See more 27 videos at our YouTube channel.
Previews, Reviews and related stories involving 27
- NewMusicBox.org interviews librettist Royce Vavrek
- NEXTpittsburgh previews 27
- Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents interview Ricky Ian Gordon
- WQED-FM podcast interview with Adelaide Boedecker, who sings Alice Toklas
- WQED-FM podcast interview with Laurel Semerdjian, who sings Gertrude Stein
- WQED-FM podcast interview with Jennifer Williams, stage director
- WQED-FM podcast interview with Mark Trawka, Director of Musical Studies and Chorus Master
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette preview article, with interviews with Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek
- Tribune Review preview article, including an interview with Ricky Ian Gordon
- Essential Pittsburgh on WESA 90.5 FM podcast interview with Laurel Semerdjian and Adelaide Boedecker
- Tribune Review review - Pittsburgh Opera production about Gertrude Stein a winner
- Pittsburgh In The Round - "27"
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette review - Pittsburgh Opera creates a Parisian salon in the Strip
- City Paper review
Thanks to our sponsors and partners
Season Sponsor: PNC
Season Media Sponsor: WQED-FM
Supported in part by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
Supported in part by Allegheny Regional Asset District
Proud member of Opera America
Official Chocolatier: Sarris Candies
Film Series Partner: Pittsburgh Filmmakers
The 27 Cast
The 27 Creative Team
Conductor Mark Trawka
Stage Director Jennifer Williams *
Set Designer Julia Noulin-Mérat
Lighting Designer Todd Nonn
Associate Coach/Pianist James Lesniak
Hair & Makeup Designer Nicole Pagano
Costume Designer Richard Parsakian
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni
We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!
- View or download our Study Guide for 27 (PDF), created by our Education department
- Run time for 27 is 95 minutes, with no intermission
- Understand Every Word: Supertitles shown at all performances
- Meet the composer and librettist at Saturday's performance
- Please note: there are NO Pre-Opera Talks for 27 on Tuesday, Friday or Sunday.
- Audio Description available at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters
- Braille Programs available at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters
- Large-Print Programs available at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters
Alice B. Toklas sits in her living room at 27 Rue de Fleurus in Paris, and conjures the world she shared with Gertrude Stein by knitting the memories of their past back to life.
Gertrude enters the salon and invites her guests to peruse her collection, praising the genius of the artists, as Alice attends to everyone. Pablo Picasso reveals his own portrait of Gertrude in a ceremony that is met with disdain by Leo Stein and a bit of jealousy by Henri Matisse. Leo announces he is moving to Italy, and storms out. Gertrude and Alice toast his departure and sing of the ringing bells of genius that celebrate their love.
Gertrude and Alice weather the First World War in Paris. Gertrude continues to write as the cold sets in and food becomes scarce. An American doughboy stationed in Paris becomes a friend, and provides them with coal and cigarettes, but fails to return with sought-after eggs. Another boy is added to the tally of the lost generation.
After the war, Gertrude’s attention shifts from painters to writers, now welcoming the likes of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the photographer Man Ray. Ernest and “Scotty” are desperate for Gertrude’s endorsement, so she encourages them to wrestle for her attention – she will announce the winner a genius. As the next war approaches, the writers are expelled from the salon.
Gertrude and Alice survive the Second World War by sacrificing paintings. Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude preys on her conscience, asking her to explain how a Jewish-American authoress survived Nazi-occupied France. The guilt eats away at her, and she dies in Alice’s arms.
Alice, now alone, is surprised by the return of Picasso. Together they say goodbye to the portrait of Gertrude as it is being shipped to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Picasso sketches an image of Gertrude for Alice as the bells of genius and love chime once more.
- Courtesy of the composer and librettist, freely edited
On opening night Pittsburgh Opera was proud to host composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist Royce Vavrek. They gave a special pre-opera talk about the creation of 27, and mingled with ticket holders after the sold-out performance at the cast party. Excerpts of their talk, and photos from the party, are below.
Our Facebook photo album from the night is below.