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date: 22 October 2019

Ballad of Baby Doe, Thelocked

  • Andrew Stiller

Extract

Opera in two acts by Douglas S(tuart) Moore to a libretto by John Latouche; Central City, Colorado, Opera House, 7 July 1956.

Moore had been attracted to the story of Elizabeth ‘Baby Doe’ Tabor as early as 1935 when he read accounts of her being found frozen to death near the abandoned mine where she had maintained a vigil since the death of her husband 36 years earlier. Nonetheless, no opera resulted until the Central City Opera Association suggested that subject in 1953. Following the première, projected revisions were halted by the death of Latouche (August 1956), after one new scene (Act 2 scene ii) and an additional aria for Baby Doe had been added. The revised version was first performed by the New York City Opera on 3 April 1958, with Beverly Sills as Baby Doe.

The complicated story is a true one, though some events have been compressed in time or space. The opera opens outside the Tabor Opera House, Leadville, Colorado, in ...

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