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Chamber Opera Addressing Gun Violence to Receive World Premiere at UC San Diego

Narucki and LiangProduced by Grammy Award-winning soprano Susan Narucki, “Inheritance” uses legendary story of Sarah Winchester to spark discussion about guns in today’s culture

Grammy Award-winning soprano and Department of Music faculty member Susan Narucki presents the world-premiere chamber opera “Inheritance” at UC San Diego, using the legendary story of Sarah Winchester to address gun violence in the United States.

Narucki will portray Winchester, the eccentric widow and rifle-company heir who was self-imprisoned in her California mansion, haunted by the spirits of those killed by the firearms that made her family’s fortune. “Inheritance” interweaves Winchester’s story with events from contemporary life, asking complex questions about complicity, atonement and gun control in our society.

“The story of Sarah Winchester, regardless of the way in which our culture has altered it over time, is the perfect way for us as musicians and artists to explore the deeper discussion of gun violence and the prevalence of guns in our culture today,” Narucki said. “Yes, the issue is immediate — and one that prompted us to develop this piece in the first place — but we owe it to each other to think broadly on the topic, which is as complex and nuanced as Sarah herself.”

Costume sketch

Lei Liang of the Department of Music composed the original score, with libretto by poet Matt Donovan of Smith College. The chamber opera’s production design, including costumes, set and extensive video footage, were created by artist Ligia Bouton of Mount Holyoke College. UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music and Reed Family Presidential Chair Steven Schick serves as music director, and Cara Consilvio serves as stage director, with lighting design by Mary Ellen Stebbins.

Co-presented by the Department of Music and ArtPower at UC San Diego, “Inheritance” runs for three performances only: Oct. 24, 26 and 27 in the Experimental Theater at the UC San Diego Conrad Prebys Music Center.

Read the full story on the UC San Diego News Center.


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