Peabody faculty artist Joel Puckett has been commissioned to write an opera for the Minnesota Opera as part of its New Works Initiative. The Black Sox Scandal will premiere as part of the opera company's 2018-2019 season.
Puckett's work tells the story of one of the most notorious sports scandals in American history. The 1919 Chicago White Sox were arguably one of the best teams in the history of baseball, but they were also poorly paid and perpetually at odds with their penny-pinching owner. Resentment, revenge, and ambition gone awry prompted eight players (including Shoeless Joe Jackson) to conspire with gamblers and throw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The Black Sox Scandal is a tragic tale of mythic proportions, ripe with greed, power, romance, and redemption, all set against the backdrop of America's favorite pastime.
Puckett has been named by National Public Radio listeners as one of their favorite composers under the age of 40 and hailed by The Washington Post as both "visionary" and "gifted." The Baltimore Sun proclaimed his work for the Washington Chorus and Orchestra, This Mourning, as "being of comparable expressive weight" to John Adams' Pulitzer Prize-winning work.
In addition to Puckett's world premiere, the National Endowment for the Arts has granted $75,000 to support the world premiere of The Manchurian Candidate by faculty artist Kevin Puts in March 2015. Puts won a Pulitzer Prize for music for his first opera, Silent Night, which received its world premiere at the Minnesota Opera in November 2011.