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July16, 2008

Vol. 108, No. 16

Books and arts


Beverly Schaefer

Photographed onstage during a dress rehearsal, composer Peter Westergaard *56, an emeritus professor of music at Princeton, directed the world premiere of his latest opera, Alice in Wonderland, May 22 in Alexander Hall’s Richardson Auditorium. He had been thinking about writing the work for five decades, explaining that the Lewis Carroll tale made for a good opera because of its “vivid characters” and its “extraordinary world where the rules are all different.” The opera traveled to New York City’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater in Symphony Space June 3–4. A cast of seven played 38 roles and made up the orchestra, playing English handbells (loaned by collector Scott Parry ’54), bird whistles, tambourines, drums, and other percussion instruments. Michael Pratt, of the Princeton University Orchestra and a longtime collaborator with Westergaard, conducted.

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