Louise: The Story of A Magdalen

Louise: The Story of A Magdalen

Full length opera in Prologue and Two Acts

Program Notes:

Towards the end of her life, Louise Wooster, a famous Birmingham madam (retired), writes The Autobiography of a Magdalen (publ. 1911).  Still a remarkably beautiful woman, Louise finally accepts the love of Christian Rambow, some years her junior.  The writing process calls up memories of her turbulent past, especially 1860, when John Wilkes Booth visited her regularly in a Montgomery brothel, and 1873, the time of a great cholera epidemic in Birmingham.

Louise’s Aria is from the Prologue to the work and is the first time we gain insight into Louise’s life, past and present.  The lyrics come directly from Autobiography of a Magdalen, and are adapted by librettist Sally M. Gall.

Hattie’s Aria is from the final act of the opera and follows a humorous scene (The Christian Ladies’ Quartet) in which four “church ladies” attempt to persuade Louise to turn over all of her considerable holdings “to Jesus”.  Hattie is Louise’s faithful servant, who has been with her most of her life.  Again, the lyrics are adapted faithfully by Sally M. Gall from Louise’s Autobiography.

Premiere: Unpremiered
Commissioner: Alabama Operaworks