Alumnus Jules Pegram premieres new opera
USC Thornton alumnus Jules Pegram (BM ’13, Composition) recently composed, produced, and conducted two performances of Higher Ground, a sixty-minute, one act opera with a libretto by North Carolina-based writer Jim Whiteside. Scored for seven principal vocalists, SATB chorus, and chamber orchestra, the opera was fully staged on April 4 & 5, 2018 at the University of Michigan’s McIntosh Theatre in Ann Arbor, where Pegram is currently a doctoral candidate. Through the intimate lens of a family tested by external crisis, the story tackles issues of honor and loyalty, of love’s ability to transcend space and time, and of the true meaning of home.
Thornton alumni featured in the premiere performances of Higher Ground include Thomas Militello (BM ’17, Horn), Mina Hong (BM ’17, Violin), Margaret Hasspacher (MM ’11, Contrabass), and mezzo-soprano Antona Yost (BM ’17, Vocal Arts) in the role of Hattie Fitzgerald, heard below in a haunting performance of the aria “Back in Missouri.”