Mabel’s Call (2018)

Opera for 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass-baritone, and optional SATB chorus, with flute, oboe, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, and double bass. 90 mins.

A chamber opera in one act inspired by the life of Mabel Dodge Luhan: an early 20th century writer, philanthropist, and international icon of the avant-garde.

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Performance & Development History

Full-length Workshop Production presented by University of New Mexico, UNM Opera Theatre at Keller Hall, Albuquerque NM, 11/02 through 11/04/18.

Excerpts (20 minutes) from piano-vocal score presented in Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers showcase. Megan Koch, soprano; Heather Weirich, mezzo-soprano; Sam Parkinson, baritone; and Emily Urbanek, piano. Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth, TX, 5/3/18.

Summer 2017 Artist Residency at The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Taos NM.

Conversation and video screening of excerpts from Mabel’s Call with Nell Shaw Cohen, moderated by author Lois Rudnick, in celebration of Taos’s annual Mabel Dodge Luhan Day. Harwood Museum of ArtTaos NM, 6/18/17.

Excerpts (20 mins) from piano-vocal score presented in “Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes” program produced by American Opera Projects. Tookah Sapper, soprano; Blake Friedman, tenor; Kyle Guglielmo, baritone; and Mila Henry, piano. South Oxford Space in Brooklyn, NY, 9/29/16 and The National Opera Center in New York NY,  10/02/16.

Excerpts (40 mins) from piano-vocal score presented in workshop reading, in conjunction with exhibit Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West. Shelley Jackson, soprano; Andre Garcia-Nuthmann, tenor; Carlos Archuleta, baritone; and Kristin Ditlow, piano.  Harwood Museum of Art, Taos NM, 8/12/16.

Summer 2016 Artist Residency at The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Taos NM.

Aria Tony Teaches Me (ca. 4 mins) performed by Tookah Sapper, soprano, and Charity Wicks, piano, on “Composers & the Voice: First Glimpse” presented by American Opera Projects. South Oxford Space, Brooklyn NY, 5/13 & 5/14/16.

Press Clippings

The Taos News, “Mabel’s Call to debut” on University of New Mexico workshop production. (11/01/18)

KUNM Radio, “UNM Opera Looks At A New Mexico Maverick” on University of New Mexico workshop production. (10/31/18)

Albuquerque Journal, “Mabel Dodge Luhan focus of UNM opera” on University of New Mexico workshop production. (10/29/18)

THE COLUMN, Review of Frontiers showcase at Fort Worth Opera, featuring Mabel’s Call. (5/07/18)

Fort Worth Star-Telegram“Two women and 207,000 baguettes. Here’s what else is new on the ‘Frontiers’ opera scene” on Mabel’s Call in Forth Worth opera’s Frontiers showcase . (4/26/18)

Broadway World, “Six Composer-Librettist Teams Selected for Fort Worth Opera’s Diverse 2018 Showcase” on selection of Mabel’s Call for Frontiers showcase. (3/16/18)

The Taos News, “Mabel’s life in song: New chamber opera explores the early Taos life of Mabel Dodge Luhan” on Mabel’s Call presentation at the Harwood Museum of Art. (6/15/17)

The Taos News, “Mabel Dodge Luhan, as operatic vision” on Mabel’s Call at the Harwood Museum of Art. (8/11/16)

The Mabel Dodge Luhan House Blog, “Mabel Dodge Luhan Inspires Nell Shaw Cohen Opera” on Mabel’s Call workshop concert at the Harwood Museum of Art. (8/10/16)

New Mexico Magazine, “Creator of Creators” on Mabel Dodge Luhan exhibit at the Harwood Museum of Art, with reference to Mabel’s Call. (May ’16)


On Frontiers showcase at Fort Worth Opera: “The most mysterious and probably most affecting of the three works was Mabel’s Call, an opera whose trio of excerpts were so subtle and arresting they exemplified a sort of waking-dream feeling Nell Shaw Cohen’s characters each seemed to be lost in.” —Ryan Maffei, THE COLUMN

On workshop at Harwood Museum: [Mabel’s Call] was a triumph of beauty, power, and art. To live to see this was a gift from the muse of music. We wept…Nell Shaw Cohen will take this opera all the way to the top!” —Lois Rudnick, Biographer of Mabel Dodge Luhan