Delaware Native Returns Home to Play Justice RBG in Scalia/Ginsburg

Jennifer Zetlan sang in her first opera as part of OperaDelaware’s Family Opera Program in 1992.  She has gone on to enjoy a major international career but returned home this month to take on the Notorious RBG in OperaDelaware’s presentation of Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg. 

OperaDelaware’s spring festival, which continues this weekend, includes three works in English that explore law, redemption and unlikely friendships. General Director Brendan Cooke says the shows — all based on current events — will entertain lifelong opera fans as well as newcomers.

Featuring actual lines from the justices’ opinions and speeches and musical nods to Handel, Mozart and Puccini, Scalia/Ginsburg is a charming comic opera about Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. While the two noted Justices were often deeply divided philosophical issues before the court, they, in fact, shared a deep love of opera.

We are so delighted to welcome Jen home to Delaware,” said Cooke.  “She’s an extraordinary artist, and it’s a thrill to have her back on our stage.” 

Scalia/Ginsburg is paired with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury as the lighter side of OperaDelaware’s festival which focuses on themes of law, redemption and unlikely friendships. 

Also on the docket is Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s masterpiece, Dead Man Walking, after the book by Sister Helen Prejean, who attended last weekend’s opening performance. With a musical theater punch compared to West Side Story, Dead Man Walking is about a death row inmate and the nun who becomes his reluctant spiritual adviser.

Trial by Jury and Scalia Ginsburg plays one last time on Friday, May 3, at 7:30 pm.

Dead Man Walking is on Saturday, May 4 at 2 pm.

Also, on Thursday May 2, Jennifer Zetlan can be heard alongside Aleks Romano (who plays Sister Helen in Dead Man Walking) for “Leading Ladies Offstage,” an informal concert of contemporary American music at the OperaDelaware Studio.

Photos by Joe del Tufo of Moonloop Photography

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