Anna Karenina (Carlson)

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Anna Karenina is an opera in two acts by American composer David Carlson,[1] based on the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, commissioned by Florida Grand Opera to celebrate the 2007 opening of the Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts,[1] co-commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The libretto is by British director Colin Graham, originally contemplated for Benjamin Britten's opera commissioned by the Bolshoi Theatre (the project was cancelled by the British after the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia).[2] Graham was to have directed the original production; after his death only weeks before the opera's opening night,[1] the direction was taken over by Mark Streshinsky. The opera is in two acts with a prologue and an epilogue, lasting just over two hours.

The composer added a new scene to the score for the West Coast premiere at the Opera San José in 2010.[3]


The opera exists in two orchestral versions. The original calls for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes (both doubling English horn), 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons (#2 doubling on contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, three percussionists, harp, celesta, and strings, with off-stage and recorded sounds.

The new version, created for Opera San José in California, re-scored by conductor Bryan Nies, is scored for 2 flutes (#2 doubling on piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, two percussionists, harp, synthesizer/celesta, and strings.


The opera was recorded during the performances by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra performing, led by Stewart Robertson, and was released on the Signum Classics label.

Performance history and roles[edit]

Role Voice type Florida Grand Opera
April 2007
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
June 2007
Opera San José
September 2010
Conductor Stewart Robertson Stewart Robertson Stewart Robertson & Bryan Nies
Stage director Colin Graham & Mark Streshinsky Colin Graham & Mark Streshinsky Brad Dalton
Set designer Neil Patel Neil Patel Steven C. Kemp
Costume designer Robert Perdziola Robert Perdziola Elizabeth Poindexter
Lighting designer Mark McCullough Mark McCullough Kent Dorsey
Anna Karenina soprano Kelly Kaduce Kelly Kaduce Jasmina Halimic & Jouvanca Jean-Baptiste
Alexei Karenin bass-baritone Christian van Horn Christian van Horn Kirk Eichelberger & Isaiah Musik-Ayala
Alexei Vronsky baritone Robert Gierlach Robert Gierlach Krassen Karagiozov & Torlef Borsting
Kitty soprano Sarah Coburn Sarah Coburn Khori Dastoor
Levin tenor Brandon Jovanovich Brandon Jovanovich Michael Dailey & Alexander Boyer
Dolly mezzo-soprano Christine Abraham Christine Abraham Betany Coffland & Tori Grayum
Agafia mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias Rosalind Elias Heather McFadden
Lydia mezzo-soprano Dorothy Byrne Dorothy Byrne Kindra Scharich
Stiva tenor William Joyner William Joyner Christopher Bengochea & Michael Mendelsohn
Betsy mezzo-soprano Josepha Gayer Josepha Gayer Megan Stetson
Prince Yashvin baritone Corey Crider Nicolas Pallesen Paul Murray
  • Various spoken roles

The opera is published by Carl Fischer Music, New York.


  1. ^ a b c Schweitzer, Vivien (30 April 2007). "New York Times Opera Review: Anna Karenina". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  2. ^ Michael Vaughn (11 September 2010). "The Opera Critic Reviews". Anna Karenina has the sweep of an epic film. The Opera Critic. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Opera San José – Press Room". Press Release. Opera San José. 14 July 2010. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011.