A Real Horse Opera

ed mell painting riders of the purple sage
Poster for “Riders of the Purple Sage” created by Ed Mell.

History was made when a real, live horse opera based on Zane Grey’s immortal classic, “Riders of The Purple Sage” premiered in Phoenix at Symphony Hall on February 25th, 2017.  The $1.1 million dollar production was created by Craig Bohmler and librettist Steven Mark Kohn, and featured gigantic landscapes by local artist Ed Mell, which were projected on an enormous LED screen. Bohmler’s score was obviously inspired by classic Western film themes, and it worked beautifully. This was a first for Arizona Opera and it’s mighty sweet. I ripped off their poster art, above, but I cleared it with Ed (full disclosure: Ed and I shared studio space for six years in the eighties).

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