Arlington, VA

Wait — Elvis Costello Wrote An Opera?

This Community Post was written by UrbanArias and underwritten by Washington Workplace.

Elvis Costello wrote an opera? Well — not exactly. Costello wrote a song cycle called The Juliet Letters, and it is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.

I’m Robert Wood, Executive and Artistic Director of UrbanArias, the D.C. area’s contemporary opera company. We’re producing a staged version of The Juliet Letters, Costello’s iconic crossover work, at Signature Theatre on July 11, 12, 13 and 14.

The Juliet Letters is a series of 20 pop/classical fusion songs for voice and string quartet. The songs are a collection of letters that could have been written to or from the fictional Juliet Capulet — love letters, begging letters, Dear John letters, junk mail, suicide notes, pieces of graffiti. Popular D.C. theater director Cara Gabriel has staged the songs in a way that explores how we communicate with each other about love, whether by letter, by text, or even by Ouija board.

We have three young singers whose vocal flexibility will amaze you as they fuse pop idioms with their operatic training: Melissa Wimbish, Aryssa Burrs and Wes Mason. UrbanArias creates works that push the boundaries of opera — everything we produce is in English, is under 90 minutes long and was written in the last 30 years.

We hope you will join us for Elvis Costello’s beautiful music!

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