IMMIGRATION AND MOB JUSTICE IN AMERICA

WORK in PROGRESS

The action takes place in New Orleans in late 1890 and early 1891: “Piccola Palermo” (the Sicilian ghetto), Charity Hospital, the Orleans Parish Prison, on Girod Street, at the statue of Henry Clay on Canal Street, and at Hennessy’s Funeral at St. Joseph’s Church. The events depicted are presented in chronological order over two different timelines: those of Hennessy and Polizzi. Similar events in these different timelines are juxtaposed to emphasize causality and interconnectedness.

Full Synopsis - click image to view

Complete Treatment - click image to view

Prologue

The COUNCIL OF FIFTY (Chorus) directly addresses the Sicilian immigrant population of New Orleans. This body is a secretive council of citizens tasked to collect evidence and information pertaining to the assassination of Police Chief DAVID C. HENNESSY.  They are a mixture of "silk stocking" gentility, and bare-knuckle hostility.

Libretto - click image to view

Piano/vocal score - click image to view

MIDI realization - click to listen

First Scene

DAVID HENNESSY and BILL O’CONNOR come to a crossroad and bid each other good night.  A moment’s calm is broken by the reports of shotguns and pistols, Several men race across the stage with a bloody Hennessy in pursuit.  He fires, collapses and yells for help. O’Connor comes running, asking who the assailants were. Hennessy whispers into his ear.

Libretto - click image to view

Piano/vocal score - click image to view

MIDI realization - click to listen

Second Scene - Part One

In “Piccolo Palermo” MAMA, ZIA, and CATARINA are in an interior courtyard of a tenement building, the sounds of the Sicilians (Chorus) are heard offstage. IANIA ROMA enters, asking below if they have seen her husband, “Manni."

 

MAMA and ZIA retire. CATARINA attacks IANIA about her crazy husband and how she clings to the old world. IANIA fires back, calling her sister a coward who is ashamed of her heritage. CATARINA storms off.  Alone, IANIA admits to herself that her fear is becoming greater that her hope.

Libretto - click image to view

Piano/vocal score - click image to view

MIDI realization - click to listen

Second Scene - Part Two

EMANUELLE POLIZZI enters, with a bundle under his arm. Delicately, Iania questions him. He tries to allay her fears, but admits that bleak thoughts have been creeping in again. Polizzi shifts the bundle and a gun falls out.

 

Iania is alarmed. Polizzi hesitates, then says that he found it in the street. He decided to take it so that he could be strong and protect her. Hastily, he stuffs the gun back in the bundle and they enter the tenement.

Libretto - click image to view

Piano/vocal score - click image to view

MIDI realization - click to listen

River Interludes

I. The City's Lifeblood

The "Saint James Infirmary Blues" and the Spiritual, "Deep River" swim within a musical representation of the Mississippi, which flows through the city, and is central to the lives of all this opera's characters. 

Orchestrated score - click image to view

MIDI realization - click to listen

II. A River's Tributaries

Ragtime, the Tresillo, Delta Blues and European hymnody intermingle, before converging to become Jazz, an art form born about ten years following the events upon which this opera is based.

Orchestrated score - click image to view

MIDI realization - click to listen

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© Copyright 2020 Frank Pesci