Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Golden Ticket, a comic opera based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was commissioned by American Lyric Theater and Felicity Dahl from American composer Peter Ash and British librettist Donald Sturrock. Dahl’s fantastic imagination is vividly brought to life in the witty libretto, and the completely original score ingeniously parodies many traditional operatic conventions to help portray the bigger than life characters that inhabit Wonka’s world. The opera premiered in 2010 at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, in partnership with Ireland’s Wexford Festival Opera and New York’s American Lyric Theater, where it was embraced by audiences and critics alike: “Donald Sturrock’s libretto captures the wit, wizardry and wonder of Dahl’s story about five children who gain access to the legendary Willy Wonka’s confectionery establishment in a contest by finding golden tickets in their chocolates. The largely expository first act introduces the lucky children, who instantly become media darlings, but the fun really begins – and the dramatic tempo accelerates – in Act 2 when they go through trials not unlike reality television or perhaps – as children in the audience may someday recognize – The Magic Flute, overseen by Wonka with Sarastro-like benevolence and fearsomeness…. Though not widely known, the American composer Ash has produced a fun-filled score with a zippy, contemporary ambience that makes room for a tune or two you can remember and deft allusions to past operas…” (London Financial Times) This recording is taken from a live performance of The Golden Ticket at The Atlanta Opera in March 2012, conducted by composer Peter Ash, with a stellar cast including Daniel Okulitch in the role of Willy Wonka and Benjamin P. Wenzelberg as Charlie. The Atlanta Journal Constitution declared, “There may come a day when music teachers everywhere will use characters from The Golden Ticket to teach lessons about voices in opera… For parents and teachers who want to introduce young people to the opera, The Golden Ticket is a good start.” But, The Golden Ticket is not just for children – it’s an opera for everyone who is still young at heart!