The Tender Land – A History with Michigan Opera Theatre

Since the very beginning, Michigan Opera Theatre has been committed to performing contemporary works by American composers. David DiChiera called upon Aaron Copland  to conduct his only full-length opera The Tender Land to open the first Matrix Festival in Midland. The dancer Eugene Loring was also brought on to choreograph the production. Loring and Copland first collaborated on the American Ballet Caravan’s premiere of Billy the Kid in 1938. For The Tender Land, Loring created a high-spirited ballet for “Stomp Your Foot,” the rousing square dance that still draws directors and choreographers to this work. With this prominent team at hand, DiChiera was able to secure MOT’s first national television broadcast, and the performances in Alden B. Dow’s Midland venue were met with critical praise. Join Michigan Opera Theatre in March when our resident artists bring this quintessential American opera to life once more at the Heinz C. Prechter Educational and Performing Arts Center (Taylor, MI) and Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.

Photo: Eugene Loring, David DiChiera, and Aaron Copland discuss a passage from The Tender Land backstage during the 1978 Matrix:Midland Festival.  

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