Violets and Other Tales


Steven M. Allen


Cast of Characters

Alice Ruth Moore, Soprano
Mary Lela Wright, Soprano
Victoria Matthews, Coloratura
Patricia Wright, Mezzo-Soprano


Flute, Clarinet in B-flat, Bass Clarinet, Piano, Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass

Duration 40 Minutes

1. Prelude
2. Violets and Other Tales {Arioso}
3. Sister, Sister {Duet}
4. Victoria, Darling! {Quartet}
5. It’s Not Easy Being Me! {Aria / Ensemble}
6. Yours Very Truly {Arioso} 7. A Lyric {Aria}

Alice receives a letter for famous writer, Paul Laurence Dunbar. While Alice's sister Lelia is enthusiastic, their mother, Patricia, is less so and hopes that the Alice's poems are the only thing Paul admires.
Victoria Matthews, a socialite and fellow writer, visits to invite Alice to teach for boarding school in Boston. Despite her mothers protests, Alice and Lelia won over as Victoria flaunts her international travels and famous friends.
The vignette ends as Alice writes her very first reply to Paul.

Biographical Information

Steven M. Allen is an American composer, conductor, and ethnomusicologist who currently resides in Washington D.C. At Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, he received a Bachelor of Music degree and studied conducting and composition under Robert L. Morris. In 2002, Allen relocated to Washington, D.C. to study composition and conducting at Howard University while being the assistant choral director. His graduate studies include composition with Andrew Simpson and Steven Strunk, at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, The Catholic University of America, ethnomusicology with Kip Lornell, George Washington University, choral conducting and pedagogy with James Jordan, Westminster Choir College and William Weinert, Eastman School of Music. Steven M. Allen earned a Master's of Music degree as well as a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from The Catholic University of America. He has composed a variety of genres and styles such as symphonic works and spirituals and art songs for voice and chamber ensembles as well as an opera. Steven’s opera, Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadows: An Opera based on the Lives and Love of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore is featured in The Life and Times of Paul Laurence Dunbar, produced by Frederick Lewis, 2016. This is the first PBS documentary on the life of Dunbar. In 2014, in honor of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s birthday and the opening ceremony of the newly renovated Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Washington, DC, The Poet: A Chamber Opera of Life and Times of Paul Laurence Dunbar was premiered.

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