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. At Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, he earned a bachelor's degree in music and studied conducting and composition under Robert L. Morris. In 2002, he relocated to Washington, D.C., to study composition and conducting at Howard University. His graduate studies include composition with Andrew Simpson and Steven Strunk at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Catholic University of America; ethnomusicology with Kip Lornell, George Washington University; and choral conducting and pedagogy with James Jordan, Westminster Choir College, and William Weinert, Eastman School of Music. He earned master's and doctoral degrees from Catholic University of America. He has composed symphonic works and spirituals; art songs for voice and chamber ensembles; and an 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 PBS documentary The Life and Times of Paul Laurence Dunbar, produced by Frederick Lewis, 2016. In 2014, his chamber opera The Poet: A Chamber Opera on the Life of Paul Laurence Dunbar made its world premiere in honor of Dunbar’s birthday and the opening of the newly renovated Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

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