THE CONQUISTADORCreating the role




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JERRY HADLEY:
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JERRY HADLEY: creating the role of  Don Luis de Carvajal

In 1993 it was decided that the San Diego Opera would mount The Conquistador in the 1997 season. Ian Campbell, SDO's General Director, sent tenor Jerry Hadley a copy of the libretto with the postcript to "let me know if the role interests you."


Hadley, an avid history buff - having minored in history in college - was mesmerized by the libretto. It mattered of course that he has had a long-standing interest in the American Southwest, and he knew the story of Don Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva.

And so he went back to Ian Campbell with the message: "Please don't offer it to anyone else, unless you decide I'm not suited for the role."





At the same time, Myron Fink, the composer was working on the music. Upon its completion, he sent Jerry Hadley a copy of the piano score. Hadley fell in love with the music. And so for the next three years, composer, librettist, and lead singer engaged in a musical give-and-take, the occasional dissonances of ideas resolved in harmony. The role now his to create, Hadley dug ever deeper into the character of Don Luis de Carvajal, the history of the Mexican Inquisition, and the soul of the music.

With the lead singer's role in place, the selection of artists for the other roles soon followed and the decisions that would make (or break) the production were soon made.

One opera season passed into another. Then it was 1997 and time for...
REHEARSALS

Which meant...

more huddles with the composer and librettist,

practice swings with the sword,

acting warm-ups with other cast members...

...one last thought, the final fitting,
and then on to the stage as
THE CONQUISTADOR!




Photo Credits: Photos: Martha L Hart - Author, The Art of Making Opera / courtesy: San Diego Opera

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