The Florentine Opera Revisits The Tale Of "Elmer Gantry"

Mar 13, 2015

The Florentine Opera performs "Elmer Gantry" with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra this weekend at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
Credit Florentine Opera

Sinclair Lewis’s 1927 novel, Elmer Gantry, is considered one of the masterpieces of early 20th Century American literature.

It tells the story of an old-time preacher who tries to cover his predilection towards worldly interests – like money and girls – over saving souls.

Eighty years after the book was published, it was adapted as an opera. The Florentine Opera won a 2011 Grammy award for its recording of the opera. The company presents a new production of Elmer Gantry this weekend.

Before they take the stage, mezzo-soprano Katherine Pracht, bass Kevin Burdette and conductor Christopher Larkin join Lake Effect's Bonnie North discuss the Florentine's leap to take this relatively new opera to the stage in Milwaukee.

"The thing I like most about doing new opera is that I don't have two hundred years of past recording experience to have to be compared to. I get to create my own character," Pracht says.

Elmer Gantry runs this Friday and Sunday at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.