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Leonard Lehrman, MFA ’75, DMA ’77

On October 19 & 21, I will be presenting a virtual, two-part Retrospective Preview of the opera SACCO AND VANZETTI, begun by Marc Blitzstein and completed by me. (Work on it began while I was still at Cornell.) The opera was commissioned by the Ford Foundation and optioned by the Met in 1959. Blitzstein called it his magnum opus, but left it incomplete at his death in 1964. It was premiered, concertante, with piano, at the White Barn Theatre in Westport, CT, in August 2001, just weeks before 9/11. It has been an uphill battle since then; four times, premieres have been cancelled or postponed—in Italy, at UCLA, and at Hofstra. At this free Zoom event, we will be showing the 2001 video and interviewing cast members, past, present, and future, planning for an orchestral premiere some time by 2027. You can learn more about the event here.

Gene Helfman, PhD ’79

Gene (PhD in Ecology and Systematics) has published a novel, Beyond the Human Realm, an eco-thriller/animal story for adults that follows the life of a male killer whale released into the wild and the people and whales instrumental in his release and acceptance into orca society. The book has received strong advance accolades and reviews, including a coveted 5-star Best Book rating from Chanticleer International Reviews. Profits from the sale of Beyond the Human Realm will be donated to orca conservation efforts.