Later the Same Evening: an opera inspired by five paintings of Edward Hopper
Later the Same Evening was inspired by five Edward Hopper paintings: Room in New York (1932), Hotel Window (1955), Hotel Room (1931), Two on the Aisle (1927), and Automat (1927). The opera imagines the lives of the figures in these paintings and connects them as characters—both directly and tangentially—on one evening in New York City in 1932.
A young married couple in their apartment avoids the encroaching estrangement in their marriage—she by playing the piano, he by reading the newspaper—before she angrily leaves to see a Broadway musical without him. At the same time in a hotel lobby, a recently widowed older woman nervously awaits her date, who will be taking her to a Broadway musical. And in a hotel room, a young woman composes a letter to her boyfriend telling him that she is leaving New York and returning to Indianapolis after a failed career as a dancer. All three women see their changing lives through a window.
Minutes later, these women intersect with others in the audience of a Broadway musical: a young man from Lynchburg visiting New York for the first time, an older Jewish couple whose bickering is a form of love, an elegant woman from Italy confounded by the musical and her new country, and a young man who plants an engagement ring on a theatre seat for his girlfriend who happens to be a dancer from Indianapolis. As the houselights dim, the strangers are connected as an audience watching the musical—only to break apart again outside the theatre in the pouring rain.
Later in an automat, the usher from the theatre muses about her work and the odd excitement of city life. She encounters the young man with the engagement ring and they leave the automat together.
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