Fellow Travelers

June 16-23, 2018 | The Cowles Center

An opera by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Greg Pierce
Based on the 2007 novel Fellow Travelers by Thomas Mallon
Developed and Co-Commissioned by G. Sterling Zinsmeyer & Cincinnati Opera


The story of a forbidden love affair between two men in 1950s McCarthy-era Washington, D.C., Fellow Travelers is a searing opera infused with political drama, unexpected humor, and sincere heartbreak. A chance encounter between recent college graduate Timothy Laughlin and handsome State Department official Hawkins Fuller results in Tim’s first job—and his first love affair with a man. As McCarthy mounts a desperate bid for power and internal investigations focus on removing “sexual subversives” in the government, Tim and Fuller find it increasingly dangerous to navigate their double lives.

Sung in English with English captions projected above the stage.

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  • MN Opera and Soo Visual Arts Center Joint Art Call

    SooVAC and Minnesota Opera are now taking submissions for a unique opportunity to create the artwork for Minnesota Opera’s production of Fellow Travelers. We strongly encourage LGBTQ artists to submit. We are looking for works that are reflective of the storyline, themes, this specific production, and community. The winner of this juried contest will create the marketed artwork for this production and their work will be presented on print and on web.

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  • Synopsis

    September 1953 to May 1957, in Washington, D.C. Eisenhower is president. Senator Joseph McCarthy is stoking fears that the U.S. federal government is full of Communists, Soviet spies, and homosexuals …

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  • Composer Biography

    Gregory Spears writes music that blends aspects of romanticism, minimalism, and early music. His work has been called “astonishingly beautiful” (The New York Times), “coolly entrancing” (The New Yorker), and “some of the most beautifully unsettling music to appear in recent memory” (The Boston Globe). In recent seasons he has been commissioned by The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Cincinnati Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seraphic Fire, and the JACK Quartet among others …

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  • Reviews

    The New York Times
    “With its smart music and sharp-edged romantic drama, Fellow Travelers seems assured of lasting appeal” Read the review.

    The Wall Street Journal
    “[The] subtle, lyrical music is beautiful without being obvious or sentimental.” Read the review.

    Chicago Tribune
    “One of the most accomplished new American operas” Read the review.

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