I am currently involved with six women and a little girl: Tosca, Butterfly, Turandot, Letty Mason, Cordelia, Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl. I am re-imagining and transforming their roles as heroines, writing strong roles for strong women in new operas and new endings to existing operas.
I began the work of re-imagining and transforming while I was a Fellow at the Bunting (now Radcliffe) Institute at Harvard University in the mid-nineties, and in 2015, while a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, I began it anew. In between, I co-founded Sage Search Partners, an executive search firm specializing in higher education.
Since my time in Rome I have re-written and re-composed the endings to two Puccini operas, Tosca and Madama Butterfly, adapted two full-length works, The Scarlet Letter and The Wind, and created three original libretti, Butterfly in America, Turandot and Salt. All of my work is inspired by existing sources.
My interest in retelling dates back to my graduate days at Harvard, where, under the direction of Hilary Putnam, I wrote and published a philosophy dissertation on Freud’s theory of mind, and to my own psychoanalysis, where I first discovered the empowering role of retelling.
My interest in music goes as far back as I can remember. I always played the piano. Later I fell in love with Bach and started playing the harpsichord I studied music and philosophy as an undergraduate at UCLA. After graduate school, I turned my attention from Freud to the philosophy of music. I taught and wrote philosophy in the mid-nineties. Some of my papers are collected here.
Thomas Schultheiss, photography
Keiko Tanabe, artwork