1415 14th Ave. NW
COMPOSER, JOBY TALBOT; LIBRETTIST, GENE SCHEER; DIRECTOR, LEONARD FOGLIA
In 1996 a group of mountain climbers sets out to conquer the world’s highest peak, but their adventure takes a tragic turn when a surprise storm traps them in one of the most dangerous places on earth.
Chronicling the events of the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy made famous by Jon Krakauer’s bestselling book Into Thin Air and the recent blockbuster film, this daring musical odyssey is equal parts suspenseful thriller and a moving tribute to the sport of mountaineering and the brave men and women whose drive and ambition push them to extraordinary heights.
Performed in English with English titles.
Duration: 75 minutes (no intermission)
Audience Considerations: Contains strong language and mature subject matter. Suggested for ages 13+.
CONDUCTED BY DAVID BRISKIN
Photo Credit: Maxine Helfman
Production Photos: Cory Weaver of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City's production of Everest, 2015. Karen Almond of the Dallas Opera's production of Everest, 2015.
The curtain opens on a map of Mt. Everest, which is then lifted to show Beck Weathers lying unconscious on the mountain. Rob Hall has reached the summit, waiting for Doug Hansen to join him. The chorus reminds him he is already past the time of the scheduled descent and of the importance of timing and oxygen. Rob is seen assisting Doug, his climbing history is explained. The chorus, however, ominously counts off the minutes, reminding us that danger awaits.
Rob’s hallucination shows him with his pregnant wife, discussing a name for their daughter. Jan sings of her concern for Rob (though this appears to be taking place in Rob’s imagination). She also sings about Ruth Mallory, the widow of a deceased climber. Rob’s reverie is interrupted when Doug calls to him for help, saying he cannot breathe. Rob tries to get Doug to move but is unable to do so. He calls to the base camp to ask for more oxygen.
Beck’s daughter, Meg, is heard reciting a nursery rhyme. Beck imagines that he sees her. His thoughts are echoed by the chorus. Beck admits that he had been suicidal, in fact, he had undergone the journey in attempt to escape his depression. Beck is now blinded by the high altitude; nevertheless, he sings of his exhilaration at reaching the top.
He realizes that he has lost contact with Rob. Mike Groom appears on the scene and urges him to descend. In the meantime, the chorus reminds us that it is now three hours past the time that he should have started his descent.
Jan is on the phone with the base camp, worried that Rob is still on the mountain. Lights go up on Rob, calling for more oxygen. Guy, at the other end of the line, tells Rob that he should desert Doug and save himself. Rob refuses, informing Guy that Doug can hear him.
Rob is trying to pull Doug along, and he attempts to carve out a place for Doug to get him out of the wind, but he realizes that Doug has died. Rob calls Guy with the news and tells him that his legs are giving out. Guy patches through a call from Rob to Jan. As the chorus hums, Rob sings “Sarah”—thus naming his soon-to-be-born daughter. Rob and Jan sing of their love for each other.
The chorus sings of the change in the weather which doomed the expedition. In Beck’s imagination, Meg sings to him and after a while having regained his sanity, he realizes it will be up to him to survive and he stumbles into camp and is embraced by the others.