Amherst Professor Debuts New Opera During Free Workshop Performance

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Daniel Kamalić as “Scarlet Professor” Newton Arvin (left), Paul LaRosa as Ned Spofford (middle) and Sarah Pelletier as Helen Bacon (right), accompanied by Professor Eric Sawyer on piano

In 1960, nationally renowned literary critic and Smith College professor Newton Arvin was arrested and tried for possessing homosexual pornography. On Sunday, June 7, his story came to the Buckley Recital Hall stage in The Scarlet Professor, a new opera by composer Eric Sawyer, professor of music at Amherst, and librettist Harley Erdman, a theater professor at UMass Amherst.

Second Act of Music Professor’s Opera Receives Rave Reviews

June 15, 2011

By Rebecca Ojserkis ’12

“Magic!” one audience member exclaimed after the second act of The Garden of Martyrs. Such a response was a characteristic review of the June 12 performance, a workshop of a new opera composed by Eric Sawyer, associate professor of music. (The same act will also be performed on Friday, June 17, from 7 to 8 p.m. at Robyn Newhouse Hall in the Community Music School of Springfield, 127 State Street, Springfield.)