Local History, and an Unjust Execution, Take Center Stage in Professor’s New Opera
Submitted on Monday, 9/23/2013, at 10:31 AM
In Northampton, Mass., in 1806, two Irish immigrants, Dominic Daley and James Halligan, were hanged in front of 15,000 cheering spectators for a murder they did not commit. This September, Northampton’s Academy of Music staged world-premiere performances of The Garden of Martyrs, a new opera that dramatized this miscarriage of justice. The opera featured music by Amherst College’s Associate Professor Eric Sawyer and libretto by UMass Professor Harley Erdman.
This weekend my friend Alda came down to visit me! We hadn't been to Northampton in quite a while, so we decided to spend our Saturday exploring the lovely Noho. Northampton is like Amherst in that it has a kind of hippy-ish eclectic vibe, but it's much larger than Amherst. We ate a quick breakfast at Bruegger's in town and then set off on our adventure!
There is so much to get into in Northampton, most of it being food or shopping-related, two of my favorite things :)
A Taste of Music in the Pioneer Valley's Puerto Rican Community
To anyone unfamiliar with the Pioneer Valley (and this includes many college students here), it might seem out of place that Puerto Rican folk music could thrive in the area. But it does, and the large Puerto Rican populations spanning from Hartford to Holyoke support many local musicians playing traditional melodies. Victor Rios, shown in our documentary below, made his living for years playing Puerto Rican music as a full-time musician in the Valley.