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Raid on polygamous ranch in Texas inspires an opera

Published February 22, 2012 9:41 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Polygamy in the media is going highbrow: The massive 2008 raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch has inspired an opera. "Dark Sisters" opens tomorrow at John Jay College in New York City. It imagines a government raid on a FLDS-style community, and tells the story of five wives dealing with the aftermath. The chamber opera explores how the women cope when all their children are taken away into state custody, and their relationships with each other. As the women begin going on national TV to defend their lifestyle and call for the return of their children, one of the wives starts making plans to escape. In an interview with the Huffington Post, the composer and librettist (writer) said they did their research, visiting Colorado City, Ariz. and reading more than 60 texts on the subject. They say they were more focused on portraying the women's day-to-day lives and the dynamics of their relationships rather than making "grand statements about the right and wrong in the FLDS community."The composer is no stranger to taking on controversial, current topics: His last opera was about "psycho teens and cyber sex," according to this Bloomberg story. Check out the whole interview with the Huffington Post here (it's interesting) and the opera's website here (the "making of" video about how they made the high-tech stage is pretty cool).