A personal recollection by Leane Garland

This is the third in an ongoing series of blog posts by the people behind the return of A Fleeting Animal in September, 2015.

Fifteen years ago, I was in treatment for Stage II Breast Cancer. I had just started chemotherapy and someone invited me to attend a production sponsored by Vermont Opera Theater, as a diversion.

The production was “A Fleeting Animal” by Erik Nielsen and David Budbill.

I was transfixed. This was an OPERA, written and produced right here in Vermont! I didn’t have to travel to Boston, Saratoga, or Montreal. This was a WONDERFUL opera – based on the Judevine stories of David Budbill, music by local (and national) composer Erik Nielsen.

This was more than a diversion, this was 2 hours of beauty, joy, and sorrow! The tragic story of Grace and Tommy, set in the Northeast Kingdom, with well-developed and recognizable characters like Antoine and Doug and James and William.

There was poetry (from Tommy to Grace, from the Angel of Depression, from the villagers playing softball in the summer twilight), there was action (gunfire, logging, softball again), there was pathos and there was tragedy.

And then, this past year, I was absolutely thrilled when Erik played us an excerpt of the opera in our Music Appreciation Class. I was more thrilled when he decided that it was time to re-produce the opera. And I was tickled pink to be included in the effort to raise money, friends, and publicity to put this opera back on the stage in central and northern Vermont.

We’ve done a lot of good work so far, raising money and friends. We have a long way to go, but, by the Jesus, we are going to get there! I am so looking forward to this wonderful event and surpassing its previous reach and impact.

Back to the A Fleeting Animal.