Rockland the Opera
New World Premiere
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Jukka Linkola, Composer
Jussi Tapola, Librettist/Stage Director
July 15 & 17, 2011
Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts
Commissioned and produced by the Pine Mountain Music Festival
The opera is in two acts with one 20-minute intermission.
Conductor Craig Randal Johnson
Stage Director Jussi Tapola
Set Designer Tom Burch
Costume Designer Suzanne Young
Lighting Designer Helena Kuukka
Chorus Master Ann Campbell
Rehearsal Pianist/Vocal Coach Eric McEnaney
Stage Manager Nancy Uffner
Cast (in order of vocal appearance)
Alfred Laakso Esa Ruuttunen
Puna Pekka Ahopelto Mark Walters
Johanna Ahopelto Barbara Shirvis
Pastor Rantanen Peter Halverson
Sven Polkki Christopher Temporelli
Heikki Järvenpää Brian Shircliffe
Matti Kivi James Plante
Rauha Jennifer Trombley
Otto Benjamin Sieverding
Hilja Heather Youngquist
John Kyle Tomlin
William Jackson William Joyner
Pete Casavino Paul Truckey
Thomas Colton Christopher Temporelli
Raili Ahopelto Maddy Lehman
Tuomas Ahopelto Trevor Puuri
Band, strike breaker Nathan Held
Band, strike breaker Kevin Heras
Band, strike breaker Brandon Pilcher
Band, strike breaker George Thorvald Wagner
Rauha’s children Marya Julio
Young Alfred Laakso Ethan Parker
In about 1960, the elderly Alfred Laakso leads a bus tour of tourists to
the town of Rockland, where he lived in 1906. It is almost a ghost town,
but he tells them about when it was a booming place. The action reverts
Scene 1 A Fourth of July party at the temperance hall. Johanna and her
husband, Puna-Pekka (Red Pete) are there. Pastor Rantanen introduces a
union organizer whose speech mixes patriotism with a call for a strike.
Scene 2 Accident in the mine. Otto is killed and Alfred is injured. Otto’s
new widow, Rauha, grieves.
Scene 3 Miner Puna-Pekka agonizes about whether he should have
spoken up about safety lapses. He flirts with getting drunk, but his wife,
Johanna, has hidden the bottles. He resolves to give up drinking.
Scene 4 Otto’s funeral. Pastor Rantanen suggests a ruse whereby the
widow Rauha and her children can stay in their home.
Scene 5 In the tavern, miners talk about the strike. Breaking the
tension, barber Pete Casavino sings “I’m my own barber.”
Scene 6 Johanna visited by William Jackson, underground foreman,
who tells her she deserves better than Puna-Pekka.
Scene 7 In church, as strike date nears.
Scene 8 In mine office the night before the strike. Mine superintendent
Thomas Colton maneuvers William Jackson to name strike leaders.
Scene 9 At home, Puna-Pekka tells Johanna he must participate in the
strike for the sake of the children.
Scene 10 The strike. Miners confront sheriff’s deputies. Chaos, shouting
and gunfire; Puna-Pekka killed on the spot, Kova Kivi dies later.
Scene 11 Crowd of miners in jail. Most are released on bail, but 12 are
Scene 12 The trial. The elderly Alfred Laakso continues his tale,
describing how two of the miners were tried and acquitted, and the rest
Scene 13 William meets Johanna for last time; Johanna returning to
Finland, while William hopes for relationship.
Scene 14 Finale. Back in 1960, and Alfred Laakso concludes the story.