75th Anniversary Celebration

“Pigeons on the grass, alas!”

"Four Saints in Three Acts" opera by Virgil Thomson, libretto by Gertrude Stein, produced by Encompass New Opera Theatre - New York

Oratorio Version
Gertrude Stein/Virgil Thomson

February 20, 2009

Staged highlights from Gertrude Stein-Virgil Thomson’s, Four Saints in Three Acts, the “first opera ever staged on Broadway,”
with panels and film clips, celebrating its 75th Anniversary.
At the Martin E. Segal Theatre, Elebash Hall at CUNY.



March 15, 2009 at 2:30 PM

New American Opera Previews:
From Page to Stage

in cooperation with Opera Index and Manhattan School of Music

Four Saints in Three Acts
oratorio version at Manhattan School of Music

panel discussion hosted by Midge Woolsey, WQXR

We are very excited about our 2009 season which began by taking Encompass and American opera back to its roots.  The first American opera presented on Broadway occurred 75 years ago in 1934 (and ran for 60 performances) with contemporary scenery made of cellophane, designed by artist Florine Stettheimer, choreography by Frederick Ashton, written by one of America’s most creative geniuses, Gertrude Stein, and composed by the inimitable Virgil Thomson.

Four Saints

Encompass New Opera Theatre presented the oratorio version of Four Saints in Three Acts, prepared by Virgil Thomson himself, directed by Nancy Rhodes, and an orchestra conducted by Mara Waldman. 

This is an especially thrilling occasion because the Stein/Thomson opera THE MOTHER OF US ALL was Encompass’ inaugural production in 1975.  Virgil and Gertrude have been guiding lights and a source of inspiration all through the years.  Virgil has truly been the ‘Father of us all’ in influencing the development of American opera. 


We are grateful for the leadership support from the Virgil Thomson Foundation, Opera Index, Manhattan School of Music, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.