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Civil War History Lesson Depicted in S.F. Opera’s ‘Appomattox’

For Civil War buffs, tonight’s world premiere of ‘Appomattox’ by the San Francisco Opera is the place to be.

This history lesson, set to the music of Philip Glass, is a dramatic presentation of events leading to the end of the Civil War. The character roles of President Lincoln, General Robert E. Lee, General Ulysses S. Grant, and their wives are brought to life by acclaimed singers of the opera world.

Stanford University’s freshman class received a treat when they attended the final dress rehearsal of Appomattox this past Tuesday evening, along with students from S.F. Bay Area junior high and high schools. Students’ eyes were riveted to the Opera House stage as the drama and libretto related the difficulties experienced by both sides in the remaining days of the war, especially the painful decisions facing Lincoln and the leading generals, Grant and Lee.

The heated debates over slavery, the depiction of mothers who lost sons in the war, and the views of African-American slaves who had the chance to fight as soldiers are all part of this thought-provoking production. Many more students should have the chance to enrich their education with high-quality events such as this; and hopefully, parents and teachers will remain alert for such opportunities.

No doubt, students who witnessed this living American history will never again be able to view the Civil War as dry, dull words on a page.  Bravo to the San Francisco Opera.

Civil War, education, teachers, students, slavery, President Lincoln, San Francisco Opera, War Memorial Opera House, Stanford University, American history, opera, opera singers

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