Opera in One Act
Duration: sixty minutes
**Awarded the 2019 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award**


Wednesday, April 4
McIntosh Theater, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Thursday, April 5
McIntosh Theater, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Higher Ground (2018) is a sixty-minute opera in one act with a libretto by North Carolina-based writer Jim Whiteside and music by Jules Pegram, written in partial fulfillment of the dissertation for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition degree. Set in 1913 and situated in a small Missouri town facing a record-setting “flood of the century,” the opera focuses on J.T. Fitzgerald and his decision to fortify the family’s homestead while wife Hattie evacuates north to Chicago with infant Lucy in tow. Prompted by the guilt of losing another daughter to a previous year’s flood, J.T. stays behind against Hattie’s wishes, promising a letter every day to assure her of his and the town’s safety. Through the intimate lens of a family tested by external crisis, the story tackles broader issues of honor and loyalty, of love’s ability to transcend space and time, and of the true meaning of home.

Wednesday, April 4 (8:00pm), McIntosh Theater, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thursday, April 5 (8:00pm), McIntosh Theater, Ann Arbor, Michigan

John Thomas (J.T.) Fitzgerald: John Daugherty, baritone
Hattie Daniels Fitzgerald: Antona Yost, mezzo-soprano
Emily Fitzgerald: Madeline Thibault, soprano
Stephen Daniels: Samuel Kidd, baritone
Darwin Harris: Christopher Wolf, tenor
Liza Harris: Michelle Popa, soprano
Alice Baker: Allyssa Kemp, mezzo-soprano

Sam Grace Buyers, Ally Dellgren, James Fischer, Allyssa Kemp, Andrew Kohler, Cinderella Ksebati, Michelle Popa, Jaime Sharp, Christopher Wolf, & Timothy Zajdela

Flute/Piccolo/Alto Flute: Maguette Ndiaye
Oboe/English Horn: Sagar Anupindi
Clarinet/Bass Clarinet: Nick Thompson
Bassoon: Daniel Fendrick
Horn: Tommy Militello
Percussion: Chris Weber
Piano: Steven McGhee
Harp: Kristin Celene Quint
Violin I: Adam Millstein
Violin II: Mina Hong
Viola: Zoie Hightower
Violoncello: Josh DeVries
Contrabass: Maggie Hasspacher

Composer & Conductor: Jules Pegram
Librettist: Jim Whiteside
Stage Director: Colter Schoenfish
Scenic Designer: Grace Linzner
Costume Designer: Peri Macinic
Vocal Coach: Steven McGhee
Chorus Master: Shohei Kobayashi
Video and audio recording: Sly Pup Productions

Special thanks to Robert Swedberg and the University of Michigan Opera Workshop, SMTD EXCEL Program, and Rackham Graduate School. Supported in part through the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Meta Weiser EXCEL Fund.