Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of

Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera

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Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera follows a composer as he adapts a 1912 dime novel masterpiece into a modern American opera. Zane Grey’s tale “Riders of the Purple Sage” flew off bookshelves around the world and is on the Library of Congress list of “One Hundred Books that Shaped America.” A century later, composer Craig Bohmler dives into Zane Grey's cabin during a rainstorm. There, amidst posters from Grey’s Hollywood Westerns, he discovers a story with the grand dimensions of opera. What begins as a challenge between a composer and his librettist evolves into a creative posse of artists, musicians, and singers sharing a singular vision. When fine art painter Ed Mell translates Arizona's landscape into a monumental set, the new work accelerates toward its world premiere. The power of an American classic is reclaimed opening night in an opera that marries deep musical traditions, cutting-edge stagecraft, and matinee heroes.

Nominated for four Rocky Mountain Emmy® Awards - Best Arts/Entertainment Program, Best Director, Best Editing, and Technical Achievement

"The film is as powerful and evocative in its own way as the piece it celebrates." BROADWAY WORLD

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  • Year
  • Runtime
    82 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Kristin Atwell Ford
  • Producer
    Quantum Leap Productions in collaboration with Arizona Opera
  • Executive Producer
    Billie Jo & Judd Herberger, J. Scott Hooker
  • Cast
    Peter Coyote, Fenlon Lamb, Karin Wolverton, Morgan Smith, Laura Wilde, Joshua Jeremiah, Joshua Dennis, Keith Phares, Kristopher Irmiter
  • Cinematographer
    Bill Davis, Robert Pflumm, Steven Snow, Jacob Mroczek
  • Editor
    Bill Davis, Kristin Atwell, Misty Wilson, Jacob Bricca
  • Animator
    Bill Davis, Misty Wilson
  • Production Design
    Ed Mell, Greg Hirsch
  • Composer
    Craig Bohmler – Librettist, Steven Mark Kohn
  • Music
    Arizona Opera Orchestra