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OCU to Present Copland's 'The Tender Land'

OKLAHOMA CITY –  The American opera “The Tender Land” will take the stage at Oklahoma City University March 7 to 9.

The only full-length opera composed by Aaron Copland, the work centers around a Dust Bowl-era high school graduation and the choices faced by a Midwestern farm girl as she ponders which path to take to follow her American dream.

OCU’s Bass School of Music will present three performances. Show times are 8 p.m. March 7 and 8 with 3 p.m. March 9.

The spotlight production, directed by David Herendeen, marks the 60th anniversary of The Tender Land’s 1954 premiere by New York City Opera. 

“This work by Copand is known for its lyrical lines, melodic motives and open-chord harmonies that reflect the open spaces of the American landscape and the pioneer spirit of its people,” said Herendeen. Brian Osborne is musical director for the production.

The two-act opera was inspired by Walker Evans’ Depression-era photographs published with James Agee’s prose in the book “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” 

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling 405.208.5227 or visiting