[Vision2020] A MUST-SEE . . .

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Mon Jul 13 08:14:28 PDT 2015

. . . if/when it makes it to Spokane's INB Performing Arts Center.

Courtesy of Derrick Wang at:




Scalia/Ginsburg is an American comic opera in one act by composer-librettist Derrick Wang, inspired by the opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia—and by the “operatic precedent” of Händel, Mozart, Verdi, Bizet, Sullivan, Puccini, Strauss, et al. 

Introduced at the Supreme Court of the United States in 2013, the opera has received national attention, with selections presented at leading musical and legal institutions. The annotated libretto[script] has been published by the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, with prefaces by Justices Ginsburg and Scalia. Scalia/Ginsburg will receive its world premiere production at the Castleton Festival on July 11, 17, & 19, 2015. The New York Times reports that Justice Ginsburg will attend the premiere.


What happens when Supreme Court justices go before a Higher Power? In this comic opera, Justices Ginsburg and Scalia must pass through three cosmic trials to secure their freedom. The catch: they may have to agree on the Constitution. Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg is a valentine to law and opera, where the law’s leading players go toe-to-toe and trill-to-trill in a (gentle) parody of operatic proportions. Opinions will be offered. Dissents will be delivered. And justice will be sung.


Selections from Scalia/Ginsburg were presented at the Supreme Court of the United States in June 2013. Nina Totenberg introduced the opera on NPR in July 2013, with further coverage by outlets including the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Washington Post, ABA Journal, New Republic, and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Selections from Scalia/Ginsburg have been presented by the Washington National Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Castleton Festival, Maryland Opera Studio, National Constitution Center, Second Circuit Judicial Conference (co-sponsored by Columbia Law School, with artists from Opera Saratoga), and Stanford Arts Institute & Stanford Law School. 


A buddy comedy with an operatic twist, Scalia/Ginsburg reflects the witty style of its subjects by applying the novel technique of “operatic precedent.” Just as a court opinion analyzes previous cases to develop a new decision, the score of Scalia/Ginsburgrevels in references to beloved operas, transforming them into new and effervescent commentaries on music and law.


By presenting current legal issues in a concise and entertaining manner, Scalia/Ginsburg aims to reach new audiences for opera. Moreover, by dramatizing the friendship of two justices with (frequently) opposing viewpoints, Scalia/Ginsburg aims to encourage nuanced discussion of issues faced by the Supreme Court. Furthermore, through its playful reference to famous operas of the past, Scalia/Ginsburg appeals to frequent and first-time operagoers alike. 

“The Justices are blind!
How can they possibly spout this?
The Constitution says absolutely nothing about this…”
— “The Justices are blind!” (Justice Scalia’s opening aria)
“You are searching in vain for a bright-line solution
To a problem that isn’t so easy to solve,
But the beautiful thing about our Constitution
Is that, like our society, it can evolve.”
— “You are searching in vain (for a bright-line solution)” (Justice Ginsburg’s aria)

I will be monitoring scheduled performances of Scalia/Ginsburg, so . . .

Stay tuned, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

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