A chamber opera by Michael Daugherty based on a libretto by Wayne Kostenbaum. Commissioned by Houston Opera Studio, it was premiered in 1997.
The story presents vignettes of Jacqueline Kennedy’s life after the assassination. The first act starts with her televised appearance following her husband’s assassination and then moves to her public appearance at an Andy Warhol happening just before her marriage with Aristotle Onassis. Act two takes place on Onassis’ yacht offshore from a Greek island.
The score also forces the integration of pop music elements (trap set, electric guitar, latin rhythms, pop song structure) with traditional opera.
All in all, it’s nothing shocking musically, although Leonard Bernstein would have never chosen this topic. Even the idea that the public figures of the late great twentieth century are the equivalent of those mythological figures who are the topic of traditional opera has already been expounded in other works, such as John Adams’ Nixon in China.