Garth Greenwell has (wisely, well-adjustedly) left Twitter, but last night he logged back on to share the “mindblowing & moving & surreal” experience of hearing his novel What Belongs to You, the monologue of an American teacher abroad entering a confusing relationship with a charismatic younger sex worker, turned into an opera. The monodrama is composed by David T. Little (Dog Days), sung by Grammy-winning tenor Karim Sulayman, and played by twenty-piece chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound. (Before transferring schools to pursue a literature degree, Greenwell studied voice at the Eastman School of Music with Sulayman and many of Alarm Will Sound’s members, including artistic director Alan Pierson.)
Said Greenwell on Twitter, “[David T. Little] is a genius & has entered the book w miraculous insight . . . There aren’t words for what it felt like to hear my words in [Karim Sulayman’s] glorious tenor. He is forever the voice of the book for me.”
An excerpt of What Belongs to You (the opera) will be previewed on Tuesday night at 8:30 pm EST at the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival’s opening concert. A livestream will be available here—and it’ll feature this notable musical phrase:
PSA: If you base an opera on my fiction things like this are going to happen.
— Garth Greenwell (@GarthGreenwell) July 25, 2021