Billy Blythe (music by Bonnie Montgomery, words by Britt Barber) is a short-length opera about Bill Clinton's youth in Hot Springs. The work is a snapshot of Arkansas life in 1959, where events in Clinton's day reveal the inspiration, character, and vulnerability that resound throughout his life and presidency. Miss Montgomery and Miss Barber were inspired to write the opera after reading Mr. Clinton’s autobiography. They were especially stirred, they say, by a passage in which Mr. Clinton wrote about watching his mother, Virginia, apply her make-up for a night out while smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.
The world premiere of Billy Blythe took place in April 2016 with Opera Ithaca in Ithaca, New York. This and other productions of Billy Blythe (staged in Little Rock, AR and New York City by the Metropolis Opera Project) have earned the attention of the The Economist, The New Yorker, The Huffington Post, US News, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Daily News and other publications.
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