The Dreamers

The Journey (Cantata from "The Dreamers")  Oakland East Bay Symphony Michael Morgan, conductor New Works for a New Century 2002

The Journey (Cantata from "The Dreamers")
Oakland East Bay Symphony
Michael Morgan, conductor
New Works for a New Century 2002

Hear other arias from other performances here.

Piano/Vocal score available at the Schirmer website.


An Opera in Two Acts

Libretto by Philip Littell

Voices: 3 Sopranos; 2 Mezzo-sopranos, 4 Tenors; 3 Baritones;  Bass-Baritone; BoySoprano; Girl Soprano, Chorus

Instrumentation: 1,0,2,11,1,1,02 Violins, Double Bass, Piano, Synthesizer

Length: 2 hours

Commissioned by the Sonoma City Opera; Sonoma, CA

Commercial CD recording: Oakland East Bay Symphony

"The Dreamers confounded skeptics and left audiences cheering at each of the seven soldout performances... Conte has written much vocal and choral music, and his expertise is reflected in The Dreamers most powerful, soaring moments, especially the big ensembles in the second half of the two-hour opus."
- Byron Belt, OPERA NEWS
"Conte uses the ballast of a staged sing-along of "Old Kentucky Home" to leap to the singular loveliness of each principal player declaring his or her hopes and regrets in small signature vignettes that layer and build upon each other until it is almost unbearably beautiful. The opening night audience responded to this number not only with bravos and bravas, but with the sort of calls ordinarily reserved for the lust of a rock concert."


The Dreamers is a highly accessible opera about the dreams of American life, using as a springboard the dreams of one man, General Mariano Vallejo.  Set primarily on two hot August days in 1848 in Sonoma, California - two years after the infamous Bear Flag Revolt that wrested control of the Sonoma Valley from the Mexican government, created the California republic, and led quickly in turn to its absorption by the United States - The Dreamers depicts California as the place where people come to fulfill their dreams, and the dreams are as varied as those who dream them.  The raising of the bear flag lingers as a nightmare in Vallejo's mind, while his daughter's fancy turns toward on one the handsome American soldiers.  California seems big enough to hold the dreams of a lonely Indian woman, the last of her tribe; a black man who is trying to earn enough money as a gambler to buy his wife out of slavery, and a gay soldier's dream to find acceptance and understanding.

Conte and Littell have captured this formative moment in American history in a compelling drama where characters are separated by their sexual, cultural, and racial differences, and brought together by their dreams.  The Dreamers is our nation's tragedy and comedy: the never-ending story of how we became "American."