Set in Connecticut in the winter of 1816, Patience & Sarah tells the powerful story of two young women who meet, fall in love, and resolve to devote their lives to each other. The artist Patience White, sister to a middle-class Connecticut landowner, and tough-minded, adventurous Sarah Dowling, the daughter of a poor farmer, share a mutual dream of leaving behind their repressive families to go pioneering together. Patience wants to go with Sarah, but their families prevent it, so Sarah goes out on the road alone, dressed as a boy and calling herself Sam. She meets Parson Daniel Peel, a book peddler, who invites Sam to travel with him. When the Parson falls in love with Sam, Sarah reveals herself and decides to return home. She is reunited with Patience and visits her every day for reading lessons. One day when the women are finally alone, Patience’s sister-in-law discovers them in an embrace. Patience’s brother demands that they leave and as the women are about to set sail for Genesee to buy land and make a home together, he gives them his blessing and sees them off. Patience and Sarah, alone together on the boat dock, begin their new life together.
Patience & Sarah premiered in the 1998 Lincoln Center Festival, and will begin celebrating its 20th anniversary with a newly-revised version of the opera at Theater Wit in Chicago before arriving at the Kaye Playhouse for Hunter Opera Theater’s May production.
Composer Paula Kimper is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and has been active in New York City for over 30 years as a composer of opera, theater, dance, film and song. Her entire catalogue of scores was recently acquired by the Loeb Music Library of Harvard University. Kimper has received commissions from American Opera Projects, Amy Pivar Dances, Downtown Music Productions, Richard Daniels, Femme Lunatique Productions, New York Festival of Song, Old Deerfield Productions, OPERA America, The Phoenix Concerts, The Walt Whitman Project, and others. In 2013, Paula Kimper Ensemble became a participant in the New York Opera Alliance (NYOA) and Paula is currently director of the Executive Committee of NYOA.
Librettist Wende Persons has decades of experience working in the performing arts, broadcast, recording, and classical music industries. Most recently, she served as Managing Director of Classical Music Rising. Previously she was an Adjunct Professor of Marketing the Performing Arts at NYU’s Steinhardt School, and a senior consultant the 21C Media Group. Wende has worked at Wolf Trap, the Eastman School of Music, and as Eastman Philharmonia's Orchestra Manager at the Heidelberg Castle Festival in Germany. Born in Buffalo, NY, she holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education and English education from SUNY Fredonia and the University of Rochester.