Dazzling dramas on American themes from the Nobel laureate
On a cold winter's day on the Dakota plains, Catherine Weldon receives a caller, Kicking Bear, bringing news of Indian rebellion. In the fort nearby, a tiny community splinters apart over how to react. In Ghost Dance, first performed in 1989, Walcott turns a story with a foregone conclusion -- Sitting Bull and his Sioux followers will die at the hands of the Army and Indian agents -- into a portrait of life at a crossroads of American history.
In Walker, an opera first performed in 1992 and revised for its revival in 2001, Walcott shifts his attention east, taking for his subject David Walker, the nineteenth-century black abolitionist. In Walcott 's hands Walker becomes a classical hero for his people: a leader who is also a poet.