Nashville Opera announced funding for the documentary film, The Making of Surrender Road


Carol Penterman, executive director of the Nashville Opera, announced that Nashville Opera has received funding for the production of the half-hour documentary film “The Making of Surrender Road” from an anonymous donor. The work will offer the viewer a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective gathered from interviews with the composer, performers, the director, and other integral participants involved in the staging of the world premiere of Marcus Hummon’s music drama, Surrender Road. The completed work is being developed for broadcast on Nashville Public Television (NPT) during 2006.

“The opportunity to produce a world premiere of any operatic work is a rare occurrence,” says Carol Penterman, executive director. “Staging the world premiere of an opera which has been written in Nashville by a successful country music composer is truly remarkable. Generations of viewers will experience the production meetings, set construction, rehearsals, and have insight into the artistic decisions required to make the first production of Surrender Road a reality.”

Directed by Suzanne Kessler, “The Making of Surrender Road” will be written and produced by Craig Havighurst. Kessler is a prominent Music Row attorney and experienced documentary filmmaker. Havighurst has written extensively for music industry publications and was the recipient of a regional Emmy Award for his work on a television documentary about WSM Radio for Nashville Public Television (NPT). Pat Isbey, who has shot footage for “60 Minutes,” “The Today Show,” and VH-1, will oversee cinematography for the project.

The Nashville Opera’s production of Surrender Road is directed by the company’s artistic director John Hoomes and features tenor Hugo Vera as the boxer, Manuel, and mezzo-soprano Pilar Cragan as the artist, Emily. Manuel’s mentor, Willie, is portrayed by baritone Richard Drews, and Vito, the small-time gangster, is played by bass Alonzo Murphy-Johnson, a Nashville native.

In addition to Surrender Road, Marcus Hummon has written six other musical productions, including American Duets, which is in development for the Off-Broadway stage. Hummon’s songwriting successes include “Pilgrims on the Way,” which was recorded by Michael Martin Murphey, “Only Love” recorded by Wynonna, and the number one hit, “Bless the Broken Road” recorded by Rascal Flatts, which has been nominated in the “Song of the Year” and “Single of the Year” categories by the Country Music Association (CMA).

The staging of Surrender Road is made possible by the support of Guardian Sponsors, Ingram and HCA/Tri-Star and Production Sponsors, The Gannett Foundation/The Tennessean and OPERA America’s The Opera Fund.

Nashville Opera’s 25th Anniversary Season

Gounod’s Faust  –  Oct 13 & 15, 2005
Marcus Hummon’s Surrender Road* – Nov 18-20, 2005
Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe  – Feb. 3, 5, 10 & 11, 2006
Puccini’s Turandot – April 20 & 22, 2006