The Talk of TROY: Professor publishes decades-old opera on YouTube

Carl Vollrath, music professor, sitting at his piano at home after discussing his opera with TROY Public Radio.

Carl Vollrath, music professor, sitting at his piano at home after discussing his opera with TROY Public Radio.

Troy professor Carl Vollrath’s opera, “The Quest” has a new life on YouTube, after being unavailable to the public for half of a century. Troy Public Radio’s Hannah Leverett says the opera’s online release has renewed interest in Vollrath’s music. 

The plot of “The Quest” tells the story of a children’s crusade that happened in 1090 A.D. in Germany.  In one of the pivotal scenes, the protagonist, a young boy named Nicholas, is awakened the middle of the night. 

He tells his father about a vision from God telling him to start a holy crusade against unbelievers. Eventually, Nicholas rallies other children in the village to his cause and they travel over the Alps on their quest. 

The opera was only performed three times in 1966, and at the time, Vollrath couldn’t afford to pay for a professional recording. Luckily, an audience member recorded the opera on a personal device. Now in 2018, Vollrath hopes the opera’s new life online will generate interest in a new recording. 

“I hope someday someone will listen to this and say, ‘We want to do this,’ and get a real good recording of this,” Vollrath said. “You know a modern-day recording with modern equipment. That would be great.” 

Timothy Phillips, clarinet professor at Troy, says the opera’s story of children becoming empowered to change their situation resonates with events happening today. 

“He says, he compares it a lot to our world in 2018 where we have students from Parkland, Florida, who went through a shooting incident at their school, and now they’re kind of leading the charge for further gun regulations,” Phillips said. 

To experience Carl Vollrath’s opera, “The Quest,” visit Troy Public Radio’s Facebook page.   

Also on this week’s Talk of TROY, Major General Walter Givhan, senior vice chancellor for advancement and economic development, discusses his new role as president of the Alabama World Affairs Council. Click here to listen to the full story. 

The Talk of TROY is a production of TROY Public Radio, a listener supported service of Troy University.