An opera in two acts
Libretto by Lynn Nottage
Published by Theodore Presser Company
Duration: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, with one intermission
Premiere: Monday, January 31, 2022 at 6:45pm.
Commission: Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater
Instrumentation: Two Pianos
ESTHER (soprano, African-American woman, thirty-five)
MRS. DICKSON (soprano, African-American woman, early fifties) MRS. VAN BUREN (mezzo-soprano, white American woman, thirties) MAYME (mezzo-soprano, African-American woman, thirties)
MR. MARKS (tenor, Romanian Orthodox Jewish immigrant, thirties) GEORGE (Baritone, Barbadian immigrant, thirties)
Chorus (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass Voices)
Note: INTIMATE APPAREL, set in 1905 in turn of the century New York, tells the story of Esther, a lonely, single African-American woman who makes her living sewing beautiful corsets and ladies’ undergarments. There is warm affection between her and the Orthodox Jewish man who sells fabrics to her, but any relationship between them, even a touch, is completely forbidden. Seeking love and romance, Esther eventually embarks on a letter-writing relationship with a mysterious suitor laboring on the Panama Canal. When he moves to New York they embark on an unhappy marriage, leading Esther to realize that only her self-reliance and certainty of her own worth will see her through life’s challenges.