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Jules Massenet
This opera's drama isn't only onstage
This opera's drama isn't only onstage

Onstage in a UCLA auditorium, tenor Rickard Roudebush intones the solemn words of the Episcopal funeral rite: "I am the resurrection and the life. . . . He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. Amen!" A chamber opera called "The First Lady" is in rehearsal. Roudebush, one of the work's creators, sings the small but affecting role of the priest who officiated at the White House funeral of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The funeral scene is drenched in operatic grief, and the irony is not lost on Roudebush. Twenty-two years ago, doctors advised him to quickly get his affairs in order, take a last trip to Europe and plan his own funeral. :: Friends...

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