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One Woman’s Dementia Journey, in Opera

A new chamber opera based on a graphic memoir about dementia previews in Montpelier and Middlebury on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7. The story follows the author’s mother, Alice, and her dementia journey, from her perspective. 

Preview performances of  “Aliceheimer,” composed by Erik Nielsen and artist, writer, and anthropologist Dana Walrath, will take place at Bethany Church in Montpelier and Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. 

The opera will feature soprano Mary Bonhag as Alice, accompanied by pianist Alison Cerutti. “Aliceheimer” unveils the lived experience of Alice as she lives her experiences in front of our eyes, giving the audience insight not just into her condition, but also into her as a person. Whether remembering her childhood, loving food, struggling with memory loss, and living with her daughter or in a care home, Alice shows us love, humor, regret, wonder, confusion, sorrow, anger, and so much more, all brought to life through the power of storytelling and music.

The Montpelier performance will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Bethany Church on Main Street. The Middlebury performance will occur at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7. at the Town Hall Theater. 

Composition of the music for  ”Aliceheimer’s” was made possible, in part, by funding from the Vermont Community Foundation. Creation of the libretto was made possible in part by funding from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. There will be a discussion following each performance with Dr. Walrath, Mr. Nielsen, and Ms. Bonhag.

Both performances are free of charge. Donations are encouraged and will help fund a full production of the opera.