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Datum objave: 21.11.2017

JFK Tribute in Fort Worth

JFK And Jackie Subject Of Texas Opera

November 22, 1963 - President John F. Kennedy's Remarks at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce    

( 45 min to 50 min..)

President John F. Kennedy spoke at 9 a.m. (c.s.t.) in the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth. In his opening words he referred to Raymond Buck, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and to Governor John B. Connally, Senator Ralph W. Yarborough, Representative Jim Wright, Byron Tunnell, Speaker of the State House of Representatives, and Waggorier Cart, State Attorney General, all of Texas. He later referred to Marion Hicks, a vice president of Fort Worth General Dynamics and vice president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

JFK Tribute in Fort Worth

Mr. Buck, Mr. Vice President, Governor Connally, Senator Yarborough, Jim Wright, members of the congressional delegation, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Attorney General, ladies and gentlemen:

Two years ago, I introduced myself in Paris by saying that I was the man who had accompanied Mrs. Kennedy to Paris. I am getting somewhat that same sensation as I travel around Texas. Nobody wonders what Lyndon and I wear.

I am glad to be here in Jim Wright's city. About 35 years ago, a Congressman from California who had just been elected received a letter from an irate constituent which said: "During the campaign you promised to have the Sierra Madre Mountains reforested. You have been in office one month and you haven't done so." Well, no one in Fort Worth has been that unreasonable, but in some ways he has had the Sierra Madre Mountains reforested, and here in Fort Worth he has contributed to its growth.

He speaks for Fort Worth and he speaks for the country, and I don't know any city that is better represented in the Congress of the United States than Fort Worth. And if there are any Democrats here this morning, I am sure you wouldn't hold that against him.

Three years ago last September I came here, with the Vice President, and spoke at Burke Burnett Park, and I called, in that speech, for a national security policy and a national security system which was second to none--a position which said not first, but, if, when and how, but tint. That city responded to that call as it has through its history. And we have been putting that pledge into practice ever since

JFK  FORT WORTH  Fort Worth Opera  4/23/16    Thaddeus   Strassberger's production of David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s opera JFK at Fort Worth Opera

Matthew Worth and Daniela Mack as John and Jackie Kennedy

JFK subject of Texas opera, with singing Jack and Jackie   

FORT WORTH, Texas (Reuters) - Before that fateful day in Dallas in 1963, President John F. Kennedy spent one pleasant night in neighboring Fort Worth, which is the subject of an opera due to open in the Texas city this weekend.

Performers Matthew Worth, who plays the role of President John F. Kennedy, and Daniela Mack, who plays first lady Jacqueline Kennedy appear in a scene from the opera JFK that will open in Fort Worth, Texas in this undated recent handout photo released on April 22, 2016. Nine Photography/Fort Worth Opera/Handout via Reuters

The opera called “JFK,” with music by composer David T. Little, looks at the little-remembered time that Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline spent in Fort Worth. He delivered his final speech there, and more than 4,000 people gathered outside the Hotel Texas to catch a glimpse of the glamorous first couple just before they set off to Dallas where the president was assassinated.

Fort Worth Opera General Director Darren Woods was looking for a signature event to commission as an opera for the company’s 70th anniversary this year and helped give the green light to “JFK.”

JFK - Opening Scene    

JFK- Extraits musicaux   

JFK - Prologue - Spin, Measure, Cut   

Fort Worth Opera... Where Opera is Breathtaking.    

JFK And Jackie Subject Of Texas Opera   

JFK Opera Premieres Saturday In Fort Worth

Fort Worth Opera’s JFK gets its world premiere Saturday. It recounts President Kennedy’s last night on earth, which many may not know was in Fort Worth. The opera blends other forgotten facts with fantasy in a story that some are calling the most anticipated new opera of the American season.

Fort Worth Opera director Darren Woods was looking for a very big, very local original opera for the company’s 70th anniversary. He’s lived in Fort Worth 15 years but this little fact took even him by surprise.

“Our director of production at the time, Kurt Howard said ‘You know, I think that Kennedy spent his last night in Fort Worth.’ And I went, ‘Everybody would know that if that happened,’ Woods recalled. “ ‘That can’t…’ So we Googled it and boy there it was. He spent his last night there.”

Woods liked it. He insisted the story stay in Fort Worth. He didn’t want to include Dallas.  

“We know that story and I didn’t want to go there,” Woods said.

And Woods wanted librettist Royce Vavrek, and composer David T. Little to go away from the land of myth, where the Kennedys have been for decades. To make them people again, Vavrek turned things around.

“We took the myth of JFK and we really attempted to make him mortal,” Vavrek said.

The Kennedys arrived in Fort Worth November 21, 1963, stayed in what’s now The Fort Worth Hilton (it was then the Hotel Texas), appeared at a breakfast, then left.

“I remember coming here to this room looking out these magnificent tall windows,” says librettist Vavrek. 

He sits in the Presidential Suite of the hotel.

“The window from the hotel suite plays such a huge role in the opera,” Vavrek says. “Jackie opens it. Her fist image is looking out the window.”

“A million miles away, he sleeps…” sings mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, in the role of Jacqueline Kennedy.  The the opera’s first aria is Midnight Is The Loneliest Hour.

“And what were those conversations,” Vavrek wonders, “that he had with Jackie in the privacy of this suite?”

Of course, nobody knows. And here is where Vavrek and Little let imagination and wild fantasy take over.

Jackie gives Jack an injection to numb his notorious back pain. Jack falls asleep soaking in the tub. A series of drug-induced dreams and hallucinations follow, including a first-time meeting with Jackie that leads to the opera’s love duet.

In another scene, a pride of Texas political bosses led by LBJ crowd into Kennedy’s bathroom challenging his manhood, political and sexual. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and a giant beach ball make an appearance. So do bouncing cheerleaders and the Texas Boys Choir – both performed for Kennedy in Fort Worth. And always there’s a chorus of the three Greek fates. They determine birth, life and death.

Little and Vavrek say reality and fantasy create tension between joy and tragedy.

“We deviated as much from the facts as the truth required,” Little says.

Both, says Little, are important in making the Kennedys real again for the audience.

“It’s really about this affirmation of life, because we know of the death that is imminent,” he says.

In the last aria, Jack’s optimistic because clouds have passed and it’s a beautiful morning. The sun’s shining so he can leave the car top down. The chorus sits at tables. On the opera stage they wear red-lens 3-D glasses, the kind movie goers wore to watch horror films in the 1960s

Composer David T. Little (glasses) and librettist Royce Vavrek wrote JFK. Emerging stars in the opera world, they immersed themselves for weeks in Fort Worth and researched Kennedy's overnight visit for facts and information that inspired the opera.

David T. Little

Royce Vavrek

Matthew Worth

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, on June 20, 1978

Graduated from Conard High School in West Hartford

Attended University of Richmond (BA Music) and Manhattan School of Music (MM Voice)

Juilliard Opera Center graduate

Lives in Cincinnati with his wife Chelsey, their son Fenton, and their dog Abby


Matthew Worth, baritone and Shai Wosner, piano perform 

Schumann: Dichterliebe

Daniela Mack


CARMEN: Habanera from Act I (Daniela Mack)

Emerging Stars Nominee - Daniela Mack - Artist Highlights - 2015-16

Behind the Voice - Daniela Mack and Alek Shrader - Being married to an opera singer

Alek Shrader "Ah Mes Amis" (rotated)

Daniela Mack sings "Non più mesta"



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