libretto by Stephen Molton
Bobby tells the story of how Robert Kennedy, a passionate, but privileged and often arrogant Cold Warrior, was transformed by his brother's assassination to become a champion of equality and peace who inspired a generation of Americans. In the first act, young Bobby comes of age in the shadow of his dashing older brothers, Joe and Jack. Fiercely loyal, and antagonistic to those he perceived as enemies, he struggles to find his own identity only to be pulled into an even tighter — and insulated —inner circle of power. In Act II, outside forces — the ominous threat of nuclear confrontation over Cuba and the marginal loner, Lee Harvey Oswald — conspire to shatter that circle.
Devastated and bearing a sense of guilt over his brother’s death, Act III sees Bobby collapse into depression. His sister-in-law, Jackie consoles and encourages him to gradually step back onto the public stage. Overcoming his previous belligerence, Bobby rediscovers his underlying compassion and idealism to become an inspiring example to a tragically divided nation. However, the legacy of violence and arbitrariness of fate once again conspire to shatter his vision: first in the murder of Martin Luther King, whom Bobby eulogizes; and then in own death at the hand of an assassin.
The Center for Contemporary Opera showcased Act I and the final scene of Act III at Symphony Space in New York City, May 17, 2015.
Robert Francis Kennedy, 34-36 (tenor)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 40-42 (baritone)
Jackie Kennedy, 30-32 (soprano)
Rose Kennedy, 47 /Ethel Kennedy, 35 (mezzo-soprano)
Young Bobby, 13 (treble)
Joseph Kennedy, Jr., 23 (bass-baritone)
Joseph Kennedy, Sr., 72 (bass)
Jimmy Hoffa, 45 (tenor or high baritone)
Lyndon Baines Johnson, 52 (tenor)
Fidel Castro, 36 (baritone)
Raoul Castro, 30 (tenor)
Che Guevera, 33 (bass-baritone)