American Apollo

Damien Geter

Lila Palmer

Performance forces:



American Apollo is a story forged at the crossroad of celebrity, class, race, and power in America. Teasing at the impossibly closed page of the personal relationship between two intensely private people with good reasons to be silent: John Singer Sargent, the closeted celebrity image crafter and public artist and the African-American artist’s model; soldier & muse Thomas McKeller. With special contributions from Sargent Scholar Nathaniel Silver & drawing on the recent Gardner Museum exhibition: Boston’s Apollo, comes a tale of individual courage and breathtaking vulnerability that peels the varnish off venerable historical figures to reveal the beating heart & simmering desire beneath Sargent’s only uncommissioned monumental male nude. Is love blind, or does it have the keenest eyes of all? A chamber opera commissioned by Washington National Opera as of February 2022. Full version coming in 2024, Commissioned by Des Moines Metro Opera.