Scalia & Ginsburg Inspire New Opera

He’s a tenor stuck in the 18th century. She’s a soprano who evolves over time. They fight like cats and dogs at work, but somehow forge and maintain a beautiful friendship. It’s “Scalia/Ginsburg,” the opera by award-winning composer Derrick Wang, who just graduated from the University of Maryland law school.

Justices Antonin Scalia, with his devotion to the Constitution’s original meaning, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, more willing to adapt the Constitution to changing times, are ideological opposites and longtime friends with a mutual love of opera.

The idea of setting their words to music came to Wang, 29, when he was studying constitutional law and reading Scalia’s often fiery and well-constructed dissents. Ginsburg’s responses had their own lyricism, he said.

And so he wrote an aria for the Scalia character in the 18th century style known as opera seria in which Scalia rages about justices who want the Constitution to mean whatever they think it should mean — just as he does in real life.

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