From the recording Aria: "Pertiest"
Luke & Sarah is an American opera in two acts composed in 1996. The musical score is strongly imbued with the rich tradition of American folk music. A variety of musical styles are brought into play. Instrumental colors also play an important role in painting a picture of life in the backwoods, using the music of the banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin in their characteristic modes. Square dances, country songs, Irish fiddle tunes and dances as well as sacred harp choral music serve as the melodic source material taken from Appalachian and Smoky Mountain regions. Each lends expression to the story’s pioneering spirit.
The original libretto by Dr. James R. Murphy consisted essentially of a frontier version of Romeo and Juliet set against a background of agrarian-industrial conflict between mountain folk and invading railroads. Considering the plot too spare and the parallels between Shakespeare and the opera too obvious, Domine suggested the addition of Miss Dixie to the story, lending the appeal of a bad-girl Carmen-type character to the otherwise pale story. Thus enriched, the story is infinitely more engaging. Other interpolations and changes have been made to the libretto to remedy the coarse and needless profanity in the original version. The opera is presented in its current form as a work in progress.
The territorial feud between Pa McBeam and Pa McDaniels over the location of a still has been going on for years and recently has been escalating in intensity and violence. The animosity between the families is recognized but not understood by sweet and chaste little Sarah, a beautiful 15-year-old member of the McBeam clan. Sarah loves the world and everything in it, especially her secret beau, Luke, the handsome, young, untainted son of Pa McDaniels. They reveal their secret love for each other in the two-part aria Pertiest.
This archival recording of the Aria: Pertiest from Act I of Luke & Sarah features soprano Deborah Mayhan as Sarah and tenor Gabriel Reoyo-Pazos as Luke with James Domine conducting the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra.