Robert Ward: Well, the first thing that you do is you turn the play into a libretto. So that's the first thing that has to be done. Bernard Stambler and I worked very closely on that and that meant cutting some scenes and writing new things for certain ones. One very famous scene in the opera was the beginning of the third act when you have a great scene which starts out as a love scene between Abigail and the hero. Arthur [Miller] had written one at the behest of the first director but he never felt it was a good scene. But we felt it was a very important time for that scene so we wrote it. We read the text that Bernie had written for it to Arthur and he said, "Boy, that's good. That's the way it should be."
And it's been one of the most popular scenes because it really was the end of their love. So that was the way it went.
Excerpts from The Crucible, performed by New York City Opera, conducted by Emerson Buckley, and used courtesy of Albany Records. The Crucible is based on the play by Arthur Miller with a libretto by Bernard Stambler and music by Robert Ward.
In this clip, Ward recalls a scene in the beginning of Act III that Miller was never happy with, until he heard the opera. [1:53]