Dec 02, 2005 — On December 2nd 2005, the Metropolitan Opera unveiled a new work based on Theodore Dreiser's classic novel American Tragedy. Dreiser's novel was inspired by a true Adirondack story. In the summer of 1906, a young man named Chester Gillette took his pregnant girlfriend boating on Big Moose Lake, near Old Forge. The next day, Grace Brown's body was found floating in a secluded cove in South Bay. Chester Gillette tried to flee, but was captured in Inlet and tried for murder. The case sparked a media frenzy and made headlines around the world. As Brian Mann reports, over the last century it has become a part of American mythology. Go to full article
Dec 02, 2005 — The opera version of American Tragedy premiers tonight in New York City. The score was written by composer Tobias Picker. Picker sat down last week with Brian Mann to talk about the project. Picker spent time researching the story in the Adiorondacks. He says Theodore Dreiser's classic novel is still contemporary, in part because of its attention to the tension between evangelical Christianity and American capitalism. Go to full article
Chester Gillette, convicted of Grace Brown's murder.
Dec 01, 2005 — One of the most controversial events in Adirondack history is back in the news this week. In July of 1906, a handsome young man named Chester Gillette was accused of drowning his pregnant girlfriend, Grace Brown, in a secluded cove at Big Moose Lake. Gillette was the nephew of a mill-owner in Cortland, New York. Brown was one of the company's workers. Gillette's trial and execution made headlines around the world. The story is the basis for Theodore Dreiser's classic novel An American Tragedy.
In the hundred years since, the murder inspired other novels, plays, and two Hollywood movies -- including the classic film A Place In the Sun. Tomorrow, a new opera based on the murder and Theodore Dreiser's novel will premier at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Brian Mann spoke with Charles Adams, who's been a summer resident of Big Moose Lake since the 1930s. Adams drives a tour boat on the lake and is part of the Grace Brown Committee that is commemorating the anniversary of her murder. Go to full article
Dec 01, 2005 — At Chester Gillette's trial in Herkimer, the prosecution read from Grace Brown's love letters. The last of those letters was written a week before her murder. The letter is read by Jennifer Donnelly, who grew up in Lewis County. She's the author of a novel about the murder called A Northern Light, the 2006 selection of North Country Reads--a one-book, one community program--and is tonight's guest on Readers & Writers at 7 pm. Go to full article