Music by Robert Paterson • Libretto by Mark Campbell
Based on the short story of the same name by Stephen McCauley


The Whole Truth, with music by Robert Paterson and a libretto by Mark Campbell, is like Opera Espresso: short, concentrated, and energizing.
— DC Metro Arts

Duration: 25'
Instrumentation: piano/vocal version—three singers (soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone) and piano. Chamber version (10 instrumentalists): flute, oboe, bassoon, percussion, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass.
Libretto by Mark Campbell • Based on the short story of the same name by Stephen McCauley
Commissioned by UrbanAriasRobert Wood, Executive and Artistic Director
Premiere of Chamber Version: American Modern Ensemble, Tyson Deaton, conductor, Walker Lewis, director, Dixon Place, New York, NY, January 16, 17, 18 and 19, 2016.
Premiere of Piano/Vocal VersionUrbanAriasRobert Wood, conductor, Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington, DC, February 21, 27 and 28, 2015.
Publisher: Bill Holab Music

Buy Full Score | Buy Piano/vocal Score | Rental Information
View Full Score | View Piano/vocal score


The Whole Truth is a comic opera that examines, in seven short scenes, the bifurcated soul of a young married woman named Megan. While Megan A (soprano) does all she can to avoid the truth, Megan B (mezzo-soprano) seeks to confront it, especially when managing the many men in their life (played by one baritone). The dual-sided Megan duels with herself while lying about her list of lovers to her psychiatrist, dutifully tending to a patient in her dental practice, avoiding involvement with her routine paramour (a fellow dentist), humoring her clueless husband at dinner, and finally enjoying a hot dalliance with a carefree young carpenter. Soon, the very tall edifice of deceit she has built threatens to topple—but in the end, a well-dressed lie (or many of them), turns out to be better than the naked truth.

– Mark Campbell

Notes on Staging

The Whole Truth is designed to be staged using very limited production elements in its storytelling and has been written to be performed in intimate to medium-sized venues. Using a single bed positioned vertically onstage and a couple of chairs, the settings include a psychiatrist’s office, Megan’s dental office, the bed of her lover, the dining table and the bed she shares with her husband, and another psychiatrist’s office. The Man (played by the baritone) employs five cardboard cutouts to help represent the roles he plays: Psychiatrist 1, The Lover, The Husband, The Carpenter and Psychiatrist.