Bonnie Montgomery, a Searcy native currently living in Nashville, is putting the finishing touches on “Billy Blythe,” a one-act opera on the young life of Bill Clinton. The name comes from the former pres’ birth name, which he changed at 12.
Montgomery, who in full disclosure is an old friend (White County!), went to undergrad at Ouachita and grad school at the University of Missouri in Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She says that after she read “My Life,” she couldn’t lose the vision Virgina (Clinton) Kelly and Billy Blythe singing an aria together onstage.
She’s composing the opera with help from librettist Britt Barber, another Ouachita grad.
Here’s an overview from the opera’s website:
The story portrays Clinton’s vivacious mother, Virginia, and her coming to terms with the death of Bill’s father and her new marriage and life. Also portrayed is Roger Clinton’s love for his family, but his uncontrollable drinking-related temper. And then, of course, Billy, who discovers within himself how to fit into this construct of family, culture and truth.
When she’s not composing opera’s, Montgomery writes really awesome folk songs. Listen here.