Two Yosemites

An Environmental Opera
Music and Libretto by Justin Ralls

Setting to music “the most famous camping trip in history,” Two Yosemites recreates the remarkable 1903 meeting between President Theodore Roosevelt and famous conservationist John Muir.


Two Yosemites” proved to be a surprisingly fine opera that resonated with a large audience at the outdoor amphitheater…Perennial problems of land use rights in industrial society color Ralls’ opera as thoroughly as the democratic-imperialistic tension that animated Beethoven’s heroic Third Symphony…Ralls took this thematic coloring to the next level, in the finest operatic tradition. ~Matthew Andrews, Oregon Arts Watch
Two Yosemites Reviews & Press:

Marvelous ”Two Yosemites” makes a passionate plea for the environment – Northwest Reverb, September 25 2017

‘Two Yosemites’ review: mythological quest  – Oregon ArtsWatch, September 12 2017

Voice in the Wilderness: opera singer Nicholas Meyer – Oregon ArtsWatch, September 6 2017

Composer Justin Ralls: inspired by nature – Oregon ArtsWatch, September 5 2017

Making ‘Two Yosemites’ – Oregon ArtsWatch, September 3 2017

‘Most famous camping trip ever’ inspires Oregon composer’s opera – Oregonian/Oregon Live , August 28 2017

Indoor World Premiere performance / Two Yosemites / Sep 8 – 2017

Date: Friday, September 8, 2017
Time: music at 7:30pm, doors open at 6:30pm
Location: Lewis & Clark College, Agnes Flanagen Chapel
Duration: 1 HR 10 MINS

Outdoor World Premiere performances / Two Yosemites / Sep 15, 16 – 2017

Dates: Friday, September 15 & Saturday, September 16, 2017
Time: music at 7:00pm, amphitheater opens at 6:00pm
Location: Lewis & Clark College, Law School Amphiteater
Duration: 1 HR 10 MINS

A must-see for the opera crowd, nature lovers, history buffs, or anyone who just loves a good story” ~Spreck Rosekrans, Executive Director, Restore Hetch Hetchy


Theodore Roosevelt 
Aaron Short
Generously sponsored by George Rowbottom and Marilyn Crilley


John Muir
Nicholas Meyer
Generously sponsored by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)


President Theodore Roosevelt (left) poses with John Muir at the top of Glacier Point, Yosemite in 1903 (Image colorized by Marina Amaral and used with express permission).

THE OPERA sets to music the meeting between President Theodore Roosevelt and conservationist John Muir on their historic, 1903 camping trip in Yosemite National Park. Arguably the most famous camping trip in history, it marked a pivotal moment in the emergent American Conservation movement to save and protect lands and wildlife from the exploitative impulses of the 19th and 20th Centuries. The two men shared much in common, however, where they diverged illuminated vastly different visions of our relationship with our environment. The drama takes place over the course of one evening, around the campfire at Glacier Point, yet within this setting, the archetypes of their concerns and experience, ultimately, express our own.

We embark on this journey with them; their words speak across time to the perennial engagement of our own consciousness. During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt signed into existence five national parks, 18 national monuments, 55 national bird sanctuaries and wildlife refuges, and 150 national forests. Two Yosemites tells the story of two powerful, eccentric, and passionate figures, whose meeting illuminates the debate of conservation, democracy, and the relationship of society with nature. It is a story of love and sacrifice and the fate of a long lost valley whose name became a rallying cry and a century of controversy. Learn more about the opera here.

The Fundraiser

Solstice Soirée Benefit for Two Yosemites – June 2017


For sponsorship opportunities at any level contact Lisa Lipton at, or for individual donations visit our DONATE page.