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Switch to Forum Live View New Spiritual/Mystical Opera in NYC
7 years ago  ::  Oct 25, 2007 - 3:52PM #1
SSS
Posts: 2
If you happen to be an opera fan and live in the NYC metro area, the following may be of interest to you.  It is the result of my spiritual journey and particularly questions what is true faith.

MUSIC AT HOLY TRINITY

Presents in Concert

The Veil of Forgetfulness
(a mystical opera in two acts

Music & Libretto by Susan Stoderl
Art  Installation by Sarah Olson

In medieval Shaftesbury Abbey, true faith challenges proclaimed faith to transform human intolerance and hypocrisy into spiritual transcendence. Abbess Marie and her secret band must hurry to fulfill their destiny before they are exposed as heretics in Susan Stoderl
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2007 - 1:20PM #2
Merope
Posts: 9,346
[QUOTE=SSS;22525]If you happen to be an opera fan and live in the NYC metro area, the following may be of interest to you.  It is the result of my spiritual journey and particularly questions what is true faith.

MUSIC AT HOLY TRINITY

Presents in Concert

The Veil of Forgetfulness
(a mystical opera in two acts

Music & Libretto by Susan Stoderl
Art  Installation by Sarah Olson[/QUOTE]

This sounds wonderful!  If I were anywhere near NYC, I'd attend a performance.  As it is, I'm way out on the Left Coast, with no plans to be in New York any time soon :-(

It looks like your synopsis got cut off, so here it is in full, from this website:

[COLOR="Blue"]In medieval Shaftesbury Abbey, true faith challenges proclaimed faith to transform human intolerance and hypocrisy into spiritual transcendence.  Abbess Marie and her secret band must hurry to fulfill their destiny before they are exposed as heretics in Susan Stoderl's opera, The Veil of Forgetfulness.  Their quest into the mysteries of life and faith is visualized in an art installation by Sarah Olson.  As this mystical opera makes the journey from traditional stage to church sanctuary, the resonance of eight superb voices, majestic pipe organ and chamber ensemble [flute, oboe, cello, and synthesizer] interweave with an ever-evolving art installation to form a mosaic of sound and vision.[/COLOR]

According to the press release:

[COLOR="Blue"]... The Veil of Forgetfulness tells the story of Abbess Marie and her band of six spiritual renegades who struggle against the stranglehold of the codified medieval Church.  The six Keepers of the Veil must find and initiate their seventh member before they are denounced as heretics.  Abbess Marie, secretly the famous 12th century poet Marie de France, and bastard sister of King Henry II, is the First Keeper of the Veil.  Her task is to fulfill the Legend of the Veil.  If fulfilled, the prophecy will allow the seven Keepers to transcend earthly life and return to the Time Before God.  All of the Veil's length accumulated as a result of their good deeds will be left behind to ease mankind's way.  If the prophecy is not fulfilled, the cloth returns to its original tiny square and the process begins again.  If the cloth falls into the wrong hands, it can just as easily be used for evil purposes.  If the seven do not fulfill the quest, not only will they be executed as heretics, but they will be trapped in a long cycle of reincarnations.[/COLOR]

Great story line and beautiful imagery!  I like the articulated difference between "true faith" and "proclaimed faith."  I also like the notion of "the time before God," and what this could mean as metaphor, symbol, and/or state of consciousness (Garden of Eden?).

The press release also notes that The Veil of Forgetfulness borrows, in concept, from the medieval mystery plays.  The substance of the mystery plays was taken from the liturgy of the Mass, and the plays were performed in churches.  Through these plays, there was a distinct call for the broadening of current thought.  The press release also notes that little modern opera has been written specifically for church performance and that no opera has made extensive use of pipe organ as part of the orchestra.  And, of course, few operas have been written for an all female cast.

The Veil of Forgetfulness is, indeed, in the tradition of operas composed specifically for church performance.  Among modern composers who have written operas for church performance is Benjamin Britten.  In the 1960s, he wrote three "Parables for Church Performance"  (Curlew River, The Burning Fiery Furnace, and The Prodigal Son), as well as  Noye's Fludde.  All are designed for performance in churches, although they can be staged in small theatres.

Operas for church performance are fun because they have all the drama and musical/vocal quality of "grand" opera but they're focused and specifically designed for performance in a smaller, specifically sacred place.  The location of the staging typically reinforces the themes of the work.  This Veil sounds really wonderful, IMO; I'd see it in a heartbeat.
Merope | Beliefnet Community Manager
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