Children's and Liturgical Opera Company, LLC
www.chancelopera.com
LITURGICAL OPERA: The Awakening
THE AWAKENING
a chancel opera based on scenes in the Gospels
with libretto by Neil Olsen • music by Susan Hulsman Bingham
(l. to r.): Martha Bennett Oneppo, soprano, as Mary, and
Joann Goeler, mezzo soprano, as Martha in THE AWAKENING
 

three soloists: Mary: soprano, Martha: mezzo soprano and Jesus: low tenor/ high baritone

CAST:

piano or organ

ACCOMPANIMENT:

CHORUS:

none

DANCE:

none

PROPS:

minimal household materials. Details in score.

Gospels of John 2: 1-11, Luke 10:38-42, Matthew 27, Mark 15: 46-47, Luke 23: 53-56a, John 19:40-42, the New Testament.

SOURCE OF TEXTS:

LANGUAGE:

English

tonal, highly melodic, traditionally harmonic but gently experimental. Short aria, recitative sections, two trios. Parts of this libretto are funny.

MUSICAL STYLE:

five tiny scenes divided by musical interludes for costume changes
I. The present, wherever you are
II. At the wedding at Cana at the beginning of Jesus' ministry
III. At the house of Martha and Mary
IV. At calvary just after the crucifixion
V. The present

SCENES:

SOUND CLIP:
Click here to hear a sound clip of this piece sung by Martha Bennett Oneppo, soprano (Mary), Carol Marsh, mezzo soprano (Martha) and Timothy Bingham, baritone (Jesus).

DURATION:

twenty minutes

PREMIERED:

Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, CT, 1980

SYNOPSIS

In five tiny scenes, one woman helps another accept the healing of Our Lord as offered through three Gospel settings: the Wedding at Cana, the House of Martha and Mary, and the Crucifixion.

1. In the present: Martha confesses to her friend Mary that, though she has everything the material world could offer, she still suffers a sense of lack and is deeply troubled.

2. In the time of Jesus, based on John 2:1-11 (The Wedding at Cana). Mary, Jesus's mother, is talking with Martha, who is horrified because the wedding wine has run out. Mary suggests that Jesus turn water into wine, and Martha withdraws in fear from the man who has such powers.

3. In the time of Jesus, based on Luke 10:38-42 (in which the sisters Martha and Mary are visited by Jesus). Mary, Jesus's friend, sits at JesusŐs feet while her sister Martha bustles.

4. In the time of Jesus, based on Matthew 27, Mark 15: 46-47, Luke 23: 53-56a, and John 19:40-42 (the Crucifixion). Two Marys lament at the foot of the cross.

5. The present. One of the friends is still caught in the dark time just after the Crucifixion. The other reminds her of the Resurrection, prompting her to ask Jesus in prayer, "Who are you, to us, to me?" Jesus, present now as then, touches her with the touch of the healer.


Musical score: $30. Price includes shipping and handling within the U.S, as well as performance rights and permission to make as many copies of the score as needed for one group's performances in one season.

Musical score of "The Awakening" as downloadable PDF file: $20

 

CD of three chancel operas (SIMEON, ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS, and THE AWAKENING): $20. Includes shipping within the U.S.

 

 

Composer's comment: works in any season. True showcase for the two sopranos, who have duets. Dramatic. Depicts Jesus as having a gentle sense of humor, too. SHB

 

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