On the Road to Emmaus, a chancel opera

Children's and Liturgical Opera Company, LLC
www.chancelopera.com
 
LITURGICAL OPERA: Emmaus     
 
ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
a chancel opera based on Luke 24
by Susan Hulsman Bingham
 

David Bell, baritone, as Jesus; Martha Bennett Oneppo, soprano, as the Unnamed Disciple, and Timothy Bingham, tenor, as Cleopas
in a performance at the Heilandkirche, Stuttgart, Germany, February 18, 2001.
Photo by Joann Goeler.

 

CAST:

Jesus (low tenor), and two disciples (either two tenors or one low tenor and one soprano)

ACCOMPANIMENT:

piano or organ, flute

CHORUS:

no

DANCE:

none

PROPS:

small table, two or three chairs, minimal food for table, including bread and goblet for wine

SOURCE OF TEXTS:

Luke 24

LANGUAGE:

English

MUSICAL STYLE:

tonal, melodic, lyrical

SCENES:

one

DURATION:

20 minutes

SOUND CLIP:
  Click here to hear a sound clip of this piece sung by Anthony Lopez, baritone, and Timothy Bingham and Thomas Crumb, tenors. Click here for a second clip (Anthony Lopez, baritone).
PREMIER:
  Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, CT, 1980
REVIEWS:
 

"A simple but highly effective dramatization."
Carl Gerbrandt, Sacred Musical Drama, a Producer's Guide

"[A]
most vivid opera . .On the Road to Emmaus . . radiated serenity and moved the audience. David Bell sings the risen Jesus with tranquil calm, and an atmosphere is created especially by the Hebrew blessing [sung as] a trio with Martha Bennett Oneppo and Timothy Bingham as disciples who recognize their Messiah again."
Newspaper review, Sindelfingen, Germany

February, 2001

 

SYNOPSIS
 

NOTE: Only one of the two disciples in Luke 24 is named. Since it has been suggested that the unnamed disciple might hve been a woman, we have done this opera with either all male singers or with two male and one female singer. Both combinations work very well.


The time is four days after the death of Jesus. As the disciples walk toward Emmaus, they discuss the events leading up to the crucifixion. They are joined by a stranger. Eagerly the disciples recount the story to him, making plain their doubts as to the truth of some of it. Frustrated at their lack of conviction, the stranger reminds them that Scripture is full of references and prophesies concerning these very events. He quotes Moses, Zechariah, Micah and others, and others join in.


As evening is falling, the disciples invite the stranger to join them for a meal. While breaking bread, the stranger is recognized to be Jesus.


According to Luke, Jesus disappears upon the moment of recognition. In this opera, the moment is drawn out while Jesus sings the familiar Hebrew blessing, "The Lord bless you and keep you . . .". The opera ends as Jesus' amazed friends start on their way back toward Jerusalem.

 

Piano/ vocal score and flute part (or violin part--may be done with either and can be done with piano accompaniment alone) for ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS: $50. Includes shipping within the U.S. as well as copying and performing rights (see contract which accompanies order form).

 

"Emmaus" chancel opera score as downloadable PDF file: $25.

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

Composer's comment: Great for the Sunday immediately following Easter and usable throughout the year for those who do not need to stick terribly closely to a lectionary. We have done this one more than any other -- with great success. SHB

 

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