Persephone in the Late Anthropocene : A Modern Spoken Opera
Why is Persephone, the goddess of spring, coming and going erratically, eating and drinking too much, and taking a human lover? Persephone in the Late Anthropocene is a new spoken opera that re-imagines the Persephone myth — the ancient story of why we have winter — in the age of climate change. This May, SPACE presents the world premiere production of this new experimental opera.
Co-created by composer Denis Nye and librettist Megan Grumbling for Hinge/Works, under the direction of Tess Van Horn, Persephone merges new composition, poetry, movement, theater, and a full-scale installation by visual artist Jenna Crowder, which will occupy the main gallery of SPACE for the month of May, with lighting design by Corey Anderson. Persephone’s score is a post-Romantic chamber work for oboe, violin, viola, and cello, filtered live through a digital delay to evoke the disjunction and crisis – as well as the beauty – of our modern world; the libretto ranges from lyric verse to edgy, magical realist prose poems and an imagined Farmer’s Almanac.
Performing Persephone in the Late Anthropocene are ensemble members Bridgette Kelly (Persephone), Deborah Paley (Demeter),Ian Bannon (Chorus), Paul Haley (Chorus), and Marjolaine Whittlesey (Chorus); and musicians Ben Meiklejohn (Oboe) Victoria Hurlburt (Violin), Leigh-Ashley Milne (Viola), and Volkhard Lindner and Lilith Dudley Holland (Cello), conducted by Cameron John Prescott. With assistant direction by stage manager Rene Johnson.
Premium Persephone tickets are available for $32 which include a specially created “Underworld” or “Aboveground” cocktail pairing, by Nathaniel Meiklejohn of The Jewel Box, AND a thematic food pairing for each movement, by relational artist Genevieve Johnson:
The Lost Meadow: seeded rye lavash with seasoned wild greens, wildflowers, and colony collapse dressing
The Slack Tide: Damariscotta oyster with kelp salad and sesame tar balls
The Chocolate Underground: pomegranate caramel bon bon, rose lemon-thyme bouquet, and edible felt
Photo credit: Chronos Ananke Productions