ION, OPERA IN SEVEN SCENES, BASED ON EURIPIDES ORIGINAL PLAY

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2008-04-25

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The opera ION serves as my Doctoral Dissertation at the University of Maryland School of Music. The librettist of the opera is Nick Olcott, Opera Assistant Director at the University. My interest in this little-known play of Euripides began with my work with Professor Lillian Doherty of the University's Classics Department. Since I am fluent in Greek, I was able to read the play in original, becoming aware of nuances of meaning absent in the standard English translations. Professor Leon Major, Artistic Director of the University's Opera Studio, was enthusiastic about the choice of this play as the basis for an opera, and has been very generous of his time in showing me what must be done to turn a play into an opera. ION is my first complete stage work for voices and constitutes an ambitious project. The opera is scored for a small chamber orchestra, consisting of Saxophone, Percussion (many types), Piano, a Small Chorus of six singers, as well as five Soloists. An orchestra of this size is adequate for the plot, and also provides support for various new vocal techniques, alternating between singing and speaking, as well as traditional arias. In ION, I incorporate Greek folk elements, which I know first-hand from my Balkan background, as well as contemporary techniques which I have absorbed during my graduate work at Boston University and the University of Maryland. Euripides' ION has fascinated me for two reasons in particular: its connection with founding myth of Athens, and the suggestiveness of its plot, which turns on the relationship of parents to children. In my interpretation, the leading character Ion is seen as emblematic for today's teenagers. Using the setting of the classic play, I hope to create a modern transformation of a myth, not to simply retell it. To this end, hopefully a new opera form will rise, as valid for our times as Verdi and Wagner were for theirs.

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