Based on La invención de Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, the opera will receive its world premiere in the spring of 2017 at Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.
Most famous as the co-founder and drummer of The Police, Stewart Copeland is a rock legend who has also established himself as a major symphonic and opera composer, earning commissions from Covent Garden, the Cleveland Opera, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Virginia Arts Festival, the San Francisco Ballet, among others.
Copeland's latest commission, a joint effort by Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater, teams the legendary composer with librettist and opera stalwart Jonathan Moore for an intense story of suspense, exploration, and unlikely romance set on a mysterious island. The opera is based on La invención de Morel, a 1940 novel by the influential Argentine author, Adolfo Bioy Casares.
The synopsis: An escaped fugitive arrives on an isolated, strange island. While exploring his surroundings, he observes a group of tourists, including one particularly beautiful woman with whom he becomes obsessed. However, something is not quite right in this paradise. He discovers these eccentric visitors exist in an alternate reality created by a futuristic invention of Morel, a mad, scientific genius who willingly leads the group to their death."We are thrilled to develop this time-bending love story with Stewart and Jonathan after their great success with Tell-Tale Heart, which was given its US premiere in 2013 by Long Beach Opera," said Andreas Mitisek, artistic and general director of Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater. "Stewart is a refreshing new voice for the opera stage."
"The idea of making an opera out of Morel came from my 18-year-old daughter, Grace," said Copeland. "She was drawn to the device of the two lovers on the same beach, but at different times. Music is the perfect way to create the effect of Morel's invention of never ending time loops. The feeling of reality going around and around is how music works and provides a way to represent the overlapping and contrasting realities of the story…" Copeland comments, "I've got a pretty clear idea of how music can drive emotion, which is why I'm so keen on opera — it's the most fun a composer can have with his clothes on."
The Invention of Morel, with a cast of nine singers and orchestra of 16 players, receives a workshop with orchestra on January 18th, 2016 in New York as part of OPERA America's New Works Forum, an annual gathering of opera creators. The opera will have its world premiere in the spring of 2017 at Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.