Chicago Opera Theater premieres Stewart Copeland's sci-fi love story
25th January 2017
Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera co-commissioned this fantastical and futuristic romance with Copeland's score and a libretto co-created by Jonathan Moore and Copeland. Their most recent collaboration, The Tell Tale Heart, commissioned by the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, received its US premiere in 2013 by Long Beach Opera.
Adolfo Bioy Casares's influential 1940 novel La inventión de Morel, a love story with a strong science fiction bent, is a natural fit for Copeland's dramatic sensibilities.
In a nutshell: A fugitive from justice has found refuge on a remote island. There is rumor of a strange disease connected to this deserted place. Suddenly a group of exotic tourists arrive. The fugitive fears arrest but falls in love with one of the intruders and is compelled to seek her out. She ignores him completely! Soon he is barging in on the tourists' strangely anachronistic party, wailing for attention. Why won't she acknowledge him, why won't they arrest him? What are those machines in the basement? And why does she keep repeating the same conversation with that Morel? A charismatically odd man, made even stranger by his isolation, solving a cosmic mystery while maddened by love is the sort of fantastic romance that opera serves so well.
The premiere performances feature a cast of eight singers including Andrew Wilkowske (The Fugitive), Lee Gregory (Narrator), Valerie Vinzant (Faustine), Kimberly E. Jones (Dora), Barbara Landis (Duchess), Scott Brunscheen (Alec/Ombrellieri), Nathan Granner (Morel), and David Govertsen (Stoever). Co-librettist Moore is stage director and Andreas Mitisek, General Director of both Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera, conducts the Fulcrum Point New Music Project.The production is designed by David Jacques, Lighting Designer, Jenny Mannis, Costume Designer, Adam Flemming, Video Designer, and Alan Muraoka, Set Designer.
Copeland relates how the inspiration for The Invention of Morel came from his daughter, Grace: '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…'
For more information:
- animated trailer
- creators' interview