The original version of Penelope was commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Center in 2007. This version of Penelope was created for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and first performed by the company on March 30, 2019.

arr. 2018

  • perc, 2vn, va, vc, db; laptop/live electronics
  • Mezzo Soprano
  • 1 hr

Programme Note

Related works:
   Penelope (for voice and chamber orchestra)
   Penelope (for voice and large ensemble)
   Penelope (for voice and septet)
   Penelope (for voice and sextet)

Songs can be rented and performed individually.

1. The Stranger with the Face of a Man I Loved
2. This Is What You're Like
3. The Honeyed Fruit
4. The Lotus Eaters
5. Nausicaa
6. Circe and the Hanged Man
7. I Died of Waiting
8. Home
9. Dead Friend
10. Calypso
11. And Then You Shall Be Lost Indeed
12. Open Hands
13. Baby Teeth, Bones, and Bullets
14. As He Looks Out to Sea

Composer note:
Inspired by Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey, Penelope is a meditation on memory, identity, and what it means to come home. The song cycle, written in 2009 for Shara Worden and Ensemble Signal, is based on a music-theater monodrama written by Snider and playwright Ellen McLaughlin for the J. Paul Getty Center in 2008. In the work, a woman's husband appears at her door after an absence of twenty years, suffering from brain damage. A veteran of an unnamed war, he doesn't know who he is and she doesn't know who he's become. While they wait together for his return to himself, she reads to him from the Odyssey, and in the journey of that book, she finds a way into her former husband's memory and the terror and trauma of war.

— Sarah Kirkland Snider




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