Commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, Norwegian National Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago
Based on the story by Jordan Tannahill
A middle-class mother living in a southwestern U.S. suburb notices a “hum,” a high-frequency environmental noise that only a select few people, the “Listeners,” can hear. A community organization quickly forms to solve the mystery of the hum, but when a de facto leader suggests a spiritual significance the meetings become increasingly cult-like, ritualized experiences. It becomes clear that this community of “Listeners” is on a collision course of destruction.
The Listeners examines the lengths to which we, as Americans, are willing to go in order to find a sense of place and purpose, and the way in which charismatic leaders can exploit these needs to their own ends. An enduring part of our American identity is a sense of deserved and inevitable success and happiness. When this imagined future collides with the realities and struggles of everyday life, dazzling and predatory leaders offering a “quick fix” can easily prey on the vulnerabilities of the lonely and lost.
CLAIRE DEVON – Female, late-forties. High school math teacher. Wife of Paul, mother of Ashley: Dramatic Soprano
PAUL DEVON – Male, early-fifties. Lawyer. Husband of Claire and father of Ashley: Bass-baritone
ASHLEY DEVON – Female, 17 years old. Senior high-school student, daughter of Claire and Paul: Light Lyric Soprano
KYLE HARRIS – Male, 18 years old. Senior in high school: Tenor
HOWARD BARD – Male, early-sixties. Retired psychiatrist. Leader of the Listeners: Bass-baritone
ANGELA ROSE – Female, thirties, Howard’s right hand woman: Mezzo-soprano
THOM – Male, late fifties. Engineer. A Listener: Baritone
DILLON – Male, mid-thirties, a former solider with PTSD: Baritone
COYOTE: Non-singing role – actor or dancer
A subset of the chorus, an ensemble of Listeners:
HORTENSE – female, sixties, a chain-smoker: Contralto
DANICA – female, late thirties, wife of Thom: Soprano
VINCE – male, mid-twenties, a hippie stoner: Tenor
JESS – Female, 17 years old, Ashley’s high school friend: Soprano
LEE ANN – Female, 17 years old, Ashley’s high school friend: Mezzo-soprano
MRS. MORENO – Female, fifties, the high school principal: Mezzo-soprano
THERESA ALVAREZ – Female, early thirties, reporter: Soprano
Chorus: Listeners, Claire’s students
(In Act I Scene 4, 8-12 young-looking members of the chorus are onstage to represent students in Claire’s high school classroom. The remainder of the chorus sings from the pit.)
- New Opera Highlights from Wise Music Classical
- Wise Music Classical invites you to explore new highlights from our opera catalogue. In these recent and upcoming premieres, new productions, and premiere recordings, our composers and their creative collaborators explore subjects ranging from the historical (Hadrian, X: The Life and Times of Malcom X, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) to the futuristic (Oryx and Crake), the fantastic (El Ultimo Sueño de Frida y Diego, Florencia en el Amazonas, Die Kinder des Sultans) to the thoroughly contemporary (Grounded, Blue, Innocence, The Shell Trial). Threaded throughout these works are perennial themes of loss, longing, magic, art-making, and community.
- Missy Mazzoli's opera The Listeners is available to stream
- 14th November 2022
- Now available to stream – Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's brand new opera The Listeners from Norwegian National Opera, until 12 May 2023 on Opera Vision.
- Opera Season Highlights from Wise Music Classical
- 12th October 2022
- To celebrate World Opera Day on October 25, we invite you to explore our opera season highlights from the catalogs of the Wise Music Group.
- Mazzoli and Vavrek’s Fourth Opera 'The Listeners' Premieres in Norway
- 14th September 2022
- From September 24 to October 9, Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek unveil their fourth opera The Listeners at the Norwegian National Opera.
- Missy Mazzoli European Concerts in August – October 2022
- 25th August 2022
- The music of American composer Missy Mazzoli is being seen and heard far and wide across Europe this Summer. Throughout August and September Mazzoli has been present for many of these events.