Past Shows

Rev. 23

Artist’s Praise

Energetic, and ingenious
— Boston Globe

A compendium of surprises
— The Washington Post

[Cerise Lim] Jacobs writes rich and resonant sententiae. There is indeed a mythic power to her sensibility, covert beneath the level of the literal.
— Charles Geyer, La Scena Musicale

Bold and imaginative flair for allusive text setting...silken complexities of his harmonies
— The New York Times

Wachner is both an unapologetic modernist and an open-minded eclectic—his music has something to say
— American Record Guide

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About the Show

Work-In-Progress Concert
January 14 at 3pm

The Book of Revelation ends at chapter 22. Or does it?

REV. 23 is the hitherto unpublished last chapter of the Book of Revelation as dictated by St. John the Divine and transcribed by Cerise Lim Jacobs. It narrates the last battle to recapture Paradise-on-Earth and restore the balance of good and evil to our world. Persephone, the only being able to pass freely between Hell and Earth, is recruited by Lucifer in the fight against he rulers of Paradise-on-Earth. No one is exempt from this battle.

Which side are you on?

Composer & Conductor: Julian Wachner
Librettist: Cerise Jacobs
Workshop Director: Josh Major
Production Director: Mark Streshinsky

Assistant Conductor: Daniela Candillari
Stage Manager: Joe Gladstone
Dramaturg: Cori Ellison
Executive Producer: Friends of Madame White Snake

Lucifer: Josh Quinn
Hades: Vale Rideout
Persephone: Heather Buck
Adam: John McVeigh
Eve: Katherine Pracht
Sun Tze: Matt Anchel
Arch Angel Michael: Michael Maniaci
Fury 1: Jamie Rose Guarrine
Fury 2: Melanie Long
Fury 3: Nora Graham-Smith

with the Novus NY Orchestra 

Additional Credits
Orchestra: Melissa Baker, Doug Balliett, David Byrd-Marrow, Benjamin Fingland, Katie Hyun, Michael Katz, Bridget Kibbey, Michael Lormand, Melissa Reardon, Brandon Ridenour, Edson Scheid, Daniel Schlosberg, Matt Smallcomb, Jared Soldiviero, and Ken Thomson

at National Sawdust

Produced by Trinity Church Wall Street. Comissioned by Friends of Madame White Snake.

Co-presented with National Sawdust. 

Show run time: ​90 Minutes

Rev. 23 will have a 30 minute discussion and opportunity to give feedback directly following the performance. The discussion will feature librettist and creator Cerise Jacobs, composer and conductor Julian Wachner, and will be moderated by PROTOTYPE's Co-Director, Beth Morrison. Availability is extremely limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. 

To attend the talkback, please sign up at the box office beginning at 2pm (one hour before curtain). You will be given a separate ticket that allows entry to the talkback which will take place in the balcony of National Sawdust's adjacent restaurant, RIDER. 

Artist Bio

Cerise Lim Jacobs (Creator and Librettist) creates new American opera from her chequered past in multicultural Singapore, and her sojourns around the world. Her original libretti are inspired by the myths that live in our imaginations and the excitement of current events and people she encounters. With her husband Charles, she conceived of and wrote the libretti for Ouroboros Trilogy, comprising two world premieres, Naga (by Scott Wheeler) and Gilgamesh (by Paola Prestini) and the remount of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning Madame White Snake (by Zhou Long). Ouroboros Trilogy premiered in Boston in September 2016 and was hailed as “enchanted” (Boston Globe) and “binge worthy” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). “The music should be heard, the production should be seen and there is wisdom in the text.” (BMINT). Cerise is also developing several more operas, including Rev. 23 with composer Julian Wachner to premiere in 2017, and PermaDeath, with composer Dan Visconti for 2018.

Julian Wachner (Composer) is a Grammy-nominated conductor and one of North America’s most exciting and versatile musicians, sought after as conductor, composer, and keyboard artist. As Director of Music and the Arts at New York’s historic Trinity Wall Street, Wachner oversees hundreds of events annually, with duties including conducting Trinity’s flagship weekly series, Bach-at-One, and leading Compline-by-Candlelight, Trinity’s innovative fully-improvised variation on an ancient monastic ritual. In addition, Wachner curates the long-standing and cherished series Concerts-at One. Also at Trinity Wall Street, Wachner serves as the Principal Conductor of NOVUS NY, the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street. In addition to numerous performances of his music throughout North America, this season Wachner has received composition commissions from Vision into Art (Epistle for orchestra and chorus), the Washington Master Chorale (An October Garden), the Rivers School (Composer-in-residence), and from Beth Morrison Projects and Friends of Madame White Snake for his second full-length opera (REV23). His original music has been variously described as “jazzy, energetic, and ingenious” (Boston Globe), being “a compendium of surprises” (Washington Post), and as “bold and atmospheric”, having “an imaginative flair for allusive text setting” and noted for “the silken complexities of his harmonies” (New York Times.) 

Novus NY (Orchestra) is Trinity Church Wall Street's contemporary music orchestra. Hailed by The New Yorker as "expert and versatile musicians," NOVUS NY conquers a variety of new music repertoire, meeting "every challenge with an impressive combination of discipline and imagination" (New York Classical Review). In its first season, NOVUS NY was featured in "Remember to Love," Trinity's commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Of the week-long tribute, The New York Times wrote: "If there is such a thing as a musical blessing, Trinity Church conferred it on a neighborhood and a city still in need of one." The orchestra is an integral part of Trinity's musical outreach, which has included such critically acclaimed series as Twelve in '12The Stravinsky FestivalCelebrating BrittenLamentatio, and Time’s Arrow. NOVUS NY has been featured on several recordings including Elena Ruehr's Averno for Avie Records, Paola Prestini’s Hubble Cantata, and a 3-CD set of Julian Wachner's orchestral works on the Musica Omnia label. The orchestra has performed annually in Prototype Festival operas including Ellen Reid’s Winter's Child and Du Yun's Angel's Bone and will serve as the orchestra for Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s Breaking the Waves

Artist Statement

I dreamed up REV. 23 one day as I was thinking of where I would meet my husband Charles again since he passed from this world. It amused me that my incorrigible, irascible and impossible husband wouldn't be caught dead (pardon the pun) in Paradise (not that he'd be entirely welcome there) as some of the most interesting people seem to be consigned to that other place. This led to more musing about what Heaven was like and concomitantly, what that other place was like.

I was aided in these musings by the fact that I was a Singaporean Methodist, a product of an American Methodist Missionary school and deeply steeped in biblical lore. So I turned, naturally, to the most detailed account of Paradise-on-Earth familiar to me, the divine visions of John of Patmos, author of the Book of Revelation.

Poring over the Book of Revelation over and over again (it's a very short book), I couldn't shake away the sense of unease that grew stronger with each read, that perhaps I wouldn't be perfectly happy in a place of perfect happiness. As I began to explore why I felt uneasy, the framework for REV. 23, the final chapter of the Book of Revelation, began to take shape.

At first, my superstitiousness made me balk at developing the REV. 23 story. I wondered if I would be cursed with the plagues of Revelation because I was adding to the words of the Book of Revelation, indeed, writing an entirely new chapter. For those who do not know what I mean, here's the quote from Revelation 22: 18-19:

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Then it occurred to me that perhaps John of Patmos was speaking through me about his last chapter, hitherto unwritten and unpublished, that I was merely the scribe chosen to write it down. That's why John of Patmos is credited as the author of REV. 23.

For me, the Garden of Eden is part and parcel of Paradise-on-Earth. So naturally, REV. 23 segues back into Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve's expulsion from Paradise. Hence the “beginning” of REV. 23 is really the End of the great saga recounted in the Bible, and its “end” is the Beginning of the Bible, reflecting the perfect circle that is life.

- Cerise Jacobs