Visitations: “Theotokia” and “The War Reporter”
Visitations is the New York premiere of two one-act chamber operas by composer/researcher Jonathan Berger and librettist Dan O’Brien based on the phenomenon of auditory hallucinations: The War Reporter and Theotokia.
Theotokia takes the audience inside the consciousness of a man who, beset by hallucinatory voices, is taunted and seduced by the mother of God. Illuminating the experience of one possessed by ritualistic and religious hallucinatory delusions, the work portrays the inner struggle of mental illness in a rich musical, dramatic, and philosophical counterpoint.
The War Reporter depicts the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning combat journalist Paul Watson, as he seeks to rid himself of the haunting voice of an American soldier whose corpse he photographed in the streets of Mogadishu in 1993. Librettist Dan O’Brien’s interviews with Watson are the primary source for the work.
Written for the medieval quartet New York Polyphony, Visitations also stars soprano Mellissa Hughes. Visitations was commissioned by and premiered at Stanford Live in April 2013 in a Beth Morrison Projects and Stanford Live co-production, and is a co-presentation with Roulette for PROTOTYPE 2014.
Photos by Noah Stern Weber.
Mellissa Hughes (soprano)
New York Polyphony
Scenic Design: Kate Edmunds
Video Design: Mark DeChiazza
Costume Design: Sandra Woodall
Costume Design: Connie Strayer
Instrumentalists: Jack Quartet:
Stephen Gosling (piano)
Tara O’Connor (flute)
Pascal Archer (clarinet)
David Cossin (percussion)
Doug Balliett (contrabass)