PASSION LOVE GRAVITY

 
 

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IN PROCESS (2017 - current) PASSION LOVE GRAVITY Music by Carson Kievman, Libretto by Carson Kievman and Mark David Needle.

A time dialated opera trilogy. Illuminating three stories of love from the past millennium. Like a travelogue drifting in and out of a hypnagogic state, otherworldly like a lucid dream.

"Passion Love Gravity", will illuminate three stories of from the past millennium: A Japanese legend, an ancient Punjabi folk tale, and a medieval European love affair, all told through the lens of cultural, scientific and political history, that codes of conduct and bending to authoritarian power is only an illusion of time and can be overcome with love itself. First, challenging the strict Catholic codes of medieval Europe with love standing against the obligations of marriage, then with excruciating beauty reconcile their worldly passions with their faith. Second, against a great contrast of the ancient wild forests and kingdoms of Punjab, lovers offer a powerful challenge to the strict Islamic codes and cultural expectations of their time. And finally, a legend set in the courtly feudal gardens of Japan invokes the idea of transfiguration as a princess emerges from, and returns to, an ideal state.

The opera will have a sonata like structure with three acts, in which the characters and settings of separate stories are first introduced; Then interwoven as befits the idea of union and the challenges that emerge; And finally resolved, transcending to something more universal. Musically, the work resembles a travelogue drifting in and out of a hypnagogic state, otherworldly like a lucid dream but viscerally poignant. As a stage piece, the transformations are envisioned as a cascade of overlapping musical and multimedia invention, free floating scene changes, and passions and echoes that suggest a sense of evolution and transfiguration—the stuff of illumination, mysticism, and ablution, with possible interruptions, revelations, and interludes from the “gods”.

Incorporating aspects of masked pageantry, ritual and chant, and deliberate dance movements suggests to us an organic solution in which elements from each tale can resolve.  We envision a finale in which the transcendent themes from all three stories, both musical and dramatic, are complementary. And not least, visually: the triptych is common to world cultures as a visual art medium, from medieval Christian art to ancient Japanese triptychs. We envision the entire opera as a dramatic triptych with three parallel settings and stories. Moreover by the third act, we see the three stories side by side reaching their final phase by forming a living tableau of three parts simultaneously, visually rich and composed like a Japanese or Renaissance triptych painting.

image by Alexey Kashpersky