The Limit of the Sun

The Limit of the Sun

An opera in two-acts

Music by Luna Pearl Woolf
Libretto by Andrea Stolowitz

Summary:

A complex relationship develops between the mother of a kidnapped journalist and her son’s young minder, who, after the son’s death in captivity, connects with the mother and is lured into federal custody in the West.

Introduction:

In The Limit of the Sun, four characters, on two sides of the world, are embroiled in a matrix of powerful emotional needs and failed governmental systems that engender violence and unjust incarceration. Through their experience we probe the limits of our capacity to connect across time and space, and to understand justice on both a global and individual scale.

The opera chronicles the interlaced narratives of Assam, a young man in an unnamed post-colonial East African nation tasked with guarding Cody, a US journalist who has been kidnapped in-country, Louisa, Cody’s mother, and Judtih, the federal agent assigned to the case. The first act  begins with the moment of Cody’s kidnapping, follows his mother’s (Lousia’s) quest to free him, Judith’s insistence that the government can not do more, and the growing trust between Cody and Assam during which Cody promises to bring Assam to a better life in the west. The act culminates in Cody’s death during a botched rescue attempt. ACT II begins with Assam reaching out to Louisa through social media during which they both take comfort in memories of Cody. Judith learns of this new connection and convinces Louisa to make good on Cody’s promise and lure Assam to the West. Upon his arrival, Assam is taken into custody. The opera ends with Assam incarcerated and awaiting trial. The work is based on primary source material and reporting from kidnapped journalists, their families, and hostage takers who endeavor to seek out a better life for themselves in the West.

This work seeks to amplify voices that are traditionally underrepresented, and to explore complex female relationships. The Limit of the Sun offers roles to a multi-ethnic cast, including a Black tenor and Asian mezzo-soprano. There are no romances in the opera. Rather, the two female characters are each in the position of savior or punisher to the male characters, while the male characters are in positions of submission, caretaking, and need. In the end, no character fits squarely into these limited roles, and the complexity of their experience and interconnection is at the heart of the work. 

Roles:

LOUISA: soprano, mid 50’s, North-American, a single-mother in a fly-over state.

ASSAM: tenor, early 20’s, from a post-colonial African nation that has dissolved into a decades-long civil war.

CODY: baritone, late 20’s, North-American, Louisa’s son, an aspiring international journalist.

JUDITH: mezzo-soprano, mid 30s, North-American, a self-identified American born Chinese and a federal agent.

Forces:

Soprano
Mezzo-Soprano
Tenor
Baritone

Orchestration:

String Quartet and Electronics

Duration:

120 minutes

Opera in progress workshop – Opera McGill April 2021