Opera in progress workshop – Opera McGill April 2021
The Limit of the Sun
An opera in two-acts
Music by Luna Pearl Woolf
Libretto by Andrea Stolowitz
By both literal and metaphoric means, this two-act chamber opera looks at the prisons that we force on ourselves and on each other through the exploration of four characters embroiled in a matrix of failed governmental systems that engender violence and unjust incarceration. Through this lens we probe the limits of our capacity 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 and handling Cody, a North American journalist who has been kidnapped in country, Louisa, Cody’s mother, working for his freedom from home, and Judtih the federal agent assigned to the case. After efforts to free Cody have failed and he dies in captivity, Louisa and Assam connect. Judtih uses the new connection to lure Assam to the US. The opera ends with Assam in prison, facing charges as the sole perpetrator of the kidnapping. The story is based on primary source research and reporting, and draws inspiration from true life narratives of kidnapped journalists, their families, and hostage takers who endeavor to seek out a better life for themselves in the West afterwards.
The Limit of the Sun reflects, on an international canvas, questions that the world is now addressing about the legacy of racism and manifest destiny. What is justice in the wake of colonialism, who is tasked with upholding it, and where will it be found going forward?
Louisa: soprano, mid 50’s, North-American, a single mother in a fly-over state.
Assam: tenor, early 20’s, born in 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, late 30’s, a first generation immigrant to North America, and a federal agent.
String Quartet and Electronics