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THE GREEN ONE, 2016
The Green One, the second collaboration between Mark Roper and Eric Sweeney, was performed in Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford, on the evenings of Friday 28, Saturday 29, Sunday 30 October, 2016.
The Green One is a re-telling of the ancient Middle Eastern myth of Ishtar, Goddess of the Earth, and her sister Allatu, Goddess of the Underworld – a story which underlies the Christian story of the Easter Resurrection. Ishtar, after having the mortal boy Tammuz murdered, descends to the Underworld to try to bring him back. To pass through its seven gates, she must shed seven garments. Once there, she pleads with her sister for the return of Tammuz. At last she succeeds, but only on the condition that he will return to the Underworld for 6 months every year …. The opera highlights the fragility of human hope, forever at the mercy of the capricious and irreconcilable forces of life and death. Tammuz, the mortal boy, seems to be the helpless victim of these forces. But it is Tammuz who finds the compromise between them, which we have learnt to express as the cycle of the seasons. And it is Tammuz, at the last, who prays: O Sister Breath, O Sister Death, O let me love you both.
A film of The Green One is available on Youtube. The film was made by Keith Currans.
THE INVADER, 2014
The Invader was performed on Thursday 22nd, Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th May 2014 at the Theatre Royal, Waterford, and at Wexford Opera House on Friday 30th May.
The libretto is based on The Bacchae, a play by the Greek dramatist Euripides. It’s a visceral, elemental story, in which the God Dionysus returns to the city of Thebes to take his revenge on King Pentheus, who has failed to pay due respect to the God’s shrine. Dionysus charms the women of Thebes out of the city into the forest and turns them into the Bacchae, wild creatures who will eventually tear Pentheus to pieces. The play has fascinated the imagination from the start. There have been at least 3 operas based on it, including one with a libretto by W.H. Auden. The poets Derek Mahon and C.K. Williams have made translations, and Ted Hughes worked on one. My libretto is not a translation, it is best described perhaps as a version of the story. My aim was to create a vehicle for the music of course, but also to create a vehicle for dramatic spectacle. Ben Barnes’s production is perhaps best described as Musical Theatre.
The Invader was highly praised in all national newspapers, and won a number of awards, including Outstanding Performance of the Year in the Waterford News and Star as well as awards for Best Musical Director, Best Choreographer and Best Opera Director.
Links to 2 reviews:
An RTE Television news clip about the opera can be seen here.
A filmed version of The Invader is now available on Vimeo, in 2 parts, from the 2 links below. There is no interval, just go from the end of Part 1 to the start of Part 2. The film was taken on a single, fixed camera, at the penultimate dress rehearsal.