Poetry by MARIE HOWE
Directed by ZOE AJA MOORE
Music by LEILA ADU, RUBY KATO ATTWOOD, DANIELLE BIRRITTELLA, SHEENA BIRRITTELLA, CHRISTINA COURTIN, GABRIELLE HERBST, MOLLY JOYCE, EMMA O’HALLORAN, TANNER PORTER, KAMALA SANKARAM, BERGRÚN SNÆBJÖRNSDÓTTIR, ANNIKA SOCOLOFSKY, and GYDA VALTÝSDÓTTIR with additional music by ELLEN REID
This wild meditation on transformation and desire scored by the collective voices of fourteen women. Set to Marie Howe’s Magdalene poems, the opera invites an audience into the interior world of Mary Magdalene — enlarging her to cross time and space, she appears as a woman alive now, who strives to heal the unyielding split between the sacred and the sexual. Encountering her life in flashes – wandering through a hotel, lighting birthday candles, making love in the ocean – Magdalene finds transcendence in the mundane to finally become the subject of her own story.
Commissioned and Co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects.
Premiered at the 2020 Prototype Festival.
This project was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
“Persuasive and powerful.”
– The New York Times
"A breath of pure creative power."
- Opera Wire
“A stunning, powerful show, one of the more moving artistic experiences I’ve had in recent memory.”
– The Theatre Times
"Ms. Moore’s staging hypnotically tied the piece together, integrating the movements of singer and dancer."
- Wall Street Journal
“Magdalene is a hopeful vision for what opera can be and do in the twenty-first century, and a compelling reason for the continued support of women artists, especially women opera composers, and encouragement that collaborative projects like these can create a work of singular power, beauty, and relevance.”
– Parterre Box
“What finally distinguishes Magdalene is Birrittella's singing and her radiant, nearly angelic presence."
– The Financial Times