About The Opera

Composed by Stewart Copeland
Libretto by Jonathan Moore

"' ..a brilliant piece of musical surrealism, 4 stars" -Chicago Tribune  "...deftly balances period charm with a contemporary sense of artificial reality. A most intriguing new work" -Chicago Sun-Times

When a man has no hope, he has nothing left to lose. Time-bending love triumphs over convention in this futuristic story of love and desire. On a lonely island this sci-fi story redefines the limits of human connection and the power of love. Stewart Copeland, co-founder and drummer of The Police, sets this fantastical tale of the human heart to thrilling music for this co-world premiere with Long Beach Opera.

 

The opera is based on La invención de Morel, a 1940 novel by the influential Argentine author, Adolfo Bioy Casares. Jorge Luis Borges wrote in the prologue: "To classify it [the novel] as perfect is neither an imprecision nor a hyperbole." Mexican Nobel Prize winner  Octavio Paz echoed Borges when he said: "The Invention of Morel may be described, without exaggeration, as a perfect novel." This opera is a co-ommission by Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.

 

Copeland and Moore about the Opera

 

Stewart Copeland, Composer

Stewart Copeland was the co-founder and drummer of the rock band The Police. His career includes the sale of more than 60 million records worldwide and numerous awards, including five Grammy awards. He has had commissions from and worked with many major cultural institutions including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Opera, the San Francisco Ballet Company, the Savannah Music Festival, the Brighton Festival and the Royal Opera House (London), among many others. He is the recipient of the Hollywood Film Festival's first Outstanding Music in Film Visionary Award, a Grammy nominee for his 2005 CD Orchestralli, and a 2003 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stewart  has been responsible for some of the film world's most innovative and groundbreaking scores.

 

 

 Jonathan Moore, Librettist & Director

Jonathan Moore is a seasoned writer and opera director who has collaborated with some of the world's leading composers. His work has appeared at major venues including the English National Opera, Scottish Opera, BBC Televsion, La Fenice Opera House, Opera, Edinburgh Festival, Darmsatadt, Oper Bonn, Santiago di Compostella , Alameida Opera, Basler Ballet, the Royal College of Music, and the Shakespeare Globe Theater London. His awards include the Royal Philharmonic Society Award, Best Libretto Award (Munich Biennale), the Midem Award (Cannes) and an Olivier Award Nomination with the English National Opera, among others. Praise for his work includes comments from composer Hans Werner Henze for Greek: "This is a production of genius.", and opera and ballet composer Michael Nyman for Testimonials: "Certainly the best production of any of my operas in the last twenty years."

 

 The Muse: Louise Brooks

In his memoirs, Bioy Casares wrote that his novel La invención de Morel was inspired, at least partially, by one of his favorite movie stars, Louise Brooks, and his disillusionment over the decline of her the screen career. Brooks (1906-1985) was an American film actress and dancer and is best known as the lead in three European features: Pandora's Box (1929), Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), and Miss Europe (1930). She starred in seventeen silent films and eight sound films before retiring in 1938. Brooks published her memoir, Lulu in Hollywood, in 1982.

In an 1995 interview Bioy Casares said: “I was deeply in love with her. I didn’t have any luck, because she disappeared quickly. She went to Europe, she made a film with Pabst, and then I didn’t like her so much as when she was in Hollywood. And then, she vanished too early from the movies… Could she be seen as one of the characters in La invención de Morel? Yes, she would be Faustine.” Bioy Casares loved film, and once wrote, “I want to wait for the end of the world on the seat of a movie theater.”  In his memoirs Bioy Casares discusses Brooks and his love of early film: “Over time, I fell in love with movies, I became a regular viewer and now I think I want to wait for the end of the world on the seat of a movie theater.. I fell in love, simultaneously or successively, with the film actresses Louise Brooks, Marie Prevost, Dorothy Mackaill, Marion Davies, Evelyn Brent and Anna May Wong. Of these impossible loves, I was most passionate about Louise Brooks, and it made me miserable. I hated that I could never know her! Worse, one never saw her again. This is exactly what happened. After three or four movies, I was spellbound, and Louise Brooks disappeared from the screens of Buenos Aires. I felt that disappearance, first, as a tearful break; then as a personal loss… Many years later in Paris, I saw a movie in which the hero, like me took everything as a joke and consequently was hated by the woman he loved. That character, like me, admired Louise Brooks.”

 MOVIES inspired by Boiy Casares’ book: L’invention de Morel (France, 1967 L’invenzione di Morel (Italy, 1974), Alain Resnais’ sur-real film Last Year At Marienbad (1961).The television series Lost(2004 – 2010) about survivors of a passenger jet crash on a mysterious tropical island features elements of the novel. During season four, one of the show’s main characters is seen reading The Invention of Morel

AUTHOR ADOLFO BIOY CASARES (1914-1999)

Argentinian writer Adolfo Bioy Casares won the prestigious Buenos Aires Municipal Prize for his novel, The Invention of Morel, published in 1940 in Buenos Aires. The book is now a classic in Argentine and Latin American literature and helped to usher in Latin American fiction's now famous postwar boom. Critics also place his Dream of the Hero (Sueno de los Heroes, 1954), as his best novel. However, Morel has almost become a synonym of the author, as it was his best known. Diary of the War of the Pig (Diario de la Guerra del Cerdo, 1969) was the third of his main fiction titles. Bioy Casares said his life was about fantasy because in a country where politics had everything to do with personal whim, fantasy was the only reality. His writing had ranged from the sublime, in Morel, to the ridiculous, as in A Brief Dictionary of the Posh Argentine (Breve Diccionario del Argentino Exquisito, 1978). Solemnity, he once told a friend, is what people confuse with being profound. Born in 1914 into a comfortable land-owning family, Bioy Casares studied law, then moved to the school of philosophy and letters at the University of Buenos Aires. His self-irony was almost out of style with the society he grew up in, but which he managed to manipulate to his own benefit. He belonged to a generation where the upper middle and wealthy classes indulged in extended travel to Paris, Rome and London and other European capitals which they felt were at the heart of the arts and literature. His social group was for many years Argentina's establishment writers and artists who had as their core the magazine Sur. Boy Casares is perhaps best known outside of Argentina as the friend and co-writer of Jorge Luis Borges, a friendship that began in 1935 and lasted a lifetime. With the pen names H. Buston Domecq, B. Suarez Lynch, and B. Lynch Davis, they produced a series of satires on contemporary customs and a series of crime stories. Between 1945 and 1960, Bioy Casares and Borges ran a publishing venture which started with the writings in translation of Cecil Day-Lewis and included Joseph Conrad, H.G. Wells and Henry James. Together they compiled numerous anthologies and a series of annotated classics. As Borges increasingly lost his sight, Bioy Casares became his eyes in their joint output. Adolfo Bioy Casares died in 1991 and is buried in La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires.

 

 

 

Synopsis

An escaped fugitive arrives on an isolated, strange island. While exploring his surroundings, he observes a group of tourists, including one particularly beautiful woman with whom he becomes obsessed. However, something is not quite right in this paradise. He discovers these eccentric visitors exist in an alternate reality created by a futuristic invention of Morel, a mad, scientific genius who willingly leads the group to their death.

Cast

0G6A6110.jpg

Lee Gregory

Narrator

In the summer of 2017, Lee Gregory returns to Des Moines Metro Opera as Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music. In the 2016-17 season, he returns to Chicago Opera Theater as the Narrator in the world premiere of Stewart Copeland’s The Invention of Morel, and Virginia Opera as Silvio in I pagliacci and soloist in Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins. He has performed with Long Beach Opera as the Captain in The Death of Klinghoffer, William in The Fall of the House of Usher (Chicago Opera Theater as well), the Rehearsal Director in the world premiere of Bryar’s Marilyn Forever, and with Eugene Opera as Richard Nixon in Nixon in China.

andrew wilskowske headshot.jpg

Andrew Wilkowske

Fugitive

Andrew Wilkowske displays an engaging combination of musical talent and masterful stage presence. Recent engagements have included Fugitive in The Invention of Morel with Chicago Opera Theater; Ponchel in Silent Night with Atlanta Opera; Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Florentine Opera; Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Minnesota Opera; Figaro in Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with On Site Opera; and Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow with Boston Lyric Opera. Current engagements include Malatesta in Don Pasquale, and Owen Hart in Dead Man Walking with Minnesota Opera. 
 
Nathan Granner Headshot.jpeg

Nathan Granner

Morel

Upcoming Engagements for Tenor Nathan Granner includeRodolfo (La Bohéme) with Opera San Luis Obispo, Briquet (Eugene Onegin) with Spoleto Festival USA and Curly (Oklahoma) with Ash Lawn Opera.  Recent engagements include Nemorino (L'elisir d’amore), Ferrando (Cosí fan tutte), and Rodolfo in performances with Lyric Opera Kansas City, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Tulsa Opera, Wolf Trap and Glimmerglass Opera.  He has created six new opera roles in three years, including his portrayal of Kanye West.  He is a founding member of The American Tenors, whose Sony Masterworks album reached the top five in the classical crossover charts.  

CB3.JPG

Cedric Berry

Stoever

Cedric Berry is a Bass Baritone who has performed with Long Beach Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, Los Angeles Opera, The Industry Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival of Finnland, Banlieurs Bleues Festival of France and the Ravinia Music Festival, to name a few. He has appeared with Pacific Symphony, Arizona Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Luckman Jazz orchestra, Pasadena Pops Orchestra, California Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Telemann Chamber Orchestra of Japan. He has also been the recipient of several awards including first place in the Metropolitan Opera Western Region Competition.  For more information visit www.cedricberry.com.

Jamie Chamberlinheadshot2016.jpg

Jamie Chamberlin

Dora

Soprano Jamie Chamberlin has been praised for her “shimmering tones” by Opera News, as Marilyn Monroe in the US Premiere of Marilyn Forever,  and for her “jaw-dropping” Cunegonde in Candide (The Looseleaf Report’s Best of 2016), both with LBO. 2017 brings debuts at Chicago Opera Theater as Hazel in Glass’ The Perfect American, and as Lucia di Lammermoor with Pacific Opera Project. She has sung with LA Opera, LA Phil (world premiere, Wing on Wing), Merola Opera Program (SFO), The Pasadena Symphony. On film, Jamie’s voice can be heard during the epic water ballet scene in Hail Caesar! (Coen Brothers). www.jamiechamberlin.com

 

todd strange headshot 2017.JPG

Todd Strange

Alec/Ombrellieri

Lyric Tenor Todd Strange is a well-rounded singer specializing in opera, oratorio, and operetta in addition to session and concert work. Todd is a soloist in many regional opera companies and symphonies across the United States. Recently, Todd sang the title role of Candide, as well as Taylor in the world premiere of Fallujah, with Long Beach Opera.  Late last year, Todd reprised the role of Taylor at New York City Opera. Solo appearances include Stravinsky's Les Noces with the LA Master Chorale, Almaviva/Barber of Seville (Bakersfield Symphony), and Alfredo/La Traviata(American Vocal Arts) Mr. Strange recently made his solo voice film debut as the Camel in the recent animated blockbuster, "Sing!" Other film credits include Minions, Rogue One, and Frozen.


National Endowement for the Arts    California Arts Council Arts Council for Long Beach City of Long Beach Art Works Opera America KUSC

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov
Supported in part by a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach.
Long Beach Opera events are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission