New York Times Review of Opera Based on Crowley Poem

Two days ago the NY Times ran a review of Opera Philadelphia’s unprecedented staging of an opera-palooza aka O17 which includes a staging of Aleister Crowley’s “The Wake World.” The review states:

“The notion of what opera can be may have been jostled even more by David Hertzberg’s ‘The Wake World,’ based on a fairy tale by Aleister Crowley. The opera was produced jointly with the Barnes Foundation, where the premiere took place on Monday.

“Mr. Hertzberg, who also wrote the libretto, said in a program note that the Barnes had always seemed to him less a museum than a ‘strange and wondrous temple exhumed from outside of time.’ He has written an opera to match his feelings about the place — a fantastical, convoluted tale. We meet young Lola (Maeve Höglund, in a gleaming performance of a daunting role) and her androgynous Fairy Prince (Rihab Chaieb, a charismatic mezzo-soprano), along with a range of otherworldly characters and a menagerie of choristers dressed in body tights with face paint.

“Though the strands of this metaphysical story come unraveled, the music is engrossing. Just five instrumentalists produce wondrous colors and sonorities. The score, spiked with modernist elements, makes Mr. Hertzberg seem a 21st-century Ravel. The choral writing is eerily voluptuous. The performers, directed by R. B. Schlather, often walked amid attendees, who sat, stood and milled about. (Talk about engaging your audience.)”

Read the entire review here:

And listen to Thelema, NOW!’s interview with composer David Hertzberg:

Give a listen/DL :

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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