The Veil of Forgetfulness (2007, revised 2009) (Music/Libretto)

One Act opera for eight female voices, pipe organ, flute, oboe, cello and synthesizer (2007). Performed at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Manhattan. Revised Two Act opera for eight female voices, female chorus, and full orchestra with synthesized organ, marimba, bells, celeste (2009). Performed at Brooklyn Repertory Theatre (2010).

Synopsis:

Set in Shaftesbury Abbey, 1199 C.E.,The Veil of Forgetfulness tells of the struggle of Abbess Marie and her band of spiritual renegades against the stranglehold of the codified Medieval Church, as personified by the dogmatic Sister Regina. These “Keepers” of the Veil of Forgetfulness must find and initiate their seventh member before they are denounced as heretics. When the mystical group reaches seven members, and a new First Keeper is found, the Keepers will ascend to eternal bliss, completely enlightened and freed from further incarnations. If all seven members cannot be initiated before their death, or if the Veil falls into evil hands, the cloth returns to its original tiny square and the process begins again, trapping the Keepers in a wretched cycle of reincarnation.

Photos from Brooklyn Repertory Theatre (2010)

Libretto Sample:
Regina:

Do not discount my preparations,

Dear Abbess, my plan you’ll not escape!

All shall know of my observations.

Abbess Marie:

Few know the truth about my life,

Just half-truths, of which it is rife.

Sometimes, even I do not know.

Is it a dream or is it so?

Few know I am Marie of France,

Who writes of legends and romance.

From her tower, or from her shroud,

Woman’s whispers I tell aloud

Few know how I tremble with fear.

Darkness invades, nothing is clear.

Though Abbess of the Holy Church,

It’s for Higher Truth that I search.

Do Not Dismiss/Few Know the Truths - Tracy Bidleman, Lorene Philips, Ilya Speranza
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Musical excerpt from the 2007 Performance at Holy Trinity, Manhattan.

This prophecy, a healing balm,

Can end killing, and restore calm.

Yet for it to become complete,

it’s our own fear we must defeat.

A diversion is what we need,

So that tonight’s plans may proceed.

…Dympha makes wings from a torn page…

Should be just right to set the stage