for coloratura soprano, mezzo-soprano, countertenor, tenor, and piano. Duration: approx. 27′
Created for OperaFest VIII in October/November 2015, Connla and the Fairy Maiden was my first, and thankfully not last, foray into the world of chamber opera. Wanting to set a fairy tale but avoid the cliché love story, I changed the gender of the main character from male to female, creating a strong woman in the place of a lovesick man.
In a kingdom overwhelmed by darkness, Princess Connla encounters a fairy maiden who presents her with the opportunity to restore the light if they return to the fairy maiden’s Land of the Ever Living. Enraged with the idea of his daughter abandoning her people, the King forbids his daughter to leave and has his high priest, Kieran, cast out the fairy maiden. Before she leaves, the fairy maiden gives Connla an apple. Connla, unsure if the apple is either poisoned or nourishing, takes a bite. When the apple magically replenishes itself, she understands and embraces the light of the fairy maiden’s power. She summons the fairy maiden back to the kingdom and a battle between Kieran and the fairy maiden ensues. When Connla is hurt by Kieran, the King reconsiders sides. Enlightenment and empowerment are embraced as good triumphs over evil, and Connla leaves the kingdom in search of the light in the Land of the Ever Living. The curtain falls as the King is left alone on stage with the apple in this modern retelling of the Celtic fairy tale, Connla and the Fairy Maiden.
Heidi Joosten, composer | Josh Pritchett, libretto | Andrew Eggert, director | Scott Gilmore, music director/piano | Joelle Kross, fairy maiden | Anna Parks, Connla | Eeming Chua, Kieran | Thomas Bailey, King
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