Capping a continuous three year odyssey to bring his latest Opera to the stage, composer Stewart Copeland and his co-librettist and director Jonathan Moore will be rehearsing and then premiering their latest work on the 18th February, 2017: ‘The Invention Of Morel’ at the Chicago Opera Theatre. Based on the 1924 novel by Argentinian author Adolfo Bioy Casares, a close friend and contemporary of Jorge Luis Borges, the creative collaborators– Copeland and Moore– are excited to see this timely and atmospheric piece of magical realism brought to fruition. Co-sponsored by the Long Beach Opera and its General Manager and Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek who also serves the Chicago Opera Theatre Company in the same capacity, they have worked intensively in a a fluid and productive collaboration not only with each other, but with Mitisek as well intimately involved in the opera’s evolution and final version.
Chicago Tribune Review: From Stewart Copeland, ‘Invention of Morel’ a brilliant piece of musical surrealism
One experiences the new opera the way one experiences a dark if oddly beautiful dream in which nothing is quite as it purports to be. Mysteries enclose other mysteries, like layers of an onion.
As with the central character — an escaped convict identified only as the Fugitive who winds up on a remote tropical island inhabited by a singularly strange group of tourists and their host, a mad scientific genius named Morel — one is confronted by questions early on: Who are these people? Why are they here? Why does no one appear to see or hear him? Why does everyone seem to be trapped in a weird time loop?
It’s “The Tempest” perhaps crossbred with TV’s “The Twilight Zone” and “Lost,” with a touch of “Groundhog Day” thrown in. If we only had an invention like Morel’s to assure us we would live forever. A nice thought to contemplate — just don’t ask the downside.
Stewart Copeland’s pungent score and English actor-writer Jonathan Moore’s stage direction (he co-authored the libretto with Copeland) exert a cumulative hallucinatory power that haunts your thoughts well after you’ve left the theater. With this, his fifth opera, Copeland — co-founder and drummer of the defunct British rock band the Police — has come of age as a composer of music theater works.
Leaving Chicago the morning after the premiere, Copeland will fly to Denver to rehearse and perform his concerto for drums and percussion ‘The Tyrant’s Crush’ with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Boettcher Concert Hall on February 25th, 2017.
Here Stewart speaks about an earlier performance of this piece with the New West Symphony:
And then, on to Vienna. Having premiered the first European performance of ‘Ben Hur, A Tale of the Christ’ in Luxembourg last June, as a consequence the audience response and the word of mouth amongst the Performing Arts Centers in Europe was so favorable that Stewart has been invited to perform his master work at the glorious Konzerthaus in Vienna on March 6th. The Radio Symphony Orchestra of the ORF will be performing his score to his edit of the 1925 black and white silent film of the same name at the famed venue, home to some of the greatest performances in music history. A radio simulcast will also be offered by ORF to the Austrian audience.