Moon, Bride, Dogs (2019)
a chamber opera in one act for three singers & piano quartet or quintet*
*(i.e. piano quartet or piano quartet + double bass)
- Joshua Kossman, SF Chronicle (review)
by Ryan Suleiman (composer) and Cristina Fríes (story/librettist)
created and produced in collaboration with the North American New Opera Workshop, premiered in Atlanta GA, May 2019.
In this surrealist adaptation of the problematic fairy tale, “Donkey Skin,” in which a princess is forced to flee after her father takes her as his bride, the character Idiot Girl (SOPRANO) escapes the clutches of her own abusive father only to find herself in a post-apocalyptic wasteland inhabited by a hoard of hungry dogs (BARITONE). Idiot Girl searches for her lost memories while the Dogs, starving for food and knowledge, race in excitement toward this new source of nourishment. The Moon (TENOR) comments dispassionately on events unfolding below. The young bride is only able to tell her story when the Dogs eat her alive, a violent act rendered gentle and self-sacrificial for Idiot Girl as the very tearing apart of her body is what it takes for her to speak her truth and recover her memories.
We dedicate the work to the creative team at NANOworks; Jennifer Jolley (artistic director), Chaowen Ting (music director), and Stephanie Havey (set designer) with admiration and appreciation for their essential contributions to the piece.