Detroit Opera Youth Chorus: Odyssey - Detroit Opera

An opera for young audiences

The young choristers of the Detroit Opera Youth Chorus will be the stars of Ben Moore and Kelley Rourke’s full-length opera Odyssey. Homer’s epic tale of a hero’s journey home has been wedded to the singing voice in Ben Moore and Kelley Rourke’s action-packed, colorful operatic rendition. The stage director for Odyssey will be Sarah Hawkins Rusk, who previously directed DOYC’s digital opera performance of Cary John Franklin and Michael Albano’s The Very Last Green Thing in 2020.

Since its premiere at The Glimmerglass Festival in 2015, Odyssey has brought Homer’s epic tale to life for young performers and audience members across the country. The hour-long opera features rollicking choruses, tender ballads, a tango, and a Siren song that conveys“a sense of ageless, timeless beauty” (Opera News). 

Groups

Teachers – a limited number of dress rehearsal tickets are available for school groups who wish to attend the final dress rehearsal on Friday, April 19 2024 at 11:00AM. If you would like to bring your students, please fill out the form linked below. If you have any questions, please email Twannette Nash, DOYC Chorus Administrator at tnash@detroitopera.org

FRIDAY STUDENT DRESS REHEARSAL TICKET REQUEST FORM

FAST FACTS

*DETROIT OPERA HOUSE PREMIERE*

MUSIC BY BEN MOORE

LIBRETTO BY KELLEY ROURKE

DIRECTED BY SARAH HAWKINS RUSK

DURATION: Approximately 60 minutes

FIRST PERFORMED AT GLIMMERGLASS FESTIVAL

Artists

Sarah Hawkins Rusk

director

Ben Moore

composer

Kelley Rourke

librettist

Sadarra J. Fields

Principal Chorus Conductor

Synopsis

After a short prologue, we meet Penelope and Odysseus. Penelope is surrounded by Ithacan women who push her to choose a new husband (“Do you really wanna wait forever?”). Odysseus, meanwhile, tries to rally his troops, who prefer the lazy pleasures of the Isle of the Lotus Eaters (“Here upon these fragrant shores”). Time stops as Penelope and Odysseus find strength in thoughts of each other (“Like a shipwrecked sailor”).

Odysseus and his crew set out. When they reach land, they briefly believe they have arrived in Ithaca (“Let us praise Athena”)—but then they meet the Cyclops. Odysseus uses his superior wit to humiliate the Cyclops. When Poseidon, god of the sea and father to Cyclops, sees what has happened, he curses Odysseus’ journey.

Odysseus meet Aeolus, keeper of the winds, who gives Odysseus a bag of wayward winds for safekeeping, leaving the west wind free to speed them home. The jubilant crew raises the sail (“Crashing through the waves”). While Odysseus sleeps, his First Mate, curious about the contents of the bag, unleashes a terrible storm, much to the delight of Poseidon (“Bring on the wind”).

Odysseus and his crew land on the island of Circe, a sorceress. Pleased by the looks of her visitor, Circe offers lavish hospitality, but Odysseus is eager to sail on to Ithaca. Furious (“That’s not how things are done”), Circe turns his crew to pigs. Odysseus is exasperated, but the sailors are as happy as pigs in mud (“We’ve been away forever, what’s another year?”). After a year, Circe releases them, warning Odysseus to beware of the Sirens.

The crew prepares to meet the Sirens. After plugging their ears with wax, they bind Odysseus under Athena’s supervision. When the Sirens begin to sing (“Come, come hear our Siren song”), Odysseus struggles to free himself and almost steers the ship into the rocks, but is prevented by the First Mate and Athena.

The Bards launch a final overview (“What a trip”), ending with Odysseus’ arrival on Ithaca. Athena and Poseidon sing of the human condition (“A man’s the feeblest, foolish-­‐‑est creature that ever walked the earth”). Athena warns Odysseus not to reveal himself immediately. When he appears, the Ithacan women scorn him. Penelope

tests the stranger when he asks about Odysseus’ bow (“They say none can string the bow but Odysseus himself”). With Athena’s permission, he strings the bow and Penelope flies to him. The people of Ithaca join a joyful final chorus (“Ithaca, mighty Ithaca”).

Courtesy of Ben Moore and Kelley Rourke

Videos

Sponsors

Supported by:

Cadillac

Worthington Family Foundation logo

FAST FACTS

*DETROIT OPERA HOUSE PREMIERE*

MUSIC BY BEN MOORE

LIBRETTO BY KELLEY ROURKE

DIRECTED BY SARAH HAWKINS RUSK

DURATION: Approximately 60 minutes

FIRST PERFORMED AT GLIMMERGLASS FESTIVAL

Sponsors

Supported by:

Cadillac

Worthington Family Foundation logo