The Rose Prologues

A collection of five short operas for coloratura soprano, tenor, and piano

Music and Libretto by Philip Seward
Cast: 1M/1F  •  Instrumentation: Piano Quintet  •  Duration: 1 hrs. 20 min.

Originally developed as a partner to …And Piano Make Three for production in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the opera Nimue has been re-titled as The Troubadour to become the first in a collection of five short operas called The Rose Prologues. The first opera, The Troubadour, examines the art of music; the third opera, The Painter, explores the visual artist; and the fifth, The Artist, muses on the relationship between muse and artist/composer. In contrast, the second and fourth operas, The Pursuit and The Capture respectively, take a comedic look at the romantic role of the rose.

The Troubadour opens with a wandering minstrel arriving at Loch Katrine, the home of Nimue, lady of the lake. He seeks her gift of a complete understanding of the nature of music. She ponders her choice, since a full understanding of art is beyond the capacity of any human to comprehend. He pleads and when she ultimately relents, his experiences causes her again to ponder the nature of the gift.

The Pursuit concerns a man who is interested in a woman he only barely knows. After going to lunch on a first date, he wants to make a romantic gesture. After much back and forth, he finally decides to send her a dozen red roses!

The Painter imagines a portrait sitting on a spring morning in 1888 between American painter John Singer Sargent and his subject, Isabella Stewart Gardner. The two muse on the meaning of capturing an image in the visual arts.

The Capture introduces a woman who has just received a dozen roses from a man after only one date. Someone she barely knows!

The Artist concerns a composer seeking inspiration to complete a commission for a new opera. His muse is all around him unable to break through to him even as he wonders if times are so changed that the idea of a muse is lost to time. The perspective shifts and we hear the muse as she tries to reach the artist. Finally they break through by arriving at a focus on a single image — a rose. From their she inspires him to conceive of short operas about the arts — a troubadour, a painter — and people taking their first steps in love.

Previous Productions: Edinburgh Finge Festival (The Troubadour only)

Recording Samples:  Coming