Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Baritone, four dancers, video artist, surround-sound audio, and chamber orchestra (fl, cl, bs, cl, bsn, ten sax., hn, 2 tpt, bs, tbn, 2 perc, pno, 2 elec. Gt., 2 vln, vla, vc, cb)
Commissioned by Sequitur in conjunction with the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh and Meet The Composer's Commissioning Music/USA
Shi-yin the author – baritone
Gertrude Stein, The Fairy Disenchantment – mezzo-soprano
Shi-yin’s Lover (Moira), Crimson Pearl Flower – female dancer
Pao-yu, Stone – soprano
Monk – dancer
Taoist Priest – dancer
Description of Opera:
RedDust has several intersecting narratives threads – the primary narrative strands include a fairy tale story from the most famous of all Chinese novels, “The Story of the Stone” by Ts’ao Hsüeh-ch’in, a 1934 NBC Radio Interview with Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein spoken-word text performances, and the “real-life” “through-story” of the primary character drawn from the novel Chinese Letter by Svetislav Basara. Additional dream literature from Stein, Barthelme, and Lu Xun, as well as cameo appearances from several other well-known authors, round out this work’s libretto.
RedDust is focused through the perspective of the central character, a Chinese author, Shi-yin. Shi-yin is caught in a crisis of conscience and is unable to write. He had an affair with a young girl that ended in her suicide. He tries repeatedly to exorcise his feelings of guilt and confusion, and to rediscover his creative impulse, by writing the story of a stone that comes to life as a young boy. The boy-stone is taken on a journey of discovery by the Taoist Fairy of Disenchantment. The mysterious Fairy of Disenchantment resembles the American author Gertrude Stein. The boy is led by the Fairy through life-defining experiences, confronts the inaccessibility of the future, the gulf between words and meaning, and the illusion of love, learning a lesson of detachment that helps author Shi-yin confront his own demons and set pen to page once more.
Publ. 2007 by Mathew Rosenblum
May 18, 2007, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.