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Published on Dec 15, 2016
Kepler 's Trial is a cooperation between Ulinka Rublack, Professor of History at Cambridge University and Fellow of St John's College, composer Timothy Watts, who teaches at the Royal College of Music and Cambridge University, and London film- and sound-artist Aura Satz. The opera premiered at St John's College in October 2016 and follows on from Rublack's monograph The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler's Fight for His Mother, Oxford: October 2015. The book tells the story of how the famous astronomer's aged mother was accused of witchcraft in 1615. The proceedings which eventually led into a criminal trial against Katharina would last for six years and would involve Johannes Kepler at the height of his career as key figure in the scientific revolution. Two operas have been written about Kepler: Paul Hindemith's Harmony of the World and Philip Glass's Kepler. While the latter ignores Kepler's personal life, Hindemith presented a problematic account of Kepler's mother and his relationship to her, which make Katharina seem witch-like. This is in line with Anglo-American writing on the subject. This project is grounded in the most complete archival work ever carried out on this subject as well as the work of an interdisciplinary group of scholars who regularly met to support the development of the music, libretto and film. The opera explores musically ideas about the relation between religion and reason, what it meant to work both as a ground-breaking scientist and Protestant., and the role of old women in society It is the first musical response ever to the story of Kepler and his mother with a text in English: http://keplers-trial.com/keplers-tria... The project is supported by a website, which features the story of the making of the opera and its cast: http://keplers-trial.com/