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Published on Mar 1, 2015
The Handless Maiden (2005) for soprano and electroacoustic tape - Wende Bartley, composer - Janice Jackson, soprano
This performance was part of a larger world premier performance of 4 mini operas entitled "Wolf Moon", directed by Linda Moore, in January 2007, in the Sir James Dunn Theatre, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Generously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.
The story of The Handless Maiden is an archetypal journey into the underworld, embracing themes of betrayal, loss, wandering, fertility, union, and reunion. It is a story of return to our essential nature, to that part of ourselves that we lose touch with as we struggle to find the balance between body and spirit. In a mythic realm, the characters assist us through a labyrinthine maze as we struggle for healing and wholeness.
The tale is told by two voices, one sung by the live performer, Janice Jackson, the other spoken on the electro acoustic tape by Ruth Danziger, thus creating a dialogue between the two inner aspects of the maiden. A third layer is heard on the electroacoustic tape – the sound healer voice, which is a constant presence and companion to the story. This layer interweaves with the story, using sounds created through intention to balance the seven chakras, a metaphor for the seven years spent in the underworld. It is the sound vibrations themselves that act upon the archetypal characters, bringing the eventual reunion between that which has been severed and lost.
The libretto for The Handless Maiden was commissioned by Janice Jackson, created by Claudia Dey, and funded by the Ontario Arts Council.