Moon in the Mirror: A Monodrama Opera




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Published on Oct 22, 2015

Music by Stephen Dembski
Libretto by Zhang Er & Martine Bellen

Hai-Ting Chinn Mezzo-Soprano / Ren
Vicky Chow Piano / Moon

Moon in the Mirror is a monodrama opera based on the ancient Chinese legend of the lady in the moon. Divided into seven sections, in “real time” it spans a twenty hour period as Ren comes to understand that she is an artist from the ancient moon-lady clan and she decides to return to her mother, the moon. In “The Dream,” Ren awakens from a nightmare in which she’s Moon Lady and, foggy from the experience of sleep, she can’t remember who she is. In “The Loss,” at dawn, she awakens again, now in a puddle of blood from a miscarriage. She questions her life choices and sees that Yi, her husband, is, as usual, nowhere to be found. In “Fairytale” she channels her agony through dance, choreographing the story of Chang E that she has dreamed, a story that stayed with her from childhood. After dancing herself into exhaustion, in “Mortality,” feeling perspicacious, she is convinced that she can be immortal like the story’s demigoddess, not the mortal gray-haired woman who she is becoming. In “The Moon” she makes up short poems as she looks through her window at the moon, and she decides to take a journey to the moon. In “Greetings, Goddess!” she ingests the illicit magic elixir of immortality like the Moon Lady’s—a potion of pills and booze. At midnight, in “Space Travel,” the full moon is high, and she feels it calling; she is answering it. She dances her Moon Lady dance, flying among stars toward the rising moon, singing.

Copyright© 2015 by Martine Bellen, Stephen Dembski, and Zhang Er. All rights reserved.


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