KHAOS is an opera that re-imagines the fertility myth of Persephone and Demeter, a myth that reinforces our understanding of the seasonal cycles of death and regeneration. In the classical Greek myth, Persephone is abducted by Hades, god of the underworld. This action brings about a grief so dramatic in Demeter, Persephone’s mother, that she destroys the earth. When Pluto agrees to release Persephone for six months of the year, Demeter agrees to restore the balance of the earth and contain her grieving to the six months when Persephone descends to Hades. Thus the seasons of winter and summer are illustrated as predictable cycles: Persephone’s annual return to the realm of her mother Demeter guarantees Demeter will bless the earth with fertility.
As humans we are grateful for the reassurance of a story that keeps us warm in the winter months, that makes sense of death, that keep our doubts and fears at bay, but what if something changes? What if Persephone refuses to return? What if the natural balance of the earth as we know it is irretrievably changed?
Set in a mythical present, KHAOS creates a Persephone that embodies our human selves as we struggle within our limited consciousness to comprehend the unprecedented destruction of our habitat, the fact that we are verging on ecological suicide. Enamored with the spectacle of our creation, we cling to the underworld of Hades, consumed in rituals of denial. If Persephone refuses to return, will Demeter’s grief destroy the earth as we know it? Will Persephone’s denial engender our collective death?
The story has all the hallmarks of a great operatic libretto with love, betrayal, loss and redemption played out on a grand scale. The music will play to these emotions with strong melodic content and a rich harmonic palette that will challenge and reward the listener in equal measure. Intended for a full orchestra and chorus the work will be flexible enough to allow for a smaller touring ensemble.