As of December, 2022, I hold an exclusive option to adapt J.R. Salamanca’s 1961 bestseller LILITH for the stage. I am in the process of outlining an opera based on this endlessly fascinating novel and its extraordinary characters.
Lilith tells the story of VINCENT, a wide-eyed and principled soldier recently returned from World War II to his rural Maryland hometown. Having taken a job as an entry-level aide at an exclusive private psychiatric institution, he becomes drawn into an affair with LILITH – a mysterious and delusional patient whose manipulative power drives him to the brink of madness himself. More than a passionate story about forbidden love, Lilith explores the very nature of mental health. We wonder: who is more in need of healing – the patient or the caretaker?
Below are five 1-3-minute clips from a prototype scene* that was presented by West Edge Opera in the 2022 SNAPSHOT showcase of operatic works in progress on April 9 & 10, 2022, in San Francisco.
If you would like to view a DETAILED PROPOSAL and NARRATIVE OUTLINE, please contact me. Serious inquiries only, please: firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Edge Opera – SNAPSHOT Performance
The Taube Atrium Theater, San Francisco, April 9, 2022
Julia Hathaway, Lilith Julio Ferrari, Vincent Earplay New Music Ensemble Dana Sadava, Conductor
ABOUT THE SCENE
The scene takes place early in the story. It is the second time VINCENT and LILITH are alone together, but they have already formed a connection. VINCENT has been given permission to take LILITH off the grounds for a bicycle ride in the country. They stop to rest, and the conversation becomes inappropriately personal. VINCENT does his best to behave in a professional manner, despite LILITH’s manipulative power. We witness LILITH’s infectious and joyful fantasy world, but also her ruthlessness, as she targets VINCENT’s weaknesses. By the end of the scene, VINCENT has fallen in love with LILITH, despite her unpredictable – and sometimes cruel – behavior, but has resisted acknowledging it. (Spoiler alert: he eventually succumbs, and the result is tragic.)
* The scene was written as a proof of concept, and should not be taken literally as a scene from a finished opera. The instrumentation was chosen specifically to follow West Edge Opera’s Snapshot requirements: flute, clarinet, piano, violin, viola, cello, bass. Although the specifics of this scene will likely change as the project evolves, it is an opportunity to hear what the music of Lilith might be like.
“Bicycle Scene” Clip 1 of 5
LILITH, a patient at a small, exclusive mental hospital, has been taken for an excursion by VINCENT, a young attendant who is new to the job. They take a break from a bicycle ride in the country, and her rich fantasy world comes alive.
“Bicycle Scene” Clip 2 of 5 LILITH has found an animal skull on the ground, and VINCENT is horrified to discover that this is the location of a traumatizing event in his past.
“Bicycle Scene” Clip 3 of 5 LILITH rhapsodically imagines a future with VINCENT away from the hospital in her colorful fantasy world.
“Bicycle Scene” Clip 4 of 5 The conversation has become intensely – and inappropriately – personal. LILITH has offended VINCENT, who justifies his world view in this brief aria.
“Bicycle Scene” Clip 5 of 5 LILITH knows that VINCENT is in love with her, and thinks this is the moment when he should admit it. She begs him to tell her, but his response is not what she is hoping for.